"We are a Family of Photographers, loving the art and the business of Photography. It began in 1919, when father Gustav met his future wife at a very young age in Gruenheide, East Prussia, Germany. When Gustav saw the little girl, he said to himself: "This will someday be my wife". She was so beautiful, that he decided to record her life and the years together in pictures. He traveled to a distant town looking for a camera store and to invest in his first camera, a Leica. His photography became a passion which soon grew into a business. He established a photographic studio in their hometown of Tilsit (famous for its cheese). He called it Foto Kallweit.
Gustav and Heta (as he called her), eventually married and had their first child in 1940; she was 19, he was 40 and six more children followed during and after the war. After Gustav went off to war, Heta cared for the 3 children and ran the Studio. In 1945 she fled with the kids and her mother by train and on foot, from the invading russian Army many miles from Prussia through Poland to the west of Germany.
Pardee's Cameras owner Manfred Kallweit is the firstborn child of Gustav and Heta. He continues the family photographic tradition with his sons Michael and Marc and their mother Ulrike. 'John Pardee Photo Supply' founded in 1946 at Town and Country Village, Sacramento, (the first shopping center west of the Mississipi) was aquired by M.Kallweit in 1977 and since relocated twice. That is part of the story how 'Foto Kallweit - Tilsit - Since 1919' and 'Pardee's Cameras' of 1946 came about.
Pictured is Gustav Kallweit in 1946, Photographer, after he survived the war and was reunited with his Familie through the efforts of the Red Cross. Gustav is standing in front of one of the original Farm Houses in Minstedt, Niedersachsen-Germany, built over 800 years ago.
Every Picture I take of Mother Nature, is my appreciation for her and my way of saying Thanks for the opportunity of living my Life and for everything I wake up to on this beautiful Planet.