French Studio, 821 South Park Avenue, founded in 1947 in Herrin has been named HerrinFesta Corporate Honoree for 2020. The late Louis French, founder and owner of the studio, died April 29, 2014. He catered to the photography needs of Herrin and the surrounding area. The business remains with the same successful mission.
French was just out of WWII service and the family says he talked of shoveling snow off the walks the first day on the job, March 1, 1947. He was a Pearl Harbor survivor. A commercial pilot, he flew for aerial business in the area.
French’s mother, Neva, took care of photo finishing. The studio was one of the earliest users of color in the region. His wife, Gene (Cox) French, worked in the studio greeting customers. Later French’s son, Arthur would assist in the major assignments. He is now retired. The studio is now operated by the daughter of Louis and Gene French, Becky (French) Eaton, her husband Irl and their son, Dan.
While French Studio is known for photographing and preserving Herrin’s historical moments, their archives also offer much regional history. Photographs capture moments in our lives and French Studio offers those moments in print and on their website.
Dan is well known for his work in restoring and enhancing older photographs. The studio’s archives also house a large collection of this area’s aerial, business, real estate, government, sports, events, schools and church photographs. They are responsible for thousands of beautiful weddings and family portraits as well as school events such as ballgames, proms, homecomings, graduations and class reunions.
Becky has described herself as “The Director.” She skillfully guides Brides, Grooms, and wedding parties through their very special events. She assists her customers in receptions and other important business occasions.
Irl Eaton has been in charge of the lithography (print shop) business since he married into the family in the 1970s. His attention to detail is greatly appreciated by the studio’s customers.
In today’s world of digital photography, the Studio’s Dan Eaton can meet any photography need. He is known for his in-house and/or on-location photography. He creates many of his own backdrops for in-studio shots, giving each photograph its own unique personality. Available for individual, family, business or sports related portraits, his creativeness in shooting in different locations and backgrounds is well known. The studio also stays on top of the latest trends – such as photo booths, life-size cutouts and large banners.
The French Studio celebrates its 73 years of commitment to their community while looking to the future. They are proud to be a legacy business in the City of Herrin.
They will be honored at the Mayor’s HerrinFesta Honoree Banquet, May 19th at the Herrin Civic Center.