Percy Morrison took up photography whilst in Cyprus on his National Service in the 1950's. He found, not only did he enjoy it, but he was actually good at it! In no time at all people were buying his prints.
When his National Service was done, Percy wanted to continue with this new skill, so he made a career out of it. He started working in the Holiday Camps, photographing tourists to the Isle of Man. He even worked his way up to Staff Manager!
It was at this time he met Joyce, a nurse at the Holiday Camp. It wasn't long before they were married and enjoying life with their son John.
After John's birth, Percy started to work at Keigs. He branched out into different forms of photography such as weddings, christenings, studios, public events etc. Percy and Joyce were also gifted with three more boys: Paul, Keith and Peter.
One year, one of the postcard companies had been let down by their photographer and needed someone quick. Percy stepped up to help. After doing such an amazing job in a crisis, they liked his stuff so much they asked if he would photograph all the postcards for the following year. This then started a new tradition of scouring the Manx countryside in the winter, picking out the shots for the following summer.
But in the late 80's, he decided he wanted to start up his own company. In 1987 Percy & Joyce started Morrison Photos from a little shop on Bucks Road, Douglas. This shop sported a counter, some display racks, a back room with mini studio, and, through a trap door in the floor, access to a basement level where Percy kept his office (and access to the oudoor toilets).
Grandchildren were now added to the Morrison family; Isabel, Evelyn and Philip. They regularly visited the shop after school and did simple chores (like folding plastic bags) for the gift of 50p. They learned how to work the till and Percy pushed them to develop their mental arithmetic skills and work out change in their head (he claimed the calculators didn't work).
Time passed and as our clients increased so did our range of stock to the point where you required bouldering skills to reach the back of the shop!
We needed a new shop! A bigger shop! One with indoor toilets and no trap door!
We searched high and low for the right place, and in January 2000 we moved into our new premises in Tynwald Street, Douglas. The whole family helped out with the move; loading cars, boxing things up, and in some cases, wheeling boxes down the street. It was worth the effort. Our new digs came with a larger shop floor, large studio, stock room, office, small kitchen, a prep room (for Joyce), and yes, indoor toilets. With our new, spacious studio we could accomodate larger groups, the whole family could fit in. With the bigger shop floor, there was more room to display our stock and room for more people.
The new millenium brought other changes too. As the world of photography progressed into the digital era, John and Kath stepped up to allow Percy and Joyce to retire.
This didn't go quite as planned, Percy still kept showing up for work every day regardless!
It did however allow him the luxury of a leisurely start and an early finish if he so wished.
Isabel and Evelyn began to play a role in the shop. Both starting Saturday jobs on the shop floor, they also shadowed Percy to learn the photography side of the business. They took to the craft really well to the point where Percy was basically just their chauffeur.
In 2010, Percy finally took that step back due to health reasons. Isabel and Evelyn were now off at university. So John, Kath and Philip carried on.
Percy sadly passed away in 2015, but he leaves behind his legacy. Through his children and grandchildren, he instilled his industry knowledge, his lifetime's experience, his talent for photography, his skill with people, and the gift of a good conversation. So we carry on, knowing he's watching over our shoulder, offering his comments, raising his eyebrows as only he can.
Which brings us to today. John still runs the shop, still able to solve technical problems with that super-computer brain of his. Evelyn provides the occasional photographic service. Isabel controls our online presence and creates our marketing material from England. Joyce is now enjoying retirement from the shop.
In 2017, Morrison Photos celebrated 30 years of business. We had a fantastic birthday celebration inviting all of our loyal cutomers to join us for bubbly and cake. We welcomed Manx Radio who covered the event live, as well as several reps from businesses we work closely with.
Business has grown so well since we invested more in our printing services that we have expanded the team to outside the family! We have always taken on students for weekend job roles, but now we have someone full time during the week too! This is allowing John to juggle all of the tasks he needs to complete, confident that our amazing team can run things if he actually took a day off once in a while (heaven forbid).
The family is growing, with the fourth generation of future photographers both arriving during the Covid pandemic. We can't wait to get Brianna and Ffinlo in the shop once they can travel from the mainland.