THE NISSLE STORY
What a wonderful ride it has been for three generations of Nissle's to capture photographic memories for our friends and family!
Hop in our rumble seat and follow along...
It all started in 1945 when Fred Nissle, new to the world of photography, rented a small studio at Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. Fred hired “Camera Girls” to take photographs of patrons, sell them the prints and then the darkroom staff would develop and mail the photographs to them. Marion Nissle, Fred's younger sister, handled the books for the new profitable business.
After returning home from WWII in 1946, Ken Nissle, Fred's younger brother, joined the family business. He had gained a love for photography himself while serving in the South Pacific he would sell prints of the various islands to fellow sailors.
Business flourished at "Keepsake Pictures" and the need for new "Camera Girls" led Dorothy Albright to apply. She had recently moved from Oklahoma and secured an interview with Ken Nissle. In his own words, "After interviewing her, I told her that I would let her know...She looked at me and said, 'Look, if you're going to throw my application in the waste basket just tell me because I want a job and I'll look elsewhere.' That really surprised me...I sent her a telegram to let her know she was hired."
Dorothy "DA" brought additional personality into the business where she transitioned into children and family photography. Ken and DA fell in love and married in October, 1947.
Soon Fred grew restless and in the early 1950's he moved on to new ventures. Ken and DA took charge of the business with Marion at their side and the business expanded into product photography, commercial assignments and weddings.
In 1968, Ken followed a developing dream of his to offer an all-in-one restaurant, event and catering business. He purchased a vacant market in Monterey Park, CA for $80,000, a dream location for weddings, parties, events both business and personal! The event center included a full restaurant, three banquet rooms, a photography studio and darkroom, a party store, tuxedo rental and equipment rental!
Ken and DA raised four children, Steve, Shanna, Ken and Kelly, and all of them grew up serving customers, catering and working at Belle N’ Beau. During his High School Junior year, Steve worked for three months learning photography at the studio and expanded the Nissle Photography era into two generations. With his hard earned cash, Steve purchased his first car for $475, a 1931 Model A Coupe with Rumble seat.
Fast forward to 1977...Steve married Dianne Curtis of Idaho, and the couple took over the photography studio from his father Ken. Just two years later, on Valentines Day in 1979, DA passed suddenly at only 50 years old. The Nissle family and Belle N’ Beau truly lost an amazing, talented and spirited wife, mother and business partner.
The 80’s brought more change as Belle N’ Beau photography moved to Arcadia where Steve and Dianne continued to grow in quality while building their reputation as a fine portrait and wedding photography studio.
In 1992 Steve and Dianne moved to Mesa, Arizona and established Nissle Photography. For the first time the "Nissle" heritage was branded into the business name. For seven years Steve commuted back and forth to Belle N' Beau in Arcadia until it was sold in 1999.
Now it's 2020...75 years in the making! Nissle Photography celebrates a history of entrepreneurs, family, and a passion for photography. Steve has earned his Masters degree, photographic Craftsman degree and certification from the Professional Photographers of America, a prestige less than 1% of photographers earn.
Steve and Dianne raised three children, Shari, Hartman and Nolan. Both Shari and Nolan continue the heritage as third generation photographers. Shari specializes in newborns, children, family and wedding photography. Nolan has expanded the brand with his photoshop expertise and has added digital video production.
Come and celebrate 75 years, and three generations, of Nissle Photography!
Dorothy Albright (DA) Nissle
"The Camera Girl"