MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Seventy years of some of Myrtle Beach’s oldest photographs are temporarily in storage.
Photographer Jack Thompson moved his photo studio out of his downtown storefront this week.
With so many images Jack has captured over the years, he intends to capture a new place to display all of this work, and he’ll get a little help making it happen.
“The first was of course the pavilion and the fireworks from the pavilion,” Thompson said, looking back at the start of his career.
Sixty-nine years ago, in 1953, a teenaged Thompson took his first photo of Myrtle Beach while working at the photo booth at the old Pavilion on Ocean Boulevard.
Since then, he’s captured nearly seven decades of history and memories along the way, with thousands of photos to show for it.
“I had a wonderful time in this building showcasing classic Myrtle Beach imagery,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s studio has actually moved a bit.
For the past seven years it has been on 9th Avenue North at Nance Plaza.
His time in the square came to an end because, according to Thompson, the owner plans to turn the studio into an artists’ cafe.
So Thompson, along with some friends and volunteers from Sunshine Ministries, spent the week packing up her collection.
One of Thompson’s friends says that with every piece he picks up, he learns a little more about what Myrtle Beach was like.
“It’s hard to carry this gear and not stop to look at these photos,” said Doug Kelly. “Where we are sitting right now, the flat iron building was on this very property where we are doing this interview.”
Thompson had to find a temporary home in a hurry and is heading to the old Army-Navy store on Broadway Street.
“Friends of mine said, ‘Well, Jack, you’ve finally made it to Broadway,'” Thompson joked.
He has no plans to stay on Broadway forever, as he says the owner of the former Army-Navy store plans to turn it into a new restaurant in the fall.
Wherever he goes, the landscape seems to change.
“I guess I’ve known Jack all my life,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune. ” Who does not have ? It’s a Myrtle Beach icon.
Bethune says she’s happy to see the new industry popping up downtown, but she also thinks it’s important to make sure Thompson has a place as well.
It’s about making sure that all that history isn’t lost.
“We’re going to put together a great team of people to find him the right place because this is the arts and innovation district, and he should be here,” Bethune said.
Thompson says he dreamed of creating an “artists row” along 9th Avenue.
This dream is not dead – it may just need to change for a while.
“It’s time, you know,” Thompson said. “You can’t deny progress, you just have to be ready to roll with it.”
Thompson is in his 80s now, but says he has no plans to retire.
He says there is still work to be done, lots of friends and clients who need pictures and places across the Grand Strand who need pictures to show what Myrtle Beach was like in the past .
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