Many retirees dedicate idle hours to the pursuit of a hobby. But Art and Fatima NeJame, founders of Palm Beach Photographic Centre, took that idea further and turned their interest into a second career.
After retiring from the women’s clothing business, the NeJames threw themselves into one of their favorite pastimes. “We had both been amateur photographers for years,” says Art. “I was taking pictures when I was 7 years old, using my mother and father’s camera. And Fatima did the same thing.”
They began attending workshops across the country and quickly identified the need for photography education in South Florida. They opened the Photographic Centre in Boca Raton in 1986 and relocated to Clematis Street in West Palm Beach in 2009.
Now they operate a 30,000-square-foot facility that houses a store, museum, and classrooms. Their educational offerings include master workshops, introductory courses, one-on-one instruction, a summer camp, and the annual FOTOFusion festival.
Art and Fatima take a multipurpose approach to the museum by hosting exhibits that appeal to a wide audience. This manifests in shows of fine art photography as well as more approachable content, like magazine covers by Walter Iooss. They also display work by local artists. Now through October 27, visitors can view the annual Members’ Juried Exhibition.
When it comes to inspiration, Fatima and Art believe our landscape is an asset to their business and South Florida’s growing photography community. “When you’re a good photographer, you can find photos just about anywhere,” says Fatima, who notes that stellar images have the ability to grab your attention and keep it captive. “It has to be strong enough to make you stop to look at it.”