I have wanted to catch up to Paige Sawyer for years. It’s been for so long, I cannot even remember when I first decided I wanted to interview him. As many know from reading my, “Meet Georgetown,” blog, I love to write about the people and places to show how we, as a community, are connected to one another. Paige only solidifies the cause of my mission.
Paige has lived here in Georgetown his whole life so it was a nice walk down memory lane when we started talking about “way back when.” He certainly remembers my father-in-law, Clyde Cox, and the infamous Maryville Shell Station (later, after Hurricane Hugo, Clyde opened Cox’s Quick Lube across the street from Liberty Steel Mill on Fraser Street).
We talked a little about my husband’s grandfather, who passed away before Reese and I ever met, Joe Reese McDaniel, AKA “Mac.” He used to own the pool hall on Front Street between where a bank used to be and where Coffee Break is now.
“I did not know Mac was your grandfather,” Paige said as he turned to my husband. With a chuckle, he added, “I remember him and the pool hall quite well. Kids were often told by their mama’s not to look inside the place whenever they walked by.”
We spoke of City Council, which at one time, Paige was a councilman. Many in Georgetown have said they would like to see him run for Mayor the next mayoral election, even threatening to write him in if his name is not on the ballot already.
At 72 years of age, Paige stated, “I’m not interested. After I lost my seat on city council, I decided not to stay in politics. You need four votes to sway the council and I was just one man.”
On the other hand, I believe everyone in town knows Paige and his wife Susan as our local photographers. They began in 1974 with a place on Front Street and a few years later, the Sawyer’s moved their business into their home on Highmarket Street. For the purposes of our interview, it took place in their photography studio at the back of their home.
Paige shared that after he left the Army in 1971, he decided to pick up a camera and his interest in photography grew. He even had a job taking pictures for Georgetown Times, at one point and it’s been his calling every since.
“Has the current state of things (the Coronavirus) decreased the amount of business you’ve been doing?” I asked.
With a slight nod, he answered, “Yes, it has affected it, but I think that digital photography has done more to decline the need for professional photography.”
“Oh, you mean because everyone takes pictures now and posts them on Facebook.”
“Yes. The quality of the photographs have declined… instead of professional photographs, you have a lot of people who are taking pictures with poor quality to post on social media,” Paige answered.
We spoke of Kristie Cannon, another photographer here in Georgetown. I expressed to Paige that we did ask around for a professional when my daughter got married, but was told he did not do weddings, so fortunately, we found Kristie.
“Kristie is really good,” he concurred, “She’s a very nice young lady, too, but Susan and I had to stop doing weddings when our sons were young.”
I didn’t have to ask; I think my quizzical expression gave me away.
“It seems everyone gets married on a Saturday,” he explained. “So during the week, the boys were in school and on the weekend, we had to drop them off at our parent’s house so we could work the weddings.
“When you shoot a wedding, you have to be there several hours before to set up, then during the wedding, and the reception afterwards. It’s time consuming and it seemed, we never had time with our children while working every weekend, so we decided not to do them anymore.”
Now-a-days, Paige works as a Naturalist for Low country Tours. The tour boat is a 49 seat passenger boat that takes people on a 4 hour cruise around on the Low Country rivers and talks about the history of our town. It was, at one time, Captain Ron’s Tours and although, Captain Ron has retired, his tours go on and Paige is the tour guide.
“I love Georgetown history,” he said of his hometown. “There is so much of it here: the rice plantations, the ecology, with so much more – all of it. It’s such a beautiful history, too: the good and the bad.”
I agree with that. Georgetown has a beautiful history and that it why it has become my passion to write about the many people and places here. Thank you, Paige Sawyer for your time and words given to me for my article.