Photo shop

Hatch Reno

Hatch Reno founder and photographer Jeramie Lu sits perched in a studio bay at Hatch on Washington Street.

Hatch Reno founder and photographer Jeramie Lu sits perched in a studio bay at Hatch on Washington Street.

Photo/Ashley Hennefer

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Photographer Jeramie Lu wants artists to think more like business people. He wants to create a community of artists who are willing to share the secrets of the trade. Earlier this year, Lu started Hatch Reno, which he calls a “creative hub” and a studio rental space for photographers.

Hatch Reno, 100 Washington St., on the far end of "Startup Row," is the latest collaborative space in Northern Nevada. It’s technically Lu’s second shared studio space. He’s been renting out his personal studio on California Avenue to fellow photographers for some time now. That served as a successful test run for opening a bigger location, and the new Hatch location is its first expansion.

“It came down to, ’What if we did something bigger?’” Lu says.

Hatch takes up the entire basement area—about 2,000 square feet—of the Washington Street building, which used to house a talent agency. This location opened in April. Despite the lack of natural lighting, the place is aglow with clean, open studio space. The space and equipment has, so far, been funded by Lu’s savings.

Five studio bays are available with all of the necessary gear, accessories and resources, including a dressing room, various lights, rolls of background paper, furniture and a set that is changed every month. Lu wanted the space to reflect the artists who use it, so he brought in artists to help furnish the space; the dressing room entrance is actually metal formed to look like red curtains, and the set in the main studio is adorned with makeshift winter icicles and a light blue backdrop. Also available are two private viewing rooms where photographers can meet with clients. An open space near the entrance serves as a learning area where classes will start in the near future.

It works like this: Members select a plan depending on how many hours they need. All but one of the plans includes time to shoot in the studio bays. Each member gets 24/7 access to both the Washington Street and California Avenue facilities.

Although Lu is passionate about photography and creativity, he wants to see Northern Nevada become a better market for professional photography. Hatch office manager and photographer Briana Maselli agrees.

“Everyone thinks everything is for trade, but we’re trying to change that,” she says. “We’re photographers, but we still need to eat.”

Lu says the problem is the lack of set market rates; although photography is in high demand, professional photographers struggle to set comparable rates. It’s hard to compete with photographers who give away work for free, and it’s also difficult to price at the same level of bigger cities like San Francisco. Using Hatch as a community space, besides just a work space, is one of Lu’s goals.

“We’re trying to make all artists communicate with each other,” he says.

Lu also says that “franchising” is a long-term goal. Hatch Automobile would be a place to photograph cars; Hatch Brick would be a natural light studio. There would also be Hatch hubs located throughout the state. For traveling photographers with memberships, they could use any Hatch location as a temporary base when needed.

Being able to fund studio space and maintain equipment is expensive, Lu says, especially for photographers who spend most of their time outside of a studio. It’s his hope that the resources offered through Hatch will help make photography a viable livelihood for Nevada artists.

“I think our community is coming up now,” Lu says of Reno. “We can raise together.”