photographer for the Lions for three
years. He makes his own hours.
"I do not work for the Red Wings,"
he says. "I go there when I want. The
Red Wings are the most wonderful
people in the world. They're happy if
I maintain a portfolio for every player.
If the Red Wings call me up and say
`we have an award presentation
tonight for one of the players, could
you try to be there; I try to, the best
Red Wings' public relations direc-
tor Bill Jamieson says Hartman's
work is excellent.
"He takes good action photos. The
clarity of the color is very good.
Anytime we need anything special
"Anytime we need
anything special, John's
there to do it," says Red
Wings Public Relations
Director Bill Jamieson.
Businessman John Hartman feels at home with his camera and hockey stick.
From Red Wings
quired a small inventory with a
reasonable profit structure," he ex-
plains. "And wallpapering was it.
With the wallpapering business, you
don't need an inventory. All you need
is some sample books and a storefront
and you're in the wallpaper business."
Hartman started the business just
after the birth of his second child. He
wanted to gain some independence
and to spend more time with his
His original, one-employee store
on the East Side of Detroit has grown
into a 60-employee office in Bloom-
Hills. The company advertises
not take specific assignments and
takes phone orders and
does not work at it full-time.
mail the product
Hartman says he has always been
directly to the customer.
interested in photography, although
Hartman, the sole owner, does
he does not remember anything about
of the computer programming
his first camera.
did it all for 15 years — and
At age 18 or 19, he began listen-
ing to police and fire calls on scan- makes the major decisions. Despite
ners, going to the scene and taking his success, he knows little about
photos, which he sold to local wallpaper.
"I am not well-oriented in product
newspapers. But he turned down all
information because of the way we
"If somebody tells me, 'John, you sell, over the phone, which is the way
have to shoot this ribbon-cutting we've been doing it for 15 of the last
ceremony by the mayor, it's no longer 20 years. I don't see any product. We
don't have a studio or a store."
a hobby. It's a job."
Hartman already had a job as an
Customers order by pattern
accountant. He also took further number and pay by credit card.
education classes at Detroit Institute
"We don't have any idea whether
of Technology and at Wayne State they're putting up blue-striped in
their kitchen or a pink flower for their
In 1969, after researching the pro- bedroom."
bability for success of various
Hartman's second business,
businesses, Hartman left accounting photography, is also national, thanks
to open a small wallpaper store in to his sports work. Hartman has been
the Red Wings' team photographer
"I looked for a business that re- for eight years and a team
John Hartman juggles his wallpaper
company with a major sports
ost people who deal with
John Hartman's pro-
ducts have no idea who
John Hartman is.
North America phone Post Wallcover-
ing Distributors in Bloomfield Hills
to order wallpaper from Hartman's
Sports fans across the country and
local newspaper readers might detect
Hartman's name printed in small
type next to one of his photographs,
although many of the pictures he
snaps for the Detroit Red Wings do
not carry a credit line.
Well-known or not, Hartman has
built a successful wallpaper business
in the past 20 years. He is also an ar-
tistically successful sports and news
photographer. He says he breaks even,
financially, on his photography
because he considers it a hobby, does
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 1989
John's there to do it. Always very
cooperative with the staff. Sometimes
we come up at the last moment with
a request and John's always there to
Hartman's hockey photos are us-
ed in the Wings' program, their game-
day insert The Red Wing Extra, in the
media guide, on schedules and as
souvenir photos. He also sells sports
photos to local and national
Hartman gets other rewards from
photography. "Seeing my pictures
published everywhere: national
magazines, team calendars, media
guides. It's gratifying. I went on the
People Mover and there's my picture!'
He goes on fewer police and fire
calls than he once did, although he is
the official photographer for the
Bloomfield Hills Fire Department,
covering about four fires per year.
A memorable day in his photo
career came when he accompanied a
state police unit for a day during the
1967 Detroit riots. He says he came
"too close" to danger.
"I could hardly sleep that night,
I was shaking so much. As a
photographer in a hot situation,
you're there. You're shooting the pic-
ture. You never think of a bullet or
anything coming your way, although
But at one particularly hazardous
moment, he put his camera aside.
When the policemen he covered rush-
ed a building and bullets began fly-
ing, "as brave as I was I was
underneath the state police car at
that time. The worst that happened to
me was burning my arm on the ex-
Although 'Hartman makes his
own work schedule, he spends 40
hours per week at his office when he
is in town, which is 75 percent of the