Panache Photos is a business / labor of love created and run by Vickie M. Feldman and Brian Gerstel, a married couple who live in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. This home-grown business was formally licensed in 2000, but it really got its start a number of years before that, when Vickie Feldman received a Minolta 35 mm film camera as a gift. Vickie had always liked taking pictures, but she had previously been more interested in filmmaking. When she did not take this up as a profession, her frustrated desire to be creative in the visual arts led her to start taking more still photographs. A native Philadelphian, Ms. Feldman found that she enjoyed capturing images of familiar city landmarks and locations. To her delight, she sold her first photo enlargement in 1994. That same year, Vickie’s picture “Snow at Swann Fountain” was a winner in the Fairmount Park Calendar photo contest. In 1995, she met Brian Gerstel.
An adopted Philadelphian, Brian is originally from upstate New York. While in high school, Mr. Gerstel assisted his father with videotaping local events. He was not really “bitten by the shutter-bug,” however, until he started assisting Vickie with her attempts to sell photos and photo greeting cards. A computer “techie” by trade, Brian designed the Panache Photos website. He also found a more practical and cost-effective way to produce greeting cards. As Brian got more involved with designing greeting cards, working with Photoshop, producing business cards, and so forth – he found that he was also developing his own passion for photography.
Brian and Vickie dubbed their “cottage industry” Panache Photos because they both had a fondness for the play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” In this play, the title character – a swashbuckler whose large nose is more than matched by his impressive personality, wit, and poetic talent – prides himself on his white plume. This plume, or “panache,” represents his purity, flair, and style. We associate these qualities with our photography, and so Cyrano represents us as our logo.
We have a few goals in doing our Philadelphia scenic / landscape photography: to give the viewer a “you are there” perspective; to depict a slightly different way of looking at Philly; and, perhaps most importantly, to make people notice the lovely sites in our city that they may pass every day with hardly a glance.
We hope that you will enjoy viewing our photographs.