Here’s your insiders look into KEH Camera and the KEH team. Check out #KEHSpotlight each month where we’ll showcase team members. This month we interviewed Product & Merchandising Manager, Phil Kaplan!
Hey Phil! Thanks for agreeing to share your background with our customers. To begin, please tell us a little about yourself.
Growing up an Army Brat made for constant moving, as a family we saw many places in the United States and the world over my first 18 years. Over that time, I had 10 different schools while living in Philippines, Germany and many states in the US. As I look back on it now it was a unique opportunity that I really appreciate today. For the last 35 years I’ve called Atlanta home and the photography business my passion. First working for Wolf Camera, then Ritz Camera and for 14 years Showcase Photo & Video. With a short hiatus from the business I’m happy to have landed at KEH. With my wife Beth, we have continued to travel seeing many unique and wonderful places, the most recent being Scotland.
What sparked your interest in photography and camera gear?
In my early twenties I was looking for an additional hobby. A good friend of mine had just purchased a camera so I thought why not get one as well. Thus, the seed was planted. After taking a basic B&W class I was hooked.
How long have you been a KEH employee? What is your role (s) here at KEH and what does it entail?
I started last year on July 5th, so just over a year. My official title is Product and Merchandising Manager. As to what that title means, I would say my responsibilities revolve around cameras, lenses and photo accessories. Also, to be involved in product selection and to help with marketing and sales and to grow the business while maintaining profits. One of the real fun parts is being involved with so many other departments and helping where I can.
What is your favorite thing about working at KEH?
In the year I’ve been at KEH I’ve realized how special the employees are. The photography industry is a unique business and the people who generally stay in the industry have a passion for photography.
The future of KEH is so bright! Share with us what you’re most excited about?
Before I was hired, I had my first conversation with Kevin Kuryliw and realized that KEH was contemplating going into the retail part of the business. Though this is a great challenge for the KEH family I’m extremely excited about being directly involved and helping to make this endeavor successful.
What gear do you currently have in your collection? Any cameras you plan on adding soon?
I start out shooting Minolta then jumped to Nikon, currently I own a Nikon F3HP, F5 and D500 bodies. As for lenses I own the 105mm f2.5 & 55mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor AIS mounts. I just added the auto focus 16-80mm DX lens and 70-200 f4 FX lens for digital auto focus. I also own the Olympus OMD-EM 1 Mark II with 12-100 and 40-150 lens. Over time I plan on adding to both systems.
Here’s a fun question, if you could BE any camera what would you be and why?
For me it would be the Nikon F3HP. Being in the industry for over 30 years I’ve had the chance to shoot and play with many of the different makes and models. I purchased my F3HP in 1985 and I still have it today.
Do you have other special talents or hobbies?
I guess it's tennis. I started playing in high school, then college and finally did some teaching through my twenties. In the beginning it was my aspiration of playing professionally. I soon found out how much talent it takes to really make it.
Is there a quote/saying you live by?
Actually I have 2 quotes that I try and live by, one is for personal well-being “Due onto others as you would have them due onto you”. The other is “Out of sight out of mind”.