Dick Patrick Studios Captures Authentic Grit for the Original Doug’s Gym

July 2, 2013

By Barbara Goldman

© Dick Patrick Studios

 Award-winning promotion for Doug's Gym of Dallas, Texas. 

Doug’s Gym is something of an institution in downtown Dallas, Texas.  It is the oldest single owned and operated gym in the U. S. Owner and founder Douglas Eidd has been running the gym since 1962.  Eidd, now 84 years old, decided it might be a good time to record his gym in photographs while he’s still around. His idea was the perfect entrance for a kind of soul mate in the Dallas-based, advertising photographer Dick Patrick

Patrick has owned and operated his photo studio for over 30 years.  He has been featured in magazines such as Studio Photography & Design and Photo Insider, while his work has been recognized by the likes of Communication Arts, Print Magazine, How Magazine, The Dallas Society of Visual Communications and The American Advertising Federation. The majority of his work is product and food photography, commissioned by advertising agencies and design firms, but Patrick believes the best way to stay relevant and keep enthusiasm at a high level over the long haul, is to create self assignments. Doing work in areas that interest you as a photographer outside of your daily scope of work can lend even more creativity to jobs for hire. 

Patrick has been doing  many more personal projects that are winning awards for him and showing off his versatility. The intention for the photo essay for Doug’s Gym  was to use a straight-forward approach that portrays the natural character that Doug himself exudes. “It’s a gritty place and he’s a gritty guy, thus the name, Authentic Grit. It’s a rare case where the owner, the building, the equipment and the story all share the same traits. They fit together like no other business I know,” says Patrick.

Patrick combined his talents with Designer Zach Hale and Creative Director Liz Burnett of Matchbox Studio. They have worked together for almost 20 years, and their collaboration on extraordinary promotions has brought them rewards and recognition.

Photographing Doug’s Gym was not something that could easily be done in a day. Patrick shot over a period of four months observing Doug and his many clients. He had to be there long enough so that everyone would get used to him being around and then little by little begin to let their guard down.  “You have to hang around and in time, people will ignore you and begin to act naturally,” he says.

 © Dick Patrick Studios

Patrick shot with a combination of Canon Mark IV, 1ds camera bodies and a Phase One 645DF body with a Phase One P65 digital back. Everything was edited in Lightroom 4 and ultimately finished off in Photoshop CS6.

All of the images from Authentic Grit: Doug’s Gym  were shot specifically for promotion.  The 28-page booklet  includes designer Hale’s subtle touches as using a strip of authentic tape down the spine and mixing a gritty texture into the spot varnish. The book is even wrapped in a poster that serves as an envelope.  Patrick intends to show clients, as well as remind them that he shoots a lot of other things besides food, products and still life for advertising.  “I think my clientele likes knowing that I still shoot projects for myself and that I’m not just a one trick pony. I like what I do and sometimes that is the difference between me getting a project and one of my competitors.”

© Dick Patrick Studios

He should have no trouble on that point with clients.  Authentic Grit: Doug’s Gym was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2013 Dallas Professional Show. “Dick’s images of Doug’s Gym are so vivid and authentic it’s like you can feel the rust of the weights. This sense of grit was the main inspiration behind this piece. Every detail was considered from the grit finish on the type to the athletic tape we used to seal it,” comments CD Burnett.

Patrick does not stop shooting until he gets it right, which is why clients keep coming back. Helping them achieve their marketing communication goals is his highest priority, but he always takes his work a step giving his clients a more creative vision than they ever envisioned. 

You can see  more of  Dick Patrick’s advertising work and his photo essays at his site, He is represented by  Heather Williams.

Dick Patrick Studios

Agency: The Matchbox Studio

Creative Director: Liz Burnett    

Designer: Zach Hale