Ozark Stock was founded in 1987 by John S. Stewart in response to a growing demand for stock photography from the Ozarks and Branson, Missouri, following the “Branson Boom,” which brought prominent entertainers and music theatres to the Ozarks’ town. During that period through the 1990s, Ozark Stock had a bricks-and-mortar office in downtown Springfield and met clients face to face or via FedX, sending 35mm and 120mm transparencies to publications and agencies across the country.
Even though film images were the norm in the 1990s, Ozark Stock embraced the computerization of its catalog system to find and distribute imagery to clients quickly.
The 2000s brought change to the industry, and Ozark Stock evolved by producing images digitally and digitalizing much of its library of film images. It is now 100% online at Ozark Stock Photography.
John S. Stewart has been active in photography and media full-time since 1975. He graduated from Drury College in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and chemistry. Hmmm
“I liked biology, and I was even a lab assistant for one of the professors for a couple of semesters, but I preferred photographing the fauna and flora rather than classifying and dissecting it.”
With a biology background and love of photography, the career path seemed evident to this naive recent college graduate. He would become a wildlife photographer, and that is what he told Angus MacDougal, the head of the photojournalism department at the University of Missouri School of Journalism when he enrolled the following fall.
“Well,” MacDougal said, pausing only to suppress his laughter. “We don’t shoot many rock and roots around here.”
So, the career path took a turn, and graduating in 1976 from the University of Missouri School of Journalism with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in photojournalism, Stewart began photographing and writing for newspapers and magazines, publications that are primarily about humans, a different kind of fauna than the wildlife he intended.
Editorial and commercial assignment photography has occupied his efforts since the mid-1970s as a staff photographer and later independently working for publications including, The New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, and many trade publications.
Stewart continues to explore innovative uses for the abundance of quality digital images, repurposing vintage photography as art for home and office decor, for product use, and incorporating it into video production.