New photo studio takes cue from Hobe Sound history

A robbery prompted Hobe Sound photographer and artist, Leo Arbeznik, to think about moving his business, Images in Paradise, away from its vulnerable Federal Highway location. Finding a perfect site, one that included a studio “big enough to shoot the Green Bay Packers,” absolutely cinched the deal.

He packed what had not been stolen, replaced what had been, and went one step further: He made a major investment in Hobe Sound to expand his business.

The new location is close to the hub of downtown Hobe Sound, off Lares Avenue at 8850 SE Edwyn Street, where Arbeznik quietly opened a 1,400 sq ft. state-of-the-art photo and video studio. He chose the name Picture City Studio, reminiscent of the 1925 Hobe Sound Company that attempted to bring Hollywood glitz to Hobe Sound.

“I just love that name,” he says, with a grin. “If you know anything about the history of Hobe Sound, then you’ll recognize immediately where I got it.”

Outside the front door of his business hangs a framed Hollywood movie poster to set the mood for what’s inside: a spacious showroom, a theatrical changing room with a lighted mirror, and a stage. In an adjacent space, he has room to photograph any size football team.

“I’ve told people that they could drive their RV in here and I’d be able to shoot it. Why, it’s big enough for an elephant!” he says. Then he stops talking, leans back in his chair, obviously contemplating the words he has just spoken, and with a chuckle, he adds: “Hmm, maybe when Barnum & Bailey comes through here, I’ll talk to them about that….”

An internationally acclaimed photographer with more than 40 years’ experience, Arbeznik created a full-service facility for just about anything anyone could want or need, including commercial photography, fine art portraiture, family group shots, weddings, special events, high school senior pictures, boudoir portraits, and, of course, infant, children and pet photos. He chose Hobe Sound because this place has been close to his heart for nearly two decades.

Having been around the world, photographing notables and celebrities, including Jane Goodall, Ray Bradbury and Robert Ballard, and having been commissioned globally for his photography, he is most at home here, in Hobe Sound, shooting photos of ordinary things: local homes, special places and especially the area’s people.

He stepped beyond just creating a space for still shots, however; his facility also can accommodate local and national video productions, with which he’s also had experience as director of photography for Green TV Magazine, which aired on the Discovery and Lifetime cable channels. Currently, he shares production responsibilities with various local and national venues, and he also provides digital graphic services, such as high-resolution scanning and imaging, and some video services.

An active member of the Seabranch Art League, the Hobe Sound Fine Arts League and the Martin County Arts Council demonstrates his commitment to local artists. He has the soul of an artist, reflected in almost every project he undertakes. Surveying some of his work hanging on the walls of his office reveals an artistic nuance that sets his photography apart from others and attracts photography students seeking a mentor.

“I believe in Hobe Sound; I believe in its future; and I believe that it’s critically important that people who live here should support their local artists and shop at our local businesses,” he adds, sounding a bit like he’s a Chamber of Commerce member, which he is.

“There are so many incredibly talented artists and hard-working people here,” he adds, “but we need to make sure they stay here. We all should learn to look to Hobe Sound first to find what we need and to support what’s already here.”

Arbeznik keeps his studio open from 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday, or call him at 772-545-7655 to make an appointment anytime.