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Comings & Goings: Photographer opens studio in Aurora

LaurTowle recently opened her photography studio 238 W. Downer Place Aurora.  |  MarissAmoni~For Sun-Times Media

Laura Towle recently opened her photography studio, at 238 W. Downer Place, Aurora. | Marissa Amoni~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 26, 2013 6:17AM

‘Traditional” is a word that Laura Towle, a photographer on Aurora’s West Side, doesn’t mind using. Even with photography going futuristic seemingly faster than the speed of light (or of a shutter), Towle maintains some of the more traditional ways of photography, such as shooting in a studio.

Towle, who has been slowly working on her studio at 238 W. Downer Place until she was ready to hang the sign last month, said she likes to adhere to the “old school” of photography. While she still shoots on location with digital equipment and offers digital options, she also enjoys studio-time with clients and sitting down with them as they pick out their favorite prints to order.

With a penchant for tradition and history, Towle’s photography studio suits her well, sitting on the first floor of a partially restored, ivy-covered 1906 brick residence originally owned by Joy Love, of Love Brothers Foundry.

“It was enchanting,” Towle said of the building that her boyfriend, Craig Wetter, bought “for a song.” Most recently, Wetter purchased a multi-unit across the street on Downer Place and fixed it up; they live in one of the units.

Towle said she loves the building’s old wood floors, the winding staircase in the foyer, and the large fireplace in her photography studio.

“It lends itself to photography. It’s so pretty,” she said.

She also appreciates the proximity of the studio’s location to outdoor shooting locations in downtown Aurora and elsewhere.

“I love Aurora. There are so many places to shoot here,” said Towle, who moved to Aurora from Sandwich. She added that one of her more fun shoots occurred recently when a couple wanted wedding photos taken in the schoolhouse at Blackberry Farm. And her studio is only minutes from Two Brothers Roundhouse, a popular wedding venue.

Towle said she fell in love with photography when her children were young, and she has pursued the trade for the last 15 years. Towle is working on what she calls “Project 13,” a photo series of 13 girls at the age of 13.

Towle’s daughter, who is now in college, was the inspiration for the project, along with Natalie Merchant’s song “Tell Yourself” about the insecurity of being 13. “It’s tough for girls,” said Towle, who recalled her daughter’s shyness at the time.

Towle said she wanted to “photograph [the girls] like they see themselves.” The girls also wrote essays about what it is like to be 13.

“It was a really fun project. They are all so different,” she said.

Towle will hold an open house for Project 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 15, and then she hopes to hang the show in various venues.

Towle keeps busy with senior photos and weddings. She is always ready to photograph newborns and children in her studio (ask about the old porcelain bathtub) by appointment only.

For more information on Laura Towle Photography, visit, find Laura Towle Photography on Facebook, or call 630-802-4135.


“It’s the end of an era,” said Paul Masla, echoing the words of another on the day before he shuttered the doors to Hankes Pharmacy inside of Dreyer Medical Clinic, 1870 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora.

Masla, of North Aurora, has owned the small pharmacy for the last 10 years, and he worked there as a pharmacist for a total of 18 years. Masla said he sold the business to Walgreens, and he, along with the pharmacy’s lead technician, will start working Monday at Walgreens at Galena and Constitution.

“We’re making the decision to close now before going down the hole,” Masla said.

He said that it has gotten too difficult over the years dealing with third-party reimbursements and rising drug costs.

“The same thing happened to Colonial [Drugs] a year ago. We’re going down the same path,” he said.

Hankes Pharmacy has been in business for 50 years, and started as City Hall Pharmacy in downtown Aurora. Located on Stolp Avenue, Roy Tompkins started the pharmacy, and later Bill Hankes took over.

“We provided a service and a friendly atmosphere,” Masla said. “It’s like our family is being broken up,” he added.

Masla said that customers are disappointed about the pharmacy closing.

“They’re kind of shocked,” he said. “It’s very emotional. We love all of our folks, and we hate to see them go.”

Hankes Pharmacy employed 10 people. With its closing, there will no longer be a pharmacy inside Dreyer.

“We just want to thank everybody for allowing us to serve them all of these years. It was a great run,” Masla said.

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