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Howard K. Watkins grew up in Southern California before attending UC Berkeley where he graduated in 1969 with a BA in Political Science and received a Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of the Law in 1972. He met his wife, Christine, while at Berkeley where she obtained her BA in English and teaching credential. They married on July 4, 1971, and moved to Fresno in 1973. Howard was an attorney with Fresno County Legal Services for over 12 years and then with the Office of Fresno County Counsel until his retirement in 2007. Howard and his wife have two grown children—Adam and Robin, and an adorable grandson, Oliver.
Howard began taking photographs in junior high school with a simple Brownie camera. While he upgraded his cameras over the years, he did not switch to the digital format until 2004. His collection of photographs now exceeds 180,000 with 120,000 of them on film. Most of his photographs are of people, places, and events in the greater Fresno area. He is the official photographer for the Fresno County Bar Association. He has taken photographs for the State Bar of California, the California Supreme Court, and literally hundreds of community organizations, including Fresno Metro Ministry, Friends of the Library, KVPR, and the Ken Maddy Institute. In 2007, the Mayor of Fresno designated Howard as the City's current Photo Laureate with Pop Laval being its first. Several of his photographs have received art show awards.
Influenced by the historic Pop Laval Photographic Archive Collection and encouraged by others, Howard decided to partner with the Henry Madden Library at CSU Fresno and the Fresno Regional Foundation to raise the money needed to digitize his photographic collection with the goal of making it a database accessible by the general public through the Internet. Howard will be devoting his time to indexing the photographs over the next 10+ years. Current photographs and information on the Photo Archive Project are at his personal website at www.watkinsphotoarchive.com.
Howard is also an active member of our community. He has received many awards for his work, including the Fresno County Bar Association's Bernie Witkin Lifetime Achievement Award, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award from the City of Fresno, and a Commendation from the Legion of Valor Museum. He currently serves as President of the Board of Trustees of his church.