Ron Lee, CEO and founder of 745 Inc., was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky to Major Richard McLeish Lee and Delma L. Lee. Lee spent his early years traveling as his father’s military career demanded. His early years were spent in Japan. Lee’s father retired from the US Army and settled the family in Greensboro, NC when Lee was fifteen. Lee has three siblings: Debra, Richard, and Gretta.
Upon graduation from Dudley High School in 1970, Lee attended North Carolina Central University (1970-1974) where he discovered his gift for photography. Following college, Lee served his country in the US Army (1975-1979) and continued honing his photographic talents. It was during this time that Lee received his first award for photography during a tour of duty in Korea. Lee served as camp photographer in addition to his regularly assigned duties. This duty station also afforded Lee with the opportunity to travel to the inaugural Mirage festival in Japan which highlighted a sporting competition between Temple and Grambling Universities in addition to the introductory “battle of the bands”. Lee’s body of work from the inaugural Mirage festival includes photographs of the band, War and Heisman nominee, Doug Williams, Sr. Upon leaving the Army, Lee returned to saving lives as a member of the Atlantic City Beach Patrol before beginning his formal training as a professional photographer and printer.
Lee’s photography career almost ended before it began. In the fall of 1979, he had a near death experience causing him to spend seven months in the hospital including an extended stay in the ICU, five surgeries, and extensive rehabilitation at the VA in Washington, DC. Thankfully, he recovered and graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta (1980-1982) with a Photography Technician certificate.
Upon graduation, Lee worked as a darkroom technician at Strictly Black and White in Atlanta and as a medical media photographer for the Atlanta VA. He also held classes in photography at the Chastain Art Center (Atlanta). On February 15, 1992, he opened his first photography studio, The Silver Factory.
One of Lee’s greatest influences was Ansel Adams and his use of silver gelatin black and white printing. Unfortunately, Adams passed away before Lee could participate in his scheduled master workshop. Edward Weston was another inspiration for Lee and the two contributed to Lee’s desire to become a master black and white printer. Lee holds a patent for his printing process known as “photographic leather” which adds warmth and depth to flat prints.
Lee has exhibited his black and white state of the art works both as a solo artist and as a part of a collection of artists.