Do You Know Jan? Say Cheese!

Credits: Jess & Jan Selfie

If you’ve lived in Livingston long enough, you’ll know that there are really only two games in town for professional photography.  There’s Jan Press/Photo Media and…um…well, I’m sure there’s that other guy but I promise Jan has a way nicer camera and is kinda talented so… let’s just talk about him.

Not only is Jan a sponsor of your daily news, brought to you by TAP into Livingston, he was also our very first sponsor.  Yup, he’s the first guy that gave me a shot at being your local news source.  And, I wish I could say he did it because we had tons of readers and potential customers for him, because at the time, we didn’t, we were new.  Heck, I even wish I could say he did it because he liked me.  But, we had just met so that’s probably not the case.  No, Jan became our first sponsor because he knew we were going to deliver something good to Livingston and he wanted to be a part of that.

You see, not only is Jan a local business owner in Livingston; he is also a long time resident who, over the past 45 years, has been woven into the fabric of our community.  This guy is all over the place!  On the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Board, The Livingston Improvement District’s Board, a member of the Sunrise Rotary, and…I usually see him at all major events for Livingston (I think he has a double somewhere).

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So when you’re like Jan, going everywhere and knowing everyone, the world seems to keep getting smaller. Jan told me that looking back to high school, you usually only remember three or four teachers that really stand out or make a difference in your life, and for Jan, Willy Shapiro was one of those guys. Now if you’re an avid reader of TAP, the last name should sound very familiar because Willy is our founder and CEO, Mike Shapiro’s dad. 

“When I moved to Livingston from West Orange I discovered that we lived in the same neighborhood by Riker Hill.  Then, many years later I saw Mike was starting TAP and I have been with you ever since!”

Thanks Mr. Shapiro Sr. for being such a great teacher.  Little do you know that you helped fund this girl’s first shot at being a local entrepreneur.

I’d also call Jan one of the lucky ones because he gets to be a third generation something.  That’s it. He didn’t have to think about it. I mean, I suppose he could have thought about it if he wanted to but, he comes from a long line of passionate photographers, and has since spawned a fourth generation photographer.  The hard part of figuring out what to do for the rest of your life was kinda skipped over, and so he gets to enjoy stuff like gardening and reading books by his favorite author, Harland Coben (who by the way, is on the NY Times best seller’s list and writes stories based on events that happened in Livingston. So the next time you think your hometown is boring, call Jan for the 411). 

On gardening:  Jan told me to water my plants in the morning and sprinkle used coffee grinds here and there (I have a big fat brown thumb), and since then, I think my plants are starting to like me.  I swear I heard one singing the other day. Now I just need to get this scrunchie looking hose he keeps telling me about because I’m sure my water line is possessed as it has already burst open about six new heavy duty hoses this past season.

Jan also boasts a mean Donald Duck voice, which is helpful for trying to get kids to smile for their portrait.  Take a trip over to Jan’s studio and you’ll see some smiley kids lining his walls.  You may also see a few pictures taken by Jan of celebrities such as Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson, Paul McCartney or Bill Clinton, but no big deal.

And when it’s time for engagement photos or wedding photos Jan will make your pictures ooze romance. I know this because Jan shared with me how he met his wife Ila and I swooned. That’s a story for another time but I’ll just tell you it was bashert (that’s Yiddish for fate or destiny)!

Jan has now been sponsoring your daily local news for three years.  Thank you Jan for sponsoring TAP into Livingston!

Jan said he likes us because “TAP is a part of the hometown vibe.  It keeps you in touch with what’s going on in town, but also in the surrounding communities on a daily basis.”

Thanks again Jan!  Visit Jan’s website at or call him at 973-992-8812

This column is written by Jessica Marrone-Parkes, co-owner of  The purpose of this column is to help you, the local community, get to know the people and businesses that support TAP and help deliver the daily news to you.  To learn more about becoming a sponsor, contact Jessica at For more information about your daily news, contact Danielle at

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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