Chris McNair Studios

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Chris McNair Studios and Art Gallery is a full-service photography studio, art gallery and event space founded by Chris McNair and located at 45 6th Avenue South.

McNair first opened his photography studio in 1962. The business was later expanded to include photo processing, graphic design, custom framing and stationery. In 2001 a major addition and renovation was made to the gallery, including a commercial kitchen, allowing it to be used for banquets and other catered events. The question of how McNair was able to afford the construction was an issue in his trial for bribery and corruption. Prosecutors showed that the studio invoiced county sewer contractor U. S. Infrastructure for design and marketing work that was never performed. McNair was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to five years in prison.

McNair's daughters Kim and Lisa both work in the family business. A small exhibit area in the gallery serves as a memorial to McNair's daughter, Denise, one of four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.

In December 2008 over $7,000 worth of prints from Civil Rights-era photographs taken by McNair were stolen from the studio. The gallery closed while McNair served a federal sentence for corruption related to the Jefferson County sewer construction scandal.


  • Stewart, Virginia (July 27, 2001) "There's life beyond public life: Chris McNair and daughters build on his career." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Gray, Jeremy (December 24, 2008) "Birmingham police investigating theft of civil rights era photographs from Chris McNair sudio." Birmingham News