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| p.1 #12 · Camera stores in Philadelphia disappearing! |
jim allison wrote:
When I covered eastern PA for Hasselblad there were approximately 25 to 30 Hasselblad dealers in the state and those were just the high end stores. There were many more "ordinary camera stores". That was in the late 1970s. There are no more camera stores because there is no more film and photofinishing. They provided the margins that allowed photo dealers to stay in business. They paid the rent. The rest was just gravy. There is also no more photo industry as it was constituted for the latter half of the 20th century. Today the camera business is a...Show more →
This is a very complicated situation. A bit sad to see some of the changes. But I don't agree that it is just "very bad for photographers, photography and the economy." IMHO there are winners and losers: We are all winners because there is so much high quality stuff available. The photo business grew tremendously with digital but the money is going to different people. I do not pine for my Canon Elan, nor do I miss the lousy photo finishing I got. Perhaps that was because I was an amateur and I had to pay for the gravy you mentioned. In 1995 I got an Epson 1200 photo printer and a film scanner. I learned photoshop and soon I could make much better prints than those photo finishers were willing to do no matter what I paid. Scratched negatives with fingerprints were frequent. Color balance, what was that? There was a great arrogance in many segments of the photo business. They were selling buggy whips but they did not know it.
Many of the photo businesses were admirable, family-run, honest and helpful. Others would skin me. The photo storefront cannot compete with the on-line retailer. Their costs are too high. They cannot display nor stock everything. As the business went digital, the sales force was not sufficiently educated to provide the service needed. As photo consumers, today we arguably have much more information about what we are buying than we did in the 1970's. The enthusiast photo magazines have been largely displaced by free information on the net. On the average the net is less biased than the Pop Photos of the day, if you read critically. Nostalgia for the good old days seems misplaced in this case.