Aug 3, 2005

The changing focus of photography

The artistic future of traditional film develops in an increasingly digital era.

Source: Redland Daily Facts
Written By David James Heiss

REDLANDS The shuttered operations of Redlands Camera Inc., which closed in May, reflects the rapidly changing nature of the photography industry.

According to Steve Wormser, owner of Redlands Color Lab, the photography business used to be fairly predictable, and based on the latest technology of the day, revenue forecasts for camera stores could be predicted three years in advance.

Wormser’s family owned the Redlands Camera store for 35 years and sold it 10 years ago. When it closed at the beginning of summer, it had been part of Redlands’ business scene for more than 80 years, according to Wormser.

There was a bit of nostalgia that was lost with Redlands Camera for the Wormser family.

“It was sad for me,” Wormser says. “I spent 26 years of my life growing up in that store. It was around for 84 years. It’s sad when it happens, because it was a longtime downtown Redlands business.”

“In the past couple of years, people have been shooting less film,” Wormser says. “Now they’re bringing in memory cards and CDs and picking only the pictures they want. Fifteen years ago a family would come in with 10 rolls of film 400 photos. Now someone will come in with a CD of 300 pictures and only print 60.”

Wormser fears that print shops could be the next to go.

“So many people can print at home,” he says. “Computers have changed the business in so many ways.”

“Why is the market under pressure?” poses Gary Pageau, group executive of Jackson, Mich.-based Photo Marketing Association International. “The analog business customers paid for what they didn’t want. They could take a roll of film, and several of the pictures may not have turned out as they wanted. With digital, they’re taking and printing more, but they’re not paying for the ones they don’t want. This hasn’t offset the decline of all those unwanted pictures.”

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