Sunday, 7 October 2007

Developing problems

Down by the Ouse

The blank look on the face of the shop assistant said it all. Anyone would have thought that I'd asked for a small nuclear weapon by the puzzled look he gave but all I'd asked for is a bottle of Kodak TMAX developer to process some film. " We don't stock liquids anymore" he said in a matter of fact kind of way. A photographic shop with no dev !!!! The saga of the high street photo retailer continues down its sorry path.

Over the summer, the UK based photographic retailer Jessops announced that it was closing over 80 stores with the loss of 550 jobs - 26% of its stores. To be honest i wasn't surprised as the store has declined over the years from the great stockist of photographic materials that it was, to the Jessops of today - a store that stocks virtually nothing. The amount of times I've been in to purchase some materials and found that they had none or only a fraction of the items,that at one time, they would have had in abundance. Yes i could use the website ( and i do!) but that adds postage costs and delays to the order; some things you want immediately.

Film has been swept out of the Jessops chain, to be replaced with digital. Fine but the problem with digital is it is self sufficient as a process. You take an image on your camera, take it off the camera and wipe the card to start again. Nothing needs to be replaced or replenished apart from batteries, and only then if you can't recharge them. Film was much more friendly to the retailer as chemicals, film and photographic paper all had to be replaced - Jessops was the place to do that. In their defence i suppose the retailer has only gone with the market but to me, a photo retailer should stock both film and digital supplies to support both forms of photography.

During the summer i purchased a new camera bag from a rather good independent photographic shop called Dents of Chesterfield. The shop has everything from film to digital cards and they stock LOADS of bags, chemicals, books, gadgets etc. Jessops should look and maybe learn a thing or two from them.

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