Photography has evolved dramatically in the past 10 years, and film has almost become a historic artifact. Digital took over and there’s no turning back. Founded in 1942, Atlantic Photo Supply (5505 Spring Garden) might be Halifax’s oldest camera shop, but it certainly isn't out dated.
“Obviously just like everyone else in the photo business there has been a huge shift in what the market is about,” says owner Brian Giffin. “In the film days, people had to get their pictures processed in order to see them; there was no picking and choosing. Now, with digital, consumers see their pictures two and three times without even thinking of printing them. Some don’t print at all and others print a few.”
Photographs are timeless, both metaphorically and figuratively. Not only is a hard copy a nice token, it’s the only true form of an original. Computers can crash, memory cards can be corrupted, CDs can be lost or damaged, but if an actual photograph exists it’s possible to make duplicates without any digital media. Atlantic Photo Supply recently expanded its digital lab, cutting into the sales floor space, and the entire upstairs level (formerly the home of the Birmingham Gallery) is dedicated to larger productions and canvas prints.
Giffin says he’s no longer sweating the prospect of the Ontario-based photo chain Henry’s Cameras possibly arriving in town.
“It’s more when or even if that’s going to happen,” he says. “Halifax is a tough city. It’s just the two of us, Cars and Mosher and APS, that are full blown photographic retailers. I was convinced that back in the spring we were going to see them, but I think they’ve got their sights set on Vancouver. Henry’s isn’t into the lab side of things. We sell the high end gear; we’re the only camera store that holds a Nikon and Canon Pro centre in the Maritimes. High-end would be affected. I don’t want them to particularly come easy, but I’d rather have to deal with them rather than some of the big chains.”