Foto-Art Responds to Growing Interest in Film Photography

Mel Jaune

Technology has had a huge impact on the photography industry both in the way people take photos and the stores that sell the equipment and provide processing services. When such huge changes occur, there are winners and losers. The losers have been both large companies like Kodak and most commonly, the small-town camera shops. Foto-Art is responding to the resurging interest in film by providing fast, in-store processing, a variety of film types and even a selection of used film cameras at discount prices.

Foto-Art Owen Sound Store

Foto-Art Store Owner Peter Ciokan

Foto-Art of Owen Sound is one of few photography businesses in the region. It was purchased by Eva and Zen Ciokan in 1978 and is now operated by son Peter. Foto-Art was the first 1-hour photo lab north of Toronto and is continuing that unique service.

Located on Owen Sound’s main street, Foto-Art has become an attraction for photography enthusiasts visiting the area. Looking around the walls you can see hundreds of cameras that span almost 100 years. Many use film formats no longer available but a large number are in working condition.

Foto-ART Camera Collection

Small Part of Camera Collection

Is Film the New/Old Media?

The front window of Foto-Art contains an iconic red neon “1 Hour Photo” sign, a service popular with customers that come into the store with a digital card in hand and need prints right away.

“People still like to see it in print, hold it in their hands and share it.”

Customers can work on in-store kiosks or submit files through their web site and receive finished prints in a day and at times within an hour.

Foto-Art is one of few camera shops offering in-store processing of colour and black-and-white film. Film processing is a more complex process and requires developing machines and chemicals. “There is processing available in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo but few other places.”

Foto-Art Film Processing

Previewing Digitized Images Before Printing

“We’re seeing a new interest in film as a photographic medium amongst professionals and young amateurs. It’s a different medium from digital and it’s characteristics affect the final image. There is also the unexpected element – until it’s developed you really don’t know that you have the shot and that excites a lot of people.”

So what’s fueling the resurgence in film? Although not widespread, it is like the growing interest in analogue recordings and the return of LPs as an audio medium. True audiophiles would argue that there is nothing better and that the quality of sound is different from digital recordings. The same is true for photographers shooting film.

“Different film types have their unique characteristics – grain, colour emphasis and general look. Iconic films such as Kodachrome have a distinct look that digital photographers try to reproduce using computers and software but it still isn’t the same.”

For anyone interested in shooting film, there are few new cameras being manufacturing but there are millions of used ones kicking around – most every home has one or two relegated to the attic. Foto-Art refurbishes and sells the better film cameras at a discount price that is affordable for anyone wanting to give it a try.

Selection of Film in Stock

“I do it because I see it as a way to keep the medium alive. Photography has been a recognized art form for decades and in the hands of masters remains relevant to day. With film, you become more planned in your shots, you think about the photos you are taking and have to wait to see the final result. For photographers new to film, there is a certain magic to it.“

Although there are fewer film types available than 10 – 20 years ago, manufacturers such as Ilford, Fuji and Kodak provide new product in both colour and black-and-white film. Foto-Art staff carries a selection of 35MM and 120MM film, uncommon to see in most photo stores.

“We have a growing selection because there are some avid film photographers in the area that like to experiment with different types, development methods and affects.”

Foto-Art is located at 842 2nd Ave East, Owen Sound Ontario, 519-376-4592. Open Mon-Fri 9:00 – 5:30, Saturday 9:00 – 4:00.



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