Closing down: Owner Warren Wilson (left), shop assistant Amy McDonald and manager David Harding are sad to see the closure of the Eastmon camera shop in Ballina after 25 years of service.
Closing down: Owner Warren Wilson (left), shop assistant Amy McDonald and manager David Harding are sad to see the closure of the Eastmon camera shop in Ballina after 25 years of service. Doug Eaton

Digital photos close camera shop

A CAMERA shop which has served Ballina residents for more than 25 years is getting ready to close its doors.

Warren and Debbie Wilson’s store – Eastmon Digital Photo Store in River Street – has become another victim of the digital photography revolution.

Once there were four specialist camera shops in Ballina. But soon there will be none.

“It’s a shame,” Mr Wilson said.

“When we first bought the shop in 1985 we had to send film away to be processed.”

It wasn’t until 1988 – the year of World Expo ’88 in Brisbane – that they finally got their own mini-lab.

“But when digital photography arrived around 2000, there were huge changes, not just for retail photographic stores like ours, but for the whole industry,” he said.

“Everyone was anxious ... but it did create opportunities.

“It has made photography more affordable.”

Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital era have not outweighed the negative impacts for Mr Wilson, and he recently made the difficult decision to close.

“There has been a huge toll on the industry,” he said.

“I was pretty emotional when I put up the ‘closing down’ signs on the shop windows.”

Some of Mr Wilson’s best memories are the looks on people’s faces as they look at treasured photographs for the first time.

“You don’t get that as much any more, because you look at your photos straight away,” he said.

“People also take more photos than ever before.

“Prints are old-fashioned now.”

But despite being forced to quit the photography business, Mr Wilson plans to open a new business in the same store.

He’s keeping it a secret for now.

“It’s a business that is totally unrelated to photography, but something River Street desperately needs,” he said.



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