Chris’ Camera Center is moving around the corner

Right now I’m at the stage where you wonder, “why did I ever start this project?”

The answer: because I needed a leaner, meaner Chris’ Camera Center. One where the design more closely matches what we’ve become over the last few years, which is a Photo Design Center.


That means we’ll take your photo, no matter how it started, and turn it into a product that can be front and center in your life. Whether that means an image on metal or canvas – a panorama that takes up half your wall – a coffee cup or just a conventional 4″ x 6″ print – you can have your choice. You’ll find more samples to help you in the process, and a layout that’s easier to navigate.

Where will we be? At the corner of Park Avenue and Newberry Street, where Park Avenue Paints used to be. In fact, if you hurry you may find the building still says “Park Avenue Paints” but that won’t last for too long. From our current location, walk south to Park Avenue. Turn left and walk to the end of the block.

You’ll probably find parking is more convenient at the new location, and you should find it easier to work on your favorite photo project.

Yes, we’ll still teach classes. Nothing during the month of September, however.

When will we do this? Our target is September 15th, 2015. That’s the day our lab equipment is being moved and that’s the day our phones and internet get hooked up. So there may be some difficulty talking to us that day.

We’re excited and hope you will be too.



What’s happened since I left East Aurora…

Brownie127-400When I got that first Brownie 127 camera I was heading down a long path of photographic careers.

My dad moved us to Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1957. I worked after school at Charles and Polly’s Photo Studio, but really spent more time hanging around Gitchell’s Camera Shop. They had the neat hardware, and that was always cooler than the actual taking of portraits. Hate to admit it, but I’m a gear junkie.

In college I was a year book photographer and there met my future wife Thelma. She was editorial staff, I was the geek with the camera. Sometimes the geek gets the cool girl, if he’s lucky.

After college we moved to New Jersey. Thelma taught school, I was going to be a big success as a school photographer.

Remember I found hardware cooler than taking portraits? When taking portraits meant taking pix of 700 kids per day, it was even less fun. I went to work for the local camera store chain as a manager.

And when the owner’s son started showing more interest in photography than Volkswagens, the writing was on the wall. No future for Chris. So I bought my own camera store in 1974 in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, and changed the name to Chris’ Camera Center.

By 1999 we had three stores but were growing tired of the northern winters. And growing older. Thelma retired, I sold the stores and we moved to Aiken, South Carolina.

And after 3 months I got right back in harness and opened a specialty camera store from scratch. Chris’ Camera Center South in the heart of downtown Aiken.

It all started at the Boys Club in East Aurora, New York

My name is Chris and I’m a camera addict.

When I was 10, growing up in a cool suburb of Buffalo, New York, I spent much of my time at the American Boys Club. And they had a darkroom with photo classes for the kids.

We used cameras with roll film and the instructors were very patient. From the time I first saw an image emerge in the amber glow of a safe light, the magic had me hooked.

And magic was the right word. It’s still magic today, although it’s been diluted by the ease with which we can record image digitally.

I saved my pennies – 345 of them, to be exact – and bought a Kodak Brownie Holiday camera that used 127 roll film. 8 shots on a roll. It was frustrating that a couple of weeks after my major investment Kodak brought out the Holiday Flash model for only $3.95 cents and for the first time I realized that the camera you buy today will be replaced. But it didn’t matter, because the camera you buy today will continue to take photos for years to come.

And that’s still true.

By age 13 I’d progressed to my first 35mm camera, a used Argus C-3. The “brick”. And I’ve never looked back, there’s never been a time when I wasn’t taking photos.

tips from an old-fashioned camera store