Building a Foundation with Kerrisdale Cameras

Posted by on August 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm.

As an organizer of the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon, people are sometimes surprised when they find out that I have virtually no background in photography. I’d never even changed a lens until Morten came around some 12 years ago toting his beloved EOS-1 and going on (and on) about some kooky idea of running with cameras. I also would have never realized that Kerrisdale Cameras existed a mere block away from home!

We vividly remember the first time we walked into the unassuming shop. Initially surprised by its modest surroundings, we quickly found out why there was no need for flash or frills. Rick was on hand to offer us not only advice and suggestions, but also a few useful photo tips. We had not gone in with the intention of buying anything and never felt pressured to go home with anything off the shelves. Some managers may think of that as a lost opportunity, but for all the years that followed, the Burnaby location of Kerrisdale became our shop of choice whenever we ‘needed’ a new toy and Rick became our go-to-guy for everything photo related. We’ve always wanted to team up with Kerrisdale Cameras and are very excited and proud to announce them as the official 2013 sponsor of 12×12’s film development, printing, and scanning.

Its unpretentious approach is what won us over and this is one of the qualities that has made Kerrisdale the province’s largest photo specialty chain. Now celebrating 52 years as a family owned and operated business, it is obvious that a solid foundation is at the root of this company’s history of success. As we oft like to do, we’re going to take you back in time. As we dial 1961 into the DeLorean, we strongly recommend that you bring a friend along to catch you when you faint at the sight of new houses going for $13,000.

While John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States, sweeping the nation off its feet half a century ago were go-go booted dancers prancing to the Pony and giving Surrender to Elvis’ gyrating hips, boat-sized guzzlers road-tripping at 7 cents a litre, Holly Golightly having her first Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Michael J. Fox taking his first breath 5 months after Wayne Gretzky. The average income may have been $5,000, but boy was it spent well, especially if you were snap happy because also saying hello to the world that year was the first Kerrisdale store in Vancouver.

Bob Hudson with a Canon F1 circa 1972

Bob Hudson with a Canon F1 circa 1972

Co-founded by Bob Hudson and his mother Mary, the original location on West 41st and Yew St has stood the test of time and continues to serve recreational and professional photographers seeking fair prices and sound advice. Having already had a good 10 years of experience selling cameras while studying commerce at UBC, Bob not only knew exactly what to ask to fit customers to the right equipment, but he also remembered all the answers the next time that same customer came back for an upgrade! Always progressive, the young entrepreneur was Googling well before it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

But staying ahead of the curve doesn’t mean forgetting the past. Just as a solid foundation grounds a business, a firm grasp of the principles of photography makes a photographer into an artist. For all its modern conveniences, the digital medium still doesn’t hold a candle to the nuances and richness that film photography affords. Why else would art schools continue to teach core photography programs using only film? While other specialty stores clear their shelves of range finders and manual drives, Kerrisdale continues to accept trade-ins and continues to process film. Morten and I never leave the store without gazing at the huge selection of classic cameras and are always floored by how much they now go for. They don’t make them like they used to, so consider taking home one of these gems.

Shelves upon shelves of 35mm cameras, lenses, and accessories for sale at Kerrisdale Cameras

Dilemma: Picking one out of so many 35mm cameras and lenses. Solution: Get one for each day of the week!

Linda Hudson, owner of Kerrisdale Cameras

Daughter Linda Hudson Carries on the Legacy Her Late Father Built

Kerrisdale’s web list of used film equipment is updated twice a week:

Used Film Cameras | Used Lenses & Lens Accessories

Boy, would we have had a blast shooting the breeze with Bob, who like his mother never stopped working at the main store. Having passed away in 2011, he is remembered fondly by the community and rests easy knowing that his daughter Linda now carries on the legacy he and his mother have built.

If you have any questions about the camera you’ll be running around with on August 31st, Kerrisdale is staffed with many photographers that still shoot in film, including Stuart at the Vancouver location who is so dedicated to the medium it is permanently inked on his arm. If anyone knows film, it would be him. With a collection of nearly 300 film cameras, Stuart still shoots entirely in the classic medium.

Film Tattoo on Stuart KennedyAnd here are the other sales associates that know their way around a film camera. Recognize any of ‘em? ;o)Kerrisdale Camera Associates That Still Shoot Film: Mike Wilson, Robert Anderson, Jolene Reiniger, John Roberts, Chris McDonaldKerrisdale Camera Associates That Still Shoot Film: Meghan Oram, Alex Hakonson, Bill Green, Jason Hamper, Lynann Colligan

It’s clear that another foundation for Kerrisdale’s success is its staff, almost 50% of which have been with the company for over 10 years! If you’ve been itching to buy a camera, ask any of them about this current promotion (which includes film cameras) ending August 31.Kerrisdale Cameras Promotion

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