By Nick McCrea
BANGOR — After 37 years of helping photographers capture instants in time, Bangor Photo is closing its doors.
The printing and photo equipment shop ran into economic difficulties in recent years, according to owner Joni Dunn, whose husband started the business in 1976. A “very slow winter” prompted the closing, she said on a rainy Wednesday inside the store, which has been at its Union Street location for about a decade.
“Nobody’s printing their digital images anymore,” Dunn said. More people are taking photos with cellphones or uploading digital camera images to personal computers rather than printing out a physical copy. Some of those who do print physical copies do so on printers at home, rather than going to a print shop.
Now, the shop’s longtime customers, including Sharon Fiedler of Bangor, will have to find elsewhere to practice their hobbies and careers.
Fiedler, 64, walked into Bangor Photo eight years ago wanting to pick up a camera and hobby she knew little about.
“I knew nothing when I picked it up, I didn’t even know how to hold [the camera],” said Fiedler, who was at the store Wednesday editing images of what appeared to be a young barred owl that she photographed the evening before in Milo.
During the past eight years, Fiedler has taken classes and received training from Bangor Photo staff. She mostly does wildlife photography, traveling across the state looking for moose, bears and birds of all sorts. Several of her images are on display in the shop, alongside photographs taken by other customers.
Dunn said Bangor Photo would take its last printing orders on Friday and try to use up its paper, chemicals and ink as they start to move out during the next two weeks.
Fiedler said she’ll continue to practice her wildlife photography and will have to go to Sam’s Club or another big-box store to print her images.