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Columbia Photo Supply, 2912 Devine Street: 2007   10 comments

Posted at 2:30 am in stores

I only went in to Columbia Photo Supply once. I have an old Fujica ST-605 35mm camera that my mother bought me in tenth grade (75 or 76 I think) for photography class. Aside from a built in exposure meter, this is a completely manual SLR and had given me years of good service, and in fact I took a number of the older pictures on this site with it (for instance The Towers).

Unfortunately, the film advance started giving me trouble resulting in double exposures in some cases and missed shots in others when I could not advance and cock the shutter at all. With the closure of Jackson Cameras, I didn't really know of a full service camera store in the old sense (a store that might actually have local people that knew something about fixing cameras), but I decided to try Columbia Photo. I thought it did have a bit of that old Jackson atmosphere, and I enjoyed looking at all the paraphernalia like developer and stop baths that I hadn't come into contact with in years, but in the event it turned out that the camera was too old to get parts for, so I wasn't able to get it fixed.

Not too long after that, the store went out of business, and now Rogers Brothers Fabrics has moved from Trenholm Plaza into the old Columbia Photo building.

And the camera saga had a fairly happy ending. I went on ebay and got an identical ST-605 (which came from Australia with a roll of film showing some kid posing in his karate uniform with his pet rabbit..) which works fine and which I still use when I want to shoot something high-res (though that may change now that I have a new digital "closing cam 2").

UPDATE 27 July 2010: Rogers Brothers at this location has now closed

Written by ted on January 12th, 2009

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10 Responses to 'Columbia Photo Supply, 2912 Devine Street: 2007'

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  1. Ted, dunno if you know about the new camera shop in 5 pts, F-Stop or not. Have no idea what services they provide, but they've been advertising in the Free Times a bit. They are across from the old Peaches strip mall(dig my out of date geo reference).

    ChiefDanGeorge

    12 Jan 09 at 5:41 am

  2. Ted
    "I thought it did have a bit of that old Jackson atmosphere"

    It sure did.....It was owned by a former employee of John Jackson. He had a huge influence on the art of photography in this town.

    Terry Edwards

    14 Jan 09 at 6:23 am

  3. What a shame this store closed. I believe it was the last real Photo Lab in Columbia. Say goodbye to an era.

    JC

    30 Jan 09 at 7:40 pm

  4. The F-Stop has a public darkroom, classes, camera repair, a studio you can rent, all sorts of stuff. They'll process your film and print for you too.

    Sara

    6 Apr 09 at 4:18 pm

  5. The old Columbia Photo building (the original, I guess) is featured in one scene in the Robby Benson classic "Modern Love" (1990). I think Robby Benson is trying to buy a camera. One local actor (Scott Blanks) plays the salesman, and in the background, you can see another local actor (Bobby Craft) as another customer.

    badger

    15 Jul 09 at 2:44 pm

  6. The last film camera I bought came from here in 1998, a Canon EOS ELAN IIe. This baby had the same focusing technology used in the HUD display of a fighter jet. I can look at something and it focuses on that subject from reading where my eye is looking in the viewfinder. Blissful. Did I take any photographs of old about-to-be-torn-down buildings and businesses with this marvelous technology? NOT ONE!!! As a matter of fact, I bought a little Nikon Coolpix digital not too long after I got the ELAN and I never took another photograph with film again. I don't miss the processing fees at all. Now days I have a Canon 40D DSLR with a Canon F/2.8 28mm-70mm lens and a Canon F/2.8 70mm-200mm lens and too many filters to list. Have I taken any photographs of businesses that I patronize with this incredible DSLR rig? NOT ONE!!!

    Before it was at the above location, Columbia Photo Supply was in an old wood-sided two story house (same side of Devine) closer to 5-Points -I think- about where Tickled Pink was, or more correctly the greater storefront where TP was. I almost want to say it was a Victorian-styled house, but that memory is not strong enough. I know the wood siding was always painted a soft cerulean blue. I'm guessing Badger is referring to the old house store in reference to the Robby Benson film. Another weird disconnect from my treasure trove of memories of hanging out at Group Therapy was when he and his wife Karla DeVito used to hang there when Benson was a "visiting professor" at U.S.C., but I digress.

    I don't want to take anything away from Jackson Cameras, because I practically lived in the old Richland Mall store in the late-'60s and early '70s and remember that chain quite fondly, and they did have quality merchandise, but in terms of where the fully professional photographer would go to buy equipment, restock with supplies, and have film processed, Columbia Photo Supply would win hands down.

    Michael Taylor

    9 Nov 09 at 3:13 am

  7. I recently went looking for a good Camera/Photo/Supply company in Columbia, or anywhere near Columbia that was like the Ole Columbia Photo Supply locate on Devine St, near 5-points in Columbia. I found there to be nothing that had any type of supply, or accessories on stock. Most of the people I visited always stated that they could order whatever I was in need of, etc. Well I can do that myself. I was really looking for a company that I could buy locally.I Found none. Columbia Photo Supply company on Devine was the best I had ever delt with, and my hat goes off to the one time owners... Charles & Joan Edwards for giving Columbia the best service over the 70's, 80's and 90's. Thank you two & all that worked with them for helping all the photographers during these times.

    Lonnie G...

    14 Jan 12 at 2:21 pm

  8. @Lonnie G. About the onl thing we have left that comes close to what you are looking for is Ritz camera on Beltline near Richland Mall.

    It is hard to believe that a town the size of Columbia does not have a local camera shop or a localy owned bookstore.

    Tom

    15 Jan 12 at 6:18 am

  9. Tom,

    Columbia is just too small to support these specialty stores, too little demand to cover the overhead. These stores suffer from the discounter problem, which online makes worse. Everyone says they want the store, but too few buy there, even if they shop there (i.e. look and feel, get advice, then buy online).

    Larry

    16 Jan 12 at 11:17 am

  10. I knew Charles Edwards, who owned Cola. Photo, from before when he worked for Jackson Camera at Richland Mall. I bought my 1st 35mm SLR from him @ Jackson. After I moved away I stopped in to see him several times when I was in town. I had an antique folding camera that I hauled around for 30 years with the intention of "doing something" with it. I Finally gave up and sent it to him to add to his extensive display of old camera equipment.

    Etienne Culler

    17 Jun 13 at 10:56 pm

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