If you’re a child of the 80s or 90s, you know there was a certain indescribable thrill to getting your own unique portraits done at a trendy studio. No, we’re not talking about the awkward school yearbook photos – the ones you were never quite ready for when the camera flashed – but those epic solo shots or friend photos taken against colorful airbrushed backdrops. Colorful swirls and glittery stars? We were all about this glam! In the digital photography era, physical film use has dropped considerably – but there are so many indie shops out there keeping the craft alive. And not to surprisingly, art in this medium still stand out on photo-sharing apps like Twitter and Instagram.
Case and point? Country music singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves has now introduced her followers to a nostalgic mom-and-pop portrait shop and photography studio – Tom’s One Hour Photo. The artist shouted out her unexpected find and shared the beautiful results of her retro photo session.
“Got my portrait made at this AMAZING little place in Korea Town LA called Tom’s One Hour Photo,” Musgraves tweeted. “It hasn’t changed since he opened in ‘91. It’s cash only & has no internet. Said business has gotten so slow since the digital wave so we made him an insta: @tomsonehourphotolab.”
“I hope you will make a special trip to Beverly Blvd to get your film developed or portrait/passport photo taken,” the artist added, explaining the shop does personalized shoots in both digital and film. “We have to save dying businesses like this. They’re the backbone of this country.”
The Instagram account in question amassed more than 20k followers overnight, so clearly there’s still a great interest in old-school photography when it’s this special! It also celebrates Tom, and shares a behind-the-scenes look at his craft.
In addition to sharing some of her retro portraits online, the singer announced she will also be adding wallet-sized photos created in the shop to her own merch offerings. This is such a cool way to get physical photos back in the limelight!
If you want to visit this particular establishment, Tom’s One Hour Photo is located at 4158 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles. But remember – even if you’re not in the LA area, it is so rewarding to go off the beaten path a little bit to support local artists and small businesses when you can. Even if the end goal is getting something truly one-of-a-kind to share on the ‘gram.
— Kristine Hope Kowalski