There’s a new camera shop coming to the neighborhood that is so *Capitol Hill* that you’ll probably think we’re making this up. There’s no name for the venture slated to open up by the end of October but an artist, a former Microsoftie and a professional astrologer are teaming up to open a combined vintage instant camera shop, work space and gallery on E Pine.
“Basically, it’s a camera store with an ultra specific clientele,” partner Cory Verellen says of the new venture.
“You’re going to see well-store original Polaroid film. Some classes. Some events. A whole variety of cameras. Polaroid made so many cameras over the years.”
Verellen and wife Tali Edut — she’s the astrologer in the mix with her http://www.astrostyle.com/ business — will work with Seattle artist Justin Mata in the space. You can see one of Mata’s video works, below. They were shown the door when 619 Western was shut down and Verellen says, armed with arts funding and grant rent subsidies, they decided to open a store as well as a studio on Capitol Hill.
The E Pine retail and studio space will take shape in October in the former home of the Zeroplus architecture firm that is moving to a new location after a decade on Capitol Hill. The stretch of E Pine near 14th Ave has been going through some change marked most notably by the opening of Spinasse’s little friend Artusi at the corner in The Chester apartment building. Retailer Whimsy had made way for that space to open up. Also “making way” in the area last fall was tiny plant shop the Copper Vine. The shop was filled this year by art space The Project Room. Regent Cafe & Bakery plans to be open by November just up the street across the intersection at 14th and Pine.
Edut will use the space for her writing — she’s the official astrologer for Elle.com, among others — and is also helping to shape the shop and studio’s more, shall we say, intuitive components. “We’re thinking about the slow photography movement,” she said. “We’re making sure to put an emphasis on very accesible, simple cameras.”
Polaroid’s instant cameras have suffered some of the longest death throes in recorded history. But the announcement that the bankrupt company would finally altogether cease production of its instant film a few years ago has helped add just enough drama to the devices to help drive growing interest.
If you think the Polaroid trend and combined shop/studio/work space thing sounds flaky, you’re thinking wrong. Verellen just decided to ditch his job at Microsoft to devote his full effort to a business he first began building online at landcameras.com, named for Edwin Land, a co-founder of Polaroid and, basically, the father of instant film.
“From a traditional photography standpoint, our cameras are amazing,” Verellen said. “We’re rolling back the clock a little bit.”
Prices will vary for the basic old Polaroids from $30 to $50 up to hundreds of dollars for some of the unique specimens Verellen spends his time finding and squirreling away. You still might be lucky enough to find one of the old cameras at a Goodwill but it’s becoming more and more rare. The shop’s cameras will also have been given the full run-through by Verellen and refurbished as necessary. He’s planning to sell each camera with a pack of film — the intent is that you’re buying part of the Polaroid experience along with the gear.
With the Instagram-ification of technology, there seems to be a market for devices that add a little more serendipity into the equation.
“Half the fun is not knowing how it’s going to come out,” Verellen said. “We’re so used to our cameras making these perfect pictures.”
There’s no set date for the new space to open but the partners are aiming for Halloween. In the meantime, you can follow @landcameras on Twitter for updates.