Photo Finished

As I once noted, there was a corner of 18th and L Street here in D.C. that once had a Border’s Books and a Ritz Camera across from it. Both are gone. Along those lines, the Sears portrait studio has now become a thing of the past.

Reports the Wall Street Journal:

CPI Corp., in a statement on its website, said it closed all of its U.S. studios “after many years of providing family portrait photography.” The St. Louis-based company didn’t explain the hasty closure, and calls to CPI went unanswered. However, the company has struggled financially, hurt by the rise of digital photography.

The news came suddenly to the retailers. “We were notified Thursday that CPI is ceasing its U.S. operations at retailers across the country immediately,” Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said. CPI has provided photo services for Sears’s customers since 1959 and has been the store’s only portrait studio operator since 1986, currently located in all 788 Sears stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

I remember going to my local CPI Photo Finish store in Toms River, N.J., to get a roll of film developed. It was more expensive than the supermarket processor because it was done in an hour. Of course you couldn’t share your pics unless someone came over to check out your new photo album, which would have airline ticket stubs and postcards stuck inside. Today everyone can see your pictures of not just recent vacations but of everyday life. This isn’t always a good thing—hence the neologism “overshare.” Such as: Here’s a picture of my messed up foot. Let me post this on Twitter! (That really happened.)

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