On February 7th of 2014 Fujifilm opened a photography boutique in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku area.
With the stated desire to create a retail experience that matches the pace of today’s smartphone culture the press release says that the shop was opened by Fujifilm’s President Shigehiro Nakajima with a message that “Living with photography improves one’s life”.
The release also states that with the increase in casual photography (気軽に写真を撮影する機会) with smart-phones the average woman in her twenties takes an estimated 500 pictures a year, with at least half of all women taking a photo each day. As a company with history and expertise in printing pictures, that’s a pretty big potential customer base.
Additionally the press release states that while digital photography is popular…
"Fujifilm looks to spread the enjoyment of analog photography to a new generation of young people with their instant film line through which a desire to "Give Shape to Images" is represented."
Fujifilm’s own Instax mini 90 commercial on youtube is a pretty good visual and thematic representation of the generation of young people whom they hope to turn on to analog photography.
While even if it feels like all is at the expense of those who remain committed to their 35mm and peel-apart black and white films is Fujifilm is taking the photo-lifestyle market seriously and dismissing all this as some sort of “hipster”thing, or declare it an affront to “real photographers” would just be ignorant. It’s not hurting anything and the enjoyment in personal photography is a great thing to experience.
Fujifilm’s desire for the average person to make prints of their photographs has long been part of their history. In the past this was done through the encouragement for people to shoot more. That’s sure not the trouble now- just printing a fraction of what is captured each day through means facilitated by the company would be sure to help their bottom line.
To help do so, the shop is set up with monitors and printers to encourage the printing of smart-phone pictures in a comfortable atmosphere.
Cheki Cameras and Instax film are on hand and a selection of albums and other post-production accessories are available for sale as well.
Fujifilm prides themselves on discovering Value from Innovation. Perhaps enough time has passed for a physical store where people have photos printed is innovative. The charm of the venue certainly may be (although it does seem close in tone to young female-photographer marketed shops like Popeye Camera in Setagaya).
Wonder Photo Shop is certainly is worth checking out the next time you are in Harajuku. Who knows? You might find yourself walking out the door with a stack or prints or a new Instax camera.
Official Site & map (Japanese only): Fujfilm Photo Wonder Shop
Open daily 11am - 8pm
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