This was the first photo I ever took with my current camera, taken minutes after buying it from Jessops in Torquay in 2009 after my existing camera died on me while on holiday.
Today came the news that Jessops is to close all stores, putting 1,370 people out of a job. Jessops had been ailing for some time, and there was always a gut feeling that it was only a matter of time before the chain went under. The suddeness of the end still came as something of a shock. Debate rages over whether their downfall was due to the rise of smartphones replacing “real” cameras, competition from Amazon, or simply poor customer service.
The Torquay branch where I bought the camera had already closed before today’s announcment. So had the Slough branch, over a year ago, where I made my last significant purchase from Jessops, a fast zoom lens.
I’m lucky that in Reading there are a couple of other camera shops including a branch of The London Camera Exchange. But there are many other towns and cities where Jessops was the only photographic specialist on the high street. What does this mean for photography?