Expatica news

Belgium’s snappers fear digital demise

30 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Professional photographers in Belgium have expressed concern that the boom in digital cameras could put them out of business.

As digital models become cheaper and produce even better quality pictures, some traditional photographers have even decided to shut up shop.

“The number of camera films being developed has dropped by 35 percent,” said the president of the national association of professional photographers told the Friday edition of La Derniere Heure newspaper.

“Supermarkets have already made things harder but now it is becoming impossible,” he said.

Other professionals have been less alarmist.

“The big players will always be successful because of their cheaper prices but craftsmen like me will survive because of our service,” said Carlos Martinez, owner of Rush on the boulevard Adolphe Max in Brussels.

“Every photo I develop, whether digitally assisted or from traditional film, is seen and corrected,” he said.

However, Rush has little by little lost its professional customers.

Professional photographers used to account for 50 percent of the firm’s business.

Now the figure is just ten percent.

The general public has remained faithful to the small business.

“At the moment 80 percent of my activity is devoted to classical film, which still has a good future ahead of it,” said Martinez.

A further sign of the growth of digital photography can be found at chain store Media Markt, which has seen a 30 percent rise in sales since last year.

“We can expect to see a ten to twenty percent growth in sales over the next three years,” said Guy Maes, the store’s product manager.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian News