IT’S the end of an era for the photographic shop in Ross-on-Wye is to close after 35 years as the owner retires.

Eric Scarff started his photographic business in 1984 when he opened a mini lab in Gloucester, which was quickly followed by a branch in Stroud in 1987 and the Kodak Express in Ross two years later.

Eric explained this was in the era of one-hour processing of films and printing the negatives and he’s seen a lot of changes in the photo industry since and has embraced it all.

Eric started his career as a 16-year-old photographer on the east coast of England, working in the holiday trade industry operating in the area before joining the cruise ships and travelling the World.

Eric added: “While this was good fun, I felt that I needed a more secure career. I initially trained as film processing mechanic before setting up my own photograph shop.

“Over the years I invested in new equipment as technology changed and evolved from film to the digital medium.

“It was the price of cameras that made digital affordable during the early part of the 21st century, that spearheaded the change from the traditional format with images taken on mobile phones now becoming more prominent.

“The change from film to digital was a gradual process. But now it seems the younger generation has an appreciation for the old film format, which is currently seeing a resurgence because of its tangibility.”

Eric explained that he first opened a shop in Gloucester Road in 1989 and 16 years ago he moved to the vacant shop next door after he had purchased and renovated the building.

“However, at the age of 74, it’s time to retire. I’ve already accepted an offer on the building, and I expect to stop trading by the end of the month. We are currently selling the remaining stock at a discount.”

Eric has been supported in the shop by Beverley Dutson, who has been with the company for 34 years and Stephen Cartwright who has worked there 12 years whilst he travelled between all the shops.

Eric said he was sad to be closing the business and added: “I’d like to thank all those who have supported us over the decades. We’ve received numerous goodwill messages since we announced that we are closing.

“I am pleased that people are beginning to realise the benefits of having their treasured photographs printed as a hard copy can be kept in a safe place, which is not possible with the digital format unless you keep up with the changes of technology,” Eric observed.

“I have already witnessed people having issues of trying to extract photographs from early digital devices because nobody has the machinery to read these old formats.”

Eric said that in retirement, photography will become his main leisure interest.