More or less right out of college in 2004, the first real job I held was at Newtonville Camera. I started there somewhere around the fall or early winter of that year, working at their Front Counter under the tutelage of some pretty awesome people. As a life-long customer of the store, I was thrilled to enter the work force employed somewhere that felt familiar…and for an opportunity to grow my passion for photography to boot! That said, I had no idea how much more would come from having this job.
All these years later, the time became ripe for reflection this past weekend as the family-owned business closed their doors at 249 Walnut Street to prepare for their move just a mile or so away into a great new space in the neighboring city of Waltham. Andrew and I decided to pay a visit to our old stomping grounds and take one last look around the store where we both spent so many years. Memories of the vibrant community of photography enthusiasts came flooding back – a home away from home that fortuitously also served as our introduction to each other more than a decade ago!
More valuable than the vast amount of knowledge I acquired from my colleagues and customers during my tenure at Newtonville Camera, are the personal connections to the wonderful people I discovered there. Walking around the store this past Saturday, I encountered old customers whose friendships from that time I still count as blessings today – like the photo teacher from Bedford High School, Larry, and the now well-established Boston events shooter, Michael Blanchard, whose career path from student to working professional I witnessed from behind the counter; treasures each and every one of them!
Although it’s hardly a time to be sad, as the Newtonville Camera service and community will continue in their new and improved location on River Street in Waltham, the nostalgia was great for me that day. Maybe it’s the surge of pregnancy hormones (as Andrew and I have been developing a little something of our own), but when I think of all of the things in my life that I treasure most, so many of them came through this store – my friendships, my marriage, my profession, my community. So to that camera shop on the corner of Walnut and Washington in Newton, my heart truly carries so much gratitude.
To read more about the store and its upcoming transition to Waltham, read this great article by fellow photographer and all-around amazing person, Rachael Cerrotti: https://www.rewire.org/work/newtonville-camera/ There will be soft reopening in Waltham in early March, followed by a grand reopening on April 2nd. Join them and be a part of this amazing community!