Behind the desk at Highland Camera, there’s a photograph showing a group of eight men in formal dress staring solemnly at the camera. Taken in the 1940s, the picture is worn, crumpled and stained. Two of the men’s faces are disfigured by large cracks.
Next to it is the same photograph, meticulously restored. The stains and cracks are gone, and the men’s faces are smooth and unblemished.
Photo restoration is one of the services being offered at the new store in St. Clements. Unlike today’s oft-photographed children, who have been well-documented since birth, baby boomers don’t have a lot of old photos. Photos from the 1970s in particular were very brittle and easily damaged, explained owner Nusrat Govindji. That’s where Highland Camera comes in. They can remove stains and fix cracks, even reconstruct missing faces using other photographs.
Along with the restoration service, Highland Camera offers passport and firearms license photos, custom framing, and enlargements. There is a studio for portraits, and they offer digital prints in minutes or next-day pickup.
Nusrat and her husband Nizar started Highland Camera on Highland Road in Kitchener in 1988. They had owned a Japan Camera in downtown Kitchener, and wanted to start their own business instead of being part of a franchise. Now they’re expanding to the Foodland plaza in St. Clements to serve the Wellesley area.
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“We felt there was nothing to serve the towns around here,” Nusrat said. “People have to drive somewhere to get stuff like passport photos.”
For photographers looking for a special touch, they offer prints on canvas, prints on glass and prints on metallic paper. They sell a selection of frames and do custom framing, for needlework and sports jerseys as well as photographs. They also do video transfer, from 8mm, VHS or slides to DVD.
Highland Camera was one of the first places to allow people to upload their photos online for developing. That service will be available at the new store as well, by visiting www.shutterbug.ca and specifying pickup in St. Clements.
The store sells camera accessories such as batteries, chargers and media cards, and they have a full range of cameras at the Kitchener location. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, Nusrat said, just ask.
Nizar has been a photographer for 30 years, in England and Toronto before they moved to Kitchener. The Govindjis also run Studio 370, which offers wedding photography, graduation and business portraits.
June Dippel, manager of the St. Clements store, is also interested in photography and specializes in landscapes and digital modification.
First-hand experience with photography means they take pride in the quality of their prints and test-print everything, Nusrat explained.
“Because we have photographers working with us, we always make sure we have the best quality,” she said. “We have always based our business on service and quality, and that’s the reason we have been able to succeed.”