Technology puts a smile on photo framers' faces
The digital camera has obviated the necessity of photo developers. User-friendly online digital albums play the role of designers. Technology has enabled the layman to do away with experts in the photo-processing industry. Photo framers are probably an exception. A visit to Devaraj Mudali Street — a hub for this trade for decades — shows these craftsmen are thriving.
“Advances in photo technology have actually helped widen our business. Digital cameras enable anyone to take pictures — more the photographers, greater the demand for photo framers. Digital albums may be getting popular, but they are no threat to us. The charm of a framed photo on a wall is irreplaceable,” says M. Kumar of Bhavani Enterprises.
The trade has changed with the times. It's no longer a hammer and nail job. Photo framers invest in technology. Pneumatic nail-guns, frame-cutting and underpinning machines contribute to better finish. With wood giving way to synthetic fibre, even the look and the feel of the frames have changed.
“In the past, when wooden frames were the norm, photo framing was a carpenter's job. Following the switch to fibre frames and the introduction of sophisticated tools, photo-framing has become easier and more attractive. Back then, frames were closed and replacing a framed photo with another required a return visit to the framer. Now, the end-user can himself change photos by removing the tape and opening the pins. After installing the new photo, he can fix the frame himself,” says Kamesh of Sri Balaji and Co.
The frames also come in panoply of designs and textures. Even within the four frames, these tradesmen strive to offer a fresh look. Through skillul use of mount boards, they create different types of borders to highlight the photos.
Says Kumar, “In the past, our trade was restricted to framing pictures of deities and photos of people. Not anymore. The dimensions of the trade have become considerably bigger and its appeal has likewise grown.” Eye-catching frames, new display techniques, better finish and easy replacement of pictures have opened up new frontiers for these photo-framers, including a demand for framed Nature pictures and works of art.