Located deep inside a commercial building at 1717 Broadway on the Bushwick-Bedstuy border, next to the Chauncey J/Z stop, is Photodom. All at once, it’s a processing lab, a creative studio space, and a retail store that’s jam-packed with cameras, accessories, and film-focused apparel. Basked in a neon glow, the well stocked shelves feature an assortment of film types. 35mm and medium format film cameras glisten in display cases and apparel hangs on racks. ‘SHOOT FILM, NOT PEOPLE’ is emblazoned on tote bags while hoodies read: ‘Introverted, but willing to discuss photography’.
“I want to focus on the art and people creating projects, people who are doing cool stuff in the community, and people who have upcoming shows,” Dominick Lewis, 28 and a Brooklyn native, told Bushwick Daily. He’s an artist, photographer, and the owner of Photodom.
“We’re building more of a community around art photography itself more than the gear that’s used,” he says.
Photodom hosts regular events, like their recent Black Women Photographers Meetup, as well as photowalks, workshops, classes in their studio space and book releases: on Saturday, the store hosts the release of a book of photography that Nat Meier is putting out called On Valencia, which showcases images from “the streets, hills, and alleys of San Francisco.” Recent classes there have included a large format photography workshop led by a photographer named Nick Collingwood and a lighting with models workshop taught by photographer Anthony Tripoli, while a cyanotype workshop is currently planned by two other photographers: Luis Santana and Laura Ciriaco.
“We’re giving artists a chance to teach and give back to the community in their own special way,” says P.V., who runs e-commerce for Photodom, in addition to his own photographic pursuits. “We want to be a place for people to feel comfortable. With a lot of camera stores you can’t really go in there and ask questions, because people seem like they’re annoyed.”
At Photodom, P.V. assured Bushwick Daily, “we’re more inclusive, and we’re not too busy to talk to people or teach them how to load a film camera.”
“After extensive research, I found that there are currently no Black-owned brick and mortar camera stores in Brooklyn and few (if any) in the United States,” Lewis wrote at the time to potential backers.
“It’s important that image makers have a connection to the place they purchase their equipment; a Black-owned space will allow BIPOC and other disfranchised groups to explore a field that has been primarily dominated by white males. It is abundantly clear that we must give Black image-makers and Brooklyn’s remaining Black neighborhoods the ability to control our own stories, instill knowledge, and educate the next generation of storytellers, historians, and artists.”
These days, the store does steady business both in-person and online and handles orders from as far away as Australia and Saudi Arabia. When the six-person staff of Photodom aren’t developing and scanning film or organizing events, they’re writing for the Photodom Blog, spearheaded by editor-in-chief Rodra Burruss.
“It’s really cool to continuously expand outward and grow Photodom in a way that I couldn’t even imagine,” Lewis added. “If you can build a community around something, that’s the easiest way to never fail.”
Photodom is located at 1717 Broadway, #310 and @photodom.nyc on Instagram.
All photos taken by Duncan Ballantine for Bushwick Daily.
For more news, sign up for Bushwick Daily’s newsletter.
Join the fight to save local journalism by becoming a paid subscriber.