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Making prints and making them just right

Vaughan Grisby is a veteran when it comes to the photographic business. He has been working at his trade in Whitianga for sixteen years. Over this time, he has been printing a wide variety of black and white photos, colour photos, historic photos, art photos, maps and huge prints. He does this at Stephensons Pharmacy, 64 Albert Street, Whitianga.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

Vaughan Grisby at Stephenson Unichem Chemist doing his work at the front counter.

Getting started

For many years, printing photos was his trade. However, choosing Whitianga as the place to live and work was easy for Vaughan. As with several other trades and businesspeople in Whitianga, it was holiday experiences that prompted Vaughan to make this decision.

When a business opportunity in his line of work presented itself, Vaughn decided this would be the place to work as well as holiday. He saw the photo-processing business in Stephen’s Pharmacy and asked himself, “Why not!” The rest is history.

Vaughan had been involved with photography for years. Previous to coming to Whitianga, Vaughn was subcontracted by the New Zealand Police. The photos he worked with there were not idyllic scenes or happy birthday parties. They were to do with the core business of the  New Zealand police.

It was challenging work but not so much art as utility.

Technology and AI. In the past 50 years, and indeed this 21st century, photography has altered and evolved beyond recognition. To remind us of how things have changed, Vaughan has a collection of old cameras on display. I can remember when some of these were my pride and joy – my most valued possessions. Now they are novelties of no real use in today’s world.

The photographic business in Stephensons Pharmacy is a Fuji franchise. The printing is now digital (computer driven). From the dots and dashes input to the finished photos, the process happens in the bowels of machines – large machines.

As with so many other processes in the digital world, it is wonderfully mysterious and hidden from sight. For the client, the main thing is that it works to produce prints that delight his customers – couples, families, ball gown wearers, and even art critics.

When it comes to damaged photos and historic photos, the results seem a little short of magical. Damaged prints, creased and torn, can be reproduced as new. Old black and white wedding photos can now appear in natural colour – dazzling!

At the absolute high end of Vaughan’s printing production is his work with art. Original paintings can be reproduced with true colours and amazing detail. And as for size, anything from post card size to the dimensions of a door. Not possible, even a few years ago, from a machine in your local chemist. In a town and district that nurtures the visual arts, Vaughan’s skill, experience and his facility with colours, is a wonderful asset.