We don’t realize it while we’re in it, but we’re experiencing things that are slowly disappearing. Everything that is here today isn’t going to be here tomorrow. Like video stores. We used to peruse the aisles of these stores with their new releases, looking for that evening’s entertainment. Long before there was Netflix streaming and all the other smart TV apps–Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu–there were video stores. VHS movies started being rented in 1977 just after the release of the VCR.
We would walk to the local video store when I was a teenager, often with our girlfriends, to find something to watch that evening. See what were the new releases. Or find a new foreign or indie film release.
There was even a guy in Philly who used to make his own movies on Super 8 film and would rent out a small room and sell tickets, his own theater and it would sell out before his movies got put onto VHS tape. The title: Moron Movies.
But you can’t walk into one anymore. Well, you can, there is one Blockbuster Video left in Bend Oregon. That chain’s number of stores is down from its once 9094 locations across the country. But short of traveling there, we can only turn to our photos which keep our memories.
This is why we have to make those photographs today. Here is a series of three photos in 2013 inside a much-beloved store in Boulder Colorado, Video Station, at its final location before closing its doors in 2017 after 35 years in business. They were known for having a staff that had seen every movie, they were real cinephiles and the store stocked 43,000 titles. Looking for something particular or obscure? They’d direct you to it.
Photographs allow us to go back, relive earlier times. But in the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life comes at you pretty fast. If you blink, you could miss it.”
Make some today. In the grocery store. In your downtown. At the coffee shop. Little moments that seem basic enough and not terribly special. Like these video store photos. Once it’s gone, then the photos take on a bit more meaning.
Tomorrow, you’ll be glad you did.