Grammy-Winning Musician Helps Put Struggling LA Photo Lab Back on the Map, Posts Dreamy Portraits Taken by Owner

Grammy-Winning Musician Helps Put Struggling LA Photo Lab Back on the Map, Posts Dreamy Portraits Taken by Owner

A Grammy-winning country music star visiting LA has re-ignited interest in a struggling photo shop in Koreatown after stopping by to develop some film. She ended up doing a shoot with the owner against his custom-made backdrops, before plugging the shop to her hundreds of thousands of followers.

Kacey Musgraves was in town to play two sold-out nights at the Greek Theater when she and her sister came across Tom’s One Hour Photo. The shop accepts cash only, and has no internet. They do, however, have plenty of handmade backdrops, which are used for retro photoshoots. The business has been struggling to survive in the digital era, which is somewhat ironic given that the lo-fi aesthetics of the images the owner shoots certainly cater to what many Instagrammers and photographers are aiming to achieve in their work (see also: the recent resurgence in shooting film).

Touched by Tom’s story, Musgraves posted a bunch of dreamy portraits he had taken of her against his custom backdrops, writing ““Let’s keep this charming business afloat!”. She even started an Instagram page for the business, which at the time of writing now boasts over 58,500 followers.

Tom’s son Nick is a big Musgraves fan, writing on Instagram:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for visiting and supporting us!!! Our family business has been slow since advancements in technology have put one hour photo and retro studio photography on a downward path. But thanks to you and photography aficionados, we are still alive!

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I don’t think my heart could be any more full. After randomly visiting Tom’s shop in LA with my sister and telling everyone about it, the response to his story has been so beautiful and overwhelming. Tom and his family are very happy and appreciative of all the new business that has come their way. Even through changing trends and times, his shop has lasted for 30 years. So, without us he was already doing something right. I’m just happy to see others happy and to see that humanity still loves to champion authentic people. And as unique as Tom and his shop are, there are soo many businesses just like his in all of your own neighborhoods. You walk past them every day without thinking twice about it. Find your own Tom. Go in and spend $5. Tell friends or leave a positive review on Yelp. That will bring them business for years to come. Challenge yourself to support them vs large corporations that may offer something similar or more “convenient.” The difference will be much more direct and meaningful. ♥️ Tom’s been everywhere lately!! It’s been hard to keep up!! The Insta account we made for him is going really strong and his family’s going to take it over soon: @tomsonehourphotolab We’ve LOVED seeing everyone’s portraits they’re going and taking there and all the press and photos of new crowds of people visiting his shop. Keep tagging and just being so rad in general #TomsOneHourPhoto (photos taken by @shutterhappyjose and @mrtimchan)

A post shared by K A C E Y M U S G R A V E S (@spaceykacey) on

Tom’s One Hour Photo is located at 4158 Beverly Blvd. in Koreatown, LA.

Lead image: Google Maps.

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2 Comments

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

I’m not familiar with Katey Musgraves’ work as a musician, but she just earned my respect. She taught a masterclass on how to use social media to do good.

That small act on her part may change the trajectory of that business for years to come. They’ll certainly have better holiday season sales this year than they would have had otherwise. For some businesses, holiday season is where they become profitable for the year.

It's nice but not necessarily long lived and I hope the owner sees it.

It'll last until another IG famous person finds another photolab with another sotry and people will sadly flcok to the next one that is more in vogue.

I hope this owner sees this as an opportunity to revamnp his model and cather now to film afficionado more than 1hour photos that used to be needed back in the days...