Gregg Johns Approaches 35 Years in Business
Story and photo by Sidney Ulakovic
If you talk to any local photographer about how they got started, more often than not they’ll attribute some of their success to the expertise of Gregg Johns, owner of Imagetech. The shop is one of the last locally owned digital photography equipment supply stores. Johns has owned and operated Imagetech for 34 years, where he’s given the novice the confidence to get started, the professional a fresh perspective, and all sorts of invaluable advice to anyone who falls in between. For Johns, being a shutterbug seems to run in the family. Johns’s father, a professional photographer and cinematographer, became his mentor, and he worked in the field alongside his father for many years doing a variety of work from studio photography to commercial advertising. When Imagetech first opened, the business operated with a focus on photo production and lab services, but Johns quickly realized he would have to be flexible as photography transitioned from analog to digital. “That’s where I saw the opportunity to transform my own company,” Johns says. In the late 90s, Imagetech shifted towards retail equipment supply and custom photo services. “The word ‘image’ was kind of evolving,” Johns says of the cultural attitude and technological advancements at the time—hence the name Imagetech, which originated from the technical imaging movement. You’d think that digital photography equipment would be a tricky business to be in when most people now have a camera that fits in their pocket thanks to smartphones, but Johns says that’s not entirely the case. “It’s fun to be in a camera shop in this current day,” he says. Recently, Johns has seen a resurgence in demand for compact digital cameras, as customers are looking for higher quality photos than their phones are capable of capturing, with the bonus of them being comparably smaller investments to allow customers the opportunity to dip their toes in the world of photography. Today, Imagetech remains fully stocked with something for the novice to the professional photographer. “[There are] so many [memories] in the history of photography,” says Johns as he reflects on the incredible support of the community over his decades in the field. While his versatility in the face of advancing technology and shifting trends has kept the business viable, it’s his combination of expertise and approachability that keeps people coming back. Johns has become a pillar in the local photography community, including teaching a photography course in the cinematography program at Confederation College for almost a decade. His reputation precedes him, as he now watches a younger generation walk through the door looking for a hand getting started. Looking to get into photography or update your gear? Pay Johns a visit at 679 Memorial Avenue or browse online at imagetech.biz.