Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're from the USA then it's your lucky day! We're featuring our Texas-based stockist Sara Button of Marfa Film Shop in today's installment of Lomography Partners.
Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some of the incredible female-owned businesses that work with us, and we’re thrilled to feature Sara and Marfa Film Shop as one of the first in this series!
Can you introduce yourself to the Lomography community?
Hi! My name is Sara Button and I live and work in a tiny town in the far west part of Texas, called Marfa. I own a small film store, Marfa Film Shop, and have been shooting film for as long as I could hold a camera. I’ve been in Marfa for three years (shop has been open for a little over a year) and moved out here from East Texas at the end of 2019. I chose to move back home with my mother after my dad died in 2017, and together we are raising and homeschooling two of my nephews (who also love shooting film). Before moving back home, I lived in Denton (North Texas) through and after college, and I attribute a lot of my creativity and thinking to that town and community specifically.
What’s the story behind your store? How did it all start?
The idea for Marfa Film Shop came up during a margarita-fueled conversation where I was (naturally) complaining about the lack of film availability where I live and how it took so long to get film back after being processed. A friend said “you should just start your own shop,” and I ran with the thought.
I wanted to create a space where folks in my community or people traveling through could stop and stock up on film. I live in the most beautiful part of Texas—the Big Bend area— and lots of people come out here specifically to take photos. It’s been great connecting with the diverse photography community in the town I reside in and those who travel through.
Why do you choose to work with Lomography?
When I thought of vendors to reach out to in hopes of making business connections, Lomography was the first company I emailed. I’ve used Lomography film forever and was really excited that they wanted to work with me! My customer base also enjoys Lomography film and cameras, so more than my personal love for Lomo, I have to keep the people happy too.
Do you have a favorite Lomography product and why?
Huge Diana F+ fan over here. I’ve been shooting on various Dianas for the last decade. I love a solid, plastic camera that shoots medium-format film. It makes me feel whole—both luxurious (medium-format) and scrappy (camera). The Diana F+ has been a staple in my camera arsenal and I love her dearly. I’m really looking forward to shooting with the LomoApparat because I have a feeling that it will quickly become my new favorite.
Do you think there are any specific advantages or disadvantages to being a female business owner?
First of all, I don’t like the word female. I am a woman business owner. No one asks men what advantages or disadvantages they face being male business owners. That said, advantages would include being able to set an example for other women who want to do similar things. I enjoy being a mentor to other people who are interested in opening up their own businesses. Disadvantages include frequently not being taken seriously, feeling the need to over-explain most things and most importantly, constantly getting unwanted advice from men who believe they know more than me.
Do you have a favorite memory from running your business?
I haven’t been open for too long, but so far my favorite memory has been the collective excitement on people's faces when they come into the shop and realize there is real film available at the shop. I guess because I live in a town that is centered around minimalist art stuff, some folks think the shop mural on the outside of the building is a joke or are expecting something else. The excitement of people finding film in the desert will forever be my favorite memory of the shop.
Who inspires you?
My kids inspire me. They constantly have great ideas and good attitudes. They want to learn more about everything and that is inspiring to me. Younger people in general inspire me. I really enjoy watching the progress younger people make in their art. Witnessing the evolution of art is inspiring to me.
What excites and energizes you the most about your work?
Helping keep film photography alive. I love connecting with people who have been photographers for years and learning from them just as much as I love helping someone pick out their first film camera and assisting them in loading the film for the first time. Seeing people choose film and be excited about it is thrilling to me!
Do you have any plans or future projects you're working on for your business?
Always. Currently working on getting a community darkroom up and running. I have nearly everything I need, except some extra time. My goal is to have it working by the end of this spring. Ideally, it’ll be used commercially for my business and locally by the community. I want to offer darkroom classes and other education revolving around film processing, printing, and photo enlarging.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start their own creative business as you have done?
Do it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. People, especially in the photography community, can be really kind and helpful. If the opportunity arises, seize it.
Official Name: Marfa Film Shop
Address: 902 West San Antonio St, PO Box 878 Marfa, TX 79843
Services offered: camera, gear, and film sales, film developing and scanning, community darkroom, passport photos, instant film photo booth, and photo walks
Want to see your favorite store featured in our magazine? Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check them out!