Inside NYC's slowly-vanishing repair shops

For Popular Science, the photographer and journalist Stan Horaczek took a deep dive into NYC's repair shops — places that repair cameras, musical gear, lighting fixtures and even jeans.

Horaczek does a short writeup describing each shop he visits, including this description of the camera-repair shop depicted above:

Husks of vintage film cameras and lenses litter this workbench at Camera Doctor. Owner and technician Frank Rubio has scavenged many of their components for repairs because manufacturers have either disappeared or no longer make replacement parts. When a piece like an odd-size film spool is so scarce that even the secondary market is out of stock, Rubio might hire a specialist to build one out of carbon fiber. The Midtown NYC shop fixes digital cameras, but an increasing share of its work is servicing classic shooters.

His photos are an amazing record of a repair scene that is slowly vanishing, as more and more modern devices are engineered for disposability, sometimes built literally to be antagonistic to repair. It's a loss not just for the environment (we generate tons of e-waste when we toss gadgets into the trash) and for the pocketbook (we buy new stuff instead of being able to fix what we own), but as Horaczek shows, it's a loss for culture. There's something magnificent about these repair shops, filled with decades of experience, byzantine domain-specific knowledge, and raw ingenuity.

(Thanks to Horaczek for permission to use his photo here!)