Food photographer Nick Styles saw the rise of the Instagram influencer coming to change the photography scene.
Not liking the direction the scene was heading, Styles wound back the analogue clock and began work on his own film processing business.
He, somewhat unconventionally, coupled it with a food business and opened Ghosty Toasty just before Christmas.
Since then he has been inundated with people taking an interest in film photography and processing as well as families asking him to process years-old rolls of film that have been gathering dust.
"They were two ideas," he said. "I was shooting film already but at that time of my life was trying to think about what I wanted to do."
It was seeing a trades at work that Nick discovered how he wanted to feel about his work.
"A guy in town was building a bed for us and I was watching him work on it," Nick said. "The dude was in his 80s, a Croatian man, and as he was sanding, he was kind of smiling. And I thought 'I want that'.
"I can't make furniture but the first thing I thought was that maybe getting into a (photography) dark room was a similar sort of thing."
Nick searched for a dark room in Bendigo but when he found nothing, his idea to start his own business developed.
"Apart form the school there is no dark rooms, so that's where the idea came from," he said. "But if I was going to do it I wanted to do it so other people could access it.
"I knew I couldn't just get a good space and do it on its own. It needed something to complement it."
Sitting around with his friends and wishing there was a good toasty joint in the city sparked the Ghosty Toasty idea.
"I thought 'someone's gotta pull the trigger on that'. So I did," he said. "They work well together. People can chill out and talk. You don't have to be into photography.
"I think the future is a lot of micro-businesses within businesses. (The setup) is a bit random. Some people pop their head in and say it's weird but others love it."
For Nick the response over six months has been great.
He found a burgeoning film photography scene and people are happy to come and sit for a time, not rushing to get a sandwich and head straight out the door.
"It's set up to be conversational," he said. "The regulars are in to what we're doing beyond the toasties. We're trying to create a space that's a bit slower.
"We're not doing Uber Eats, we're not doing quick food. That's where it ties with the film. It's about community and connection. We're not like a drive through."
Nick arrived in Bendigo eight years ago in an effort to clean up his life.
"I ended up here when I was 30 on drug rehab after making a bit of a mess of things in Melbourne," he said. "I was only coming here to clean things up. So I cleaned things up, met my wife, fell in love with Bendigo and built a life here.
"Some of my friends say 'why Bendigo, when there's so much opportunity in Melbourne?' but I feel the opposite. Bendigo is a place that is ripe with opportunity.
"I couldn't open this store in Melbourne where (the market) is saturated. Here you can try more new stuff and bring something fresh (to the city)."
Since opening, Nick has been busy in the dark room, on average processing between 10 and 15 rolls of film a day.
"From the minute I opened, I couldn't believe how much processing I (was doing). I thought I would have to build more of a film scene but it was already here," he said.
"A lot of teenagers are using film and the weird thing about it that blew my mind was when someone said 'it's new for them'.
"So it's not nostalgia, it's a new format (for teenagers) and they love it."
The other side of the clientele is older people who have rolls of films from years ago.
"There are mixed results with those but I have had some cool experiences," he said. "Someone came in saying they thought there was a portrait of their mum, who had died, on this roll.
"I said 'I can't promise it will work when it's been there for 25 years'.
"So I look at it and the whole roll is fogged and I think 'dammit'. But there's one frame you can process and it's the shot they wanted.
With film you do have to think about it a bit more, there's an inherent risk in the artform... That's what life is like, if you want to progress or do something you have to take that risk. You don't get that many shots.Nick Styles
"That sort of stuff is why I am doing this."
Styles said the return in popularity of film photography has been growing for years.
"There's a fad element to it but we are four years deep into a resurgence of film," he said. "People relate it to vinyl, but it's not quite that. For film to stay alive, factories need to keep producing emulsion, which requires distribution and people buying film.
"Vinyl doesn't expire. Film is kept in a fridge because it expires. If those companies like Kodak and Fuji stop doing what they do, the whole thing falls apart."
Styles has been battling with using, preserving, repairing and finding parts for technology that is decades old.
"It's a risky industry to be pinning a business on," he said. "My processors are from the '80s, my scanner runs on Windows XP. If something goes wrong with them I can't just go and get a part.
"One gear went on a processor recently and it was out of action for a week while I looked for a small plastic part. It was to the point where I might have had to get it 3D printed."
When it comes to love and passion for an analog trade in a digital world, Styles said it was almost a metaphor for life.
"I had this really articulate kid who was about 17 say something I really liked which was 'film is more like what life is because you don't get that many shots at things'," Styles said.
"A digital camera you can rapid fire and hope you get the shot. With film you do have to think about it a bit more, there's an inherent risk in the artform.
"But there's magic too because you take that risk. You might not get the shot you wanted but something else might appear. That's what life is like, if you want to progress or do something you have to take that risk. You don't get that many shots.
"This thing (Ghosty Toasty) could bomb. (But) I still wouldn't change anything because that is the magic of life."
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