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Sunday March 29, 2020
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Photo Finish

Ivory Photo closes after ninety-five years.

by J. Adrian Wylie

From the February, 2020 issue

"When the parameter changes, we all start from zero," says Ivory Photo owner Michael Hough. In January, Hough and his stepdaughter and co-owner, Devin Buhro, announced "with a heavy heart" that the nearly century-old studio would close its doors at the end of the month.

With the advent of digital cameras and scanners, Hough explains, "photography has moved away from professional labs and services, and people can do for themselves most of what they used to need a pro to do." Buhro agrees. "With the awesome cameras that are now available, high school seniors can have their friends do their [graduation] photos for them."

That wasn't the case in 1925, when Mel Ivory started developing photos in the basement of his uncle's drugstore. Ivory Photographic Services became the official photographer for the Michigan Alumnus, Michiganensian, and what was then the Bureau of Alumni Relations. Using bulky box cameras and developing his own film, Ivory documented the buildings, businesses, and people of Washtenaw County. Many of his large-format negatives and prints are preserved at the Bentley Library.

Hough and Diane Argus bought the business from Ivory's daughter in 1981. Hough became sole owner in 1999 and moved it to its final location, above the Mail Shoppe on S. Division, in 2013.

Hough is also a musician with the group Mustard's Retreat. He's now retired from photography and living in Arizona. Buhro, on the other hand, may be moving forward by looking back--she is considering getting a degree in archeology.     (end of article)

[Originally published in February, 2020.]

 



 
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