San Francisco

Concierge Photography Studio 'Neomodern' Opens On Union St.

Today, Neomodern opens up in the former Stuart Moore location at 1898 Union St. in Cow Hollow.

The concierge photography studio and art gallery allows customers to bring in digital photographs and walk out with high-quality, framed images—in less than an hour.

"We help you improve your picture and frame it," said owner Michael Rubin. "I have a staff of expert print masters who will print it archivally with museum-grade quality [paper] that is designed not to fade. Then we help you mount it." 

The studio will try to print from any image format customers provide, but staff will also manage expectations by being candid about the quality of the image that will result. On its website, Neomodern has a list of recommended smartphones, and images from most DSLRs will work. 

To keep things simple, the studio only offers frame sizes in 16x20 and 20x24. For smaller prints, printing, mounting and matting will cost $150; for larger ones, $200. Both options will come with custom image optimization. Framing, which is not included, will range from $45 to $200, depending on the options chosen. 

Photo: Shirin Jones/Hoodline

The idea for the shop came from Rubin's own experiences as a self-proclaimed "really good amateur photographer." Although his career has ranged from making movies in Hollywood to working for tech companies like Netflix and Adobe, he always considered himself a photographer at heart. 

"I have had a lucky and expansive career," he said, "but I have been taking pictures the whole time."

When Rubin's father passed away, it made him question what he was doing with his life. He decided to leave his job at Adobe and start selling his photographs. 

But once he was trying to make a living through photography sales, he realized that consumers always wanted to have their images mounted and framed, an expensive and time-consuming process. 

"I found selling photographs to be more and more irritating," he said, "and started wondering how I could do this more easily and economically."

Once he started thinking about how to make it simpler for customers, that idea became Neomodern. 

Photo: Neomodern

While much of Neomodern is dedicated to the printmaking experience, part of the shop is an art gallery, showcasing inspiring work from customers and established photographers like Ansel Adams and Cartier-Bresson.

The gallery was inspired by Rubin's childhood and his own memories of growing up surrounded by his parents' collection of noteworthy photography. Both of his parents were also photographers, and they in turn taught their son. 

Reflecting back on the role of photography within families, Rubin believes that "the biggest benefactors of Neomodern are family memory keepers." 

"You don't want 7000 pictures of your kid, you don't want a portrait studio," he said. "You want that one photo that captures your child and makes you rethink portraits, vacation photos, and anything you might take pictures of." 

Photo: Neomodern

Neomodern (1898 Union St.) will be open Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm-8pm, and closed on Mondays.

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