Dominick Lewis owns Photodom, a store that sells photography equipment, apparel and accessories. Photodom is located at 1717 Broadway, a stop away from Broadway Junction where the A, C, J and Z trains go. It’s a small black building that sports the simple business logo. Customers find the store by walking up to the third floor.
Lewis planned to open in April, but decided to maintain his online store due to the pandemic. While many businesses have lost profits during this tumultuous time, his store flourished.
“For me, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise,” Lewis said. “I know that others look at 2020 as their worst year, but this has been the best year of my life.”
At the height of the pandemic, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others affected how photographers captured protests against police brutality. As a Black photographer, Lewis weighed in how he worked during this time.
“With everyone that I photograph, I ask for their permission,” Lewis said. “I do not post photos that I know will incriminate people. I do it solely to document what’s not being shown in the media. Our voices need to be heard through our lenses.”
Lewis featured a Black Lives Matter collection of pins and baseball caps on Photodom’s website, where the proceeds will go toward a $1000 monthly grant for aspiring photographers who want to pursue their craft.
“I created the grant program to provide resources for photographers who don’t have the means to do their project, just like I was when I first started,” Lewis said.
For analog photographers, purchasing film and developing negatives is expensive, and he wanted to alleviate those costs. With the grant program, he found that people were willing to financially contribute and provide spaces for Black photographers to shoot.
On Sept. 12, Lewis opened his location in Bushwick and has not regretted it ever since. Since Photodom’s Instagram page has 26,000 followers and counting, it’s clear that he found a space for the neighborhood to come together.
On Oct. 25 he hosted a community clean-up, where volunteers collected trash from Bushwick to Williamsburg. This is just the start of how he hopes to impact the neighborhood. He plans on teaching photography 101 classes and eventually, an afterschool program for middle and high school students.
“I hope to inspire people more than anything,” Lewis said. “I created this store out of nothing, and I want to encourage others they can do it too.”