When I was in the 10th grade, I had a friend introduce me to my first disposable camera. It was a simple Kodak 24-shot camera that had flimsy paper branding on it, but I loved it instantly. I took it around with me everywhere that weekend, taking photos of my friends being weird, the beach and my dog. I loved how I couldn’t actually see how the film would turn out until I developed it so I was surprised by every single photo that I got back. The photos would be different to how I imagined them, but that was even better because of how spontaneous and new they were.
It was small moments that I wanted captured. Not big events, but just chilling with my friends in our rooms, eating, talking, and laughing. The way the beach looks early in the morning when the sun is just starting to rise.
A disposable is the simplest camera you will ever use; all it has is a wheel to wind on, a shutter button, a hole to look through and, if you’re lucky, a flash. It doesn’t matter if it gets scratched or thrown around because it’s the kind of camera made for ordinary people. You don’t need to focus a light meter or worry you inserted your film wrong, because that’s all done for you. All you need to focus on is the people around you.
A disposable camera is made for capturing moments with your pals whilst staying in the moment. You’re not looking at a screen, trying to see if your hair looks too messy or if maybe your friend should tilt their head a bit more. It’s raw, real and authentic.
Of course disposable cameras use film, which give your photos those bright primary colours and the cool film grain you’re seeing all over Insta. It’s a popular aesthetic for a reason. Using the flash on a disposable is even better because you can capture parties and night life effortlessly, with everything lit up and focused on. I challenge you to take a disposable camera out to a party and not fall in love with the photos you produce.
I use a disposable camera for the same reason I take any photos. When I’m 50 and telling my kids about these crazy friends I had in high school I can flip through to the picture of all of us getting ready for a party or just lying like zombies in one tiny room. When I’m heading to uni in a different state or country I can paste all those un-filtered real moments into a book and give to all the people who shaped my high school years. I can stick up on my wall the time that we snuck out of our house and were so scared of getting caught that we came back home after five minutes. The first boyfriend, first best friend, first formal, first party. I want it all captured in the most real way I can think of and that’s a disposable camera.
If you’ve got some disposable camera photos, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature them on site- we’ll link to your Insta or your blog (if you have one) and you might cop a few extra followers 🤙🤙🤙