Revitalizing disposable cameras


By Miriam Hammer

Alright, I admit that disposable cameras are a thing of the past. I can only assume that when our generation reflects upon the item, faded elementary school snapshots and old summer camp photo albums come to mind (awkward solo shots, anybody?). After all, with the massive SLR’s and the miniature point and shoot cameras that are available today, why waste time with such an archaic device?

I will tell you why. Disposable cameras are awesome. First of all, there is the look. Don’t get me wrong, I love high-quality, sharply pixilated pictures, but unless you have money to buy an expensive camera (which I certainly don’t), you don’t come across these professional-looking photos very often. And to be honest, I am not fond of the look that regular digital cameras produce. They are bland and one dimensional. No matter what you do, there is always a little bit of red eye.

Disposable camera pictures have so much character to them. They carry a vintage, worn appearance that evokes a certain sophistication in the subject, no matter how non-classy the pictures are. Disposable cameras have an absolute air of naturalness to them. They are almost always candid. Even when you tell your subjects to get together and smile, the shutter speed (wait, there is no shutter on disposable cameras? Oh well) is so fast that the pictures come out fabulously non-posed.

And, an even bigger plus is that with disposable cameras you don’t have that annoying person asking to see the picture after you take it.

Sorry ladies and gents, there is no playback mode with disposable cameras. In a world of instant gratification, I find this aspect of the disposable camera incredibly refreshing. What you take (literally) is what you get.

Not to mention, the thrill one receives when picking up the printed pictures from the photo kiosk! You have no idea what you’re about to unveil! It’s true that half the time the pictures are a lot uglier than you expected—and I will acknowledge the occasional finger-over-lens and forgot-the-flash mishaps that ruin a disposable picture—but, in spite of these setbacks, the pictures always come out great.

Lastly, I must point out the simple convenience of the disposable camera. They are perfect for people who are prone to lose and/or break things (now you know why I was re-introduced to the art of the disposable camera in the first place).

Of course, you are not going to bring your $900 SLR to a frat party, but can you bring your $9 disposable camera? Sure! And if you lose it, the sadness of lost memories does not sting nearly as badly as the torment of lost property.


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