The Disposable Camera Comeback

A group of teenage girls are sitting around a table at Newton Food Center. They’re eating bowls of chicken fried rice, talking amongst themselves and laughing. Suddenly one of the girls stands up excitedly and gushes, “guys wait, I haaAve to take a picture.” This teenager reaches into her purse, and instead of pulling out her iPhone, which has a 12-megapixel rear camera, with auto-HDR, and 5X digital zoom, she pulls out a Kodak disposable camera.

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Popular disposable cameras

The first disposable camera was invented by Fujifilm in 1986, but the rise of digital photography made film look archaic. Digital photography guarantees instantaneous and near flawless images, whereas with disposables, the quality is often poor and the images can only be viewed after they are developed. However, by turning on flash, using bright lighting, and taking pictures of vibrant subjects, you are able to get interesting and unique candid photos.

The retro 90’s aesthetic is very sought after in our generation. Apps like “Huji Cam” attempt to recreate the disposable camera experience, using various filters and lighting effects and a realistic tiny viewfinder. The app “David’s Disposables,” created by famous Youtube creator David Dobrik, surpassed one million downloads in less than a month after its launch. This app attempts to replicate the entire experience, and it has a unique feature that only allows you see the photos you take at 9am the next day.

David’s Disposables
Source: Business Insider

“Instant gratification” is the buzzword associated with our generation, yet we use these old fashioned cameras? To understand why, I talked to two students at SAS who use disposables regularly. SAS senior Tina Gupta says, “my grandma has one and I thought it looked cool. I bought my own disposable at first and then I got my actual film camera. I love it a lot because I get physical pictures that are more candid than ones you plan and take with friends. I think film pictures are raw and capture the moment, unlike photos on a phone which can be edited and instructed to look a certain way.” Senior Saskia Vuijik says, “I like the way the pictures turn out, with colours and lighting different from normal pictures. It gives it a more retro look, which is a nice aesthetic. I have one to get these types of pictures and to capture certain moments in a more special way.”

“I think film pictures are raw and capture the moment, unlike photos on a phone which can be edited and instructed to look a certain way”.

Tina Gupta
Example of photo taken on disposable camera

“It gives it a more retro look, which is a nice aesthetic.”

Saskia vuijik

Whether it be vinyl records or vintage clothes, or even calligraphy, essentially young people like old things. There is so much uniformity our digital society, “There’s a loss of quality and individuality that comes with what the digital age is trying to promote.” (Pritchett, StudyBreaks) When you point your Iphone camera and shoot you know exactly how the picture is going to turn out, (unless your thumb covers the lens accidentally). Maybe there’s some joy to be found in not knowing. Perhaps in modern homogenous societies we feel the need to use old fashioned things as an escape from the monotony of our machine filled lives.

“There’s a loss of quality and individuality that comes with what the digital age is trying to promote.”

Pritchett, StudyBreaks

The next time you go adventuring with your friends, tuck your phone away for the day and take pictures with a disposable camera. A few months later, never-seen-before happy moments will handed to you in a paper envelope, and then you’ll realise that the wait is what makes it worth it.

Author: Tia Remedios

Tia Remedios is a senior at Singapore American School and this is her first year working with The Eye. She was born in Melbourne and raised in Mumbai, but she considers Singapore her home. She spends her time reading, painting portraits, and listening to rap music. You can contact her at remedios45830@sas.edu.sg

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