The Disposable Camera Effect

Maybe you’ve heard us spiel on and on about how much we love disposable cameras. If not, here we go again. Let’s face it, if you’re around us long enough, chances are we’ll whip out an old-fashioned, wind-up, 27-shot disposable camera. Yes, from the 90s – except they still make them today, although a lot more expensive and a lot more inconvenient. Add in having to use a scanner or taking a photo of a photo to get those developed prints online and you’re left with an even more difficult situation.
Leaving you sitting there like, “Why would I use something so outdated when you can now take 4,000 selfies with your iPhone?” Well, that’s exactly why.
Most disposable cameras come with 27 pictures, and only 27 pictures, which means what you capture really matters. You take time to plan each shot. You think about if this moment is something that you want to remember in a photo. You’re forced to reflect on the moment. Or maybe it’s the exact opposite. Maybe it’s a quick candid shot, that doesn’t take much thought, and that’s it. That’s the shot. What you take is what you get. That was the moment, and that’s how it should be – according to disposable cameras. Of course you’re at the mercy of the photographer, but that’s part of the fun.
What a disposable camera isn’t: this isn’t taking multiple group shots because one person “wasn’t ready.” This isn’t putting the picture through multiple filters so it finally looks good. This isn’t redoing the shot because it wasn’t in focus, or in frame. This isn’t clogging your iCloud with meaningless photos of things that don’t mean much to you.
We use disposable cameras to capture friends and family in their most natural environment instead of staged smiling shots or re-dos.
When I look through all of these pictures, I literally remember where we were, what we were doing, and why I wanted it to be a picture on my disposable. Ask me the same thing about the pictures on my iPhone, and psh, yeah right. Let me try scrolling through the thousands of random photos in my iCloud, that I still don’t know how to configure.
Now that it seems like Polaroids are coming back in style, it’s like everyone who has a Polaroid or disposable has some sort of story about how it fell into their hands. For me, it was through my friend Mike, who lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who got me hooked. I was at his apartment for the first time, walking out of his kitchen, when FLASH, he got me.
Oh my God, you still have one of those things” was my first reaction, much like everyone else that I “photograph” today. It was just before a party at his place and he took out his disposable to place around the house to capture random moments of silliness, laughter, and fun – without all the thought that goes into photography from the latest technology. The whole idea left me really intrigued.
The next day I bought my first disposable camera.

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