If you grew up in the 90s I can guarantee your parents have at least a few dozen-photo albums and drawers full of timelessly adorable baby pictures all taken on clunky, old fashion, single use disposable cameras. Pictures capturing the moments of your life when everything seemed to be good, easy, and perfect… If you don’t love drowning in nostalgia while going through the thousands of photographs, laughing and smiling looking back on the days that shaped you into the person you are today, I’m convinced you aren’t human.
Wherever I was taken as child, either of my parents ALWAYS seemed to have disposable camera on them. There are hundreds of random pictures of me performing various activities such as devouring a slice of pizza at chucky cheese, playing in a huge pile of leaves with my grandfather, and playing with my sister in the backyard of my childhood home...don’t even get me started on the horribly amazing pictures from Halloweens.
What I like best about all of these pictures is that there is always just one picture of each moment that captures the memory perfectly. Today, I have come to realize that too many people are trying to capture the right moment rather than living in the moment. Despite the amazing quality of the IPhone camera and the means to which we can share these memories (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.), fancy technology and the pressure to create our online identity is distracting us from living freely. Technology and social media are great tools; I am not by any means insinuating the progress humans have made in this field to be anything less than amazing. However, our priorities and what choose to believe to be most important has become questionable.
I love technology just as much as the next person. The ease to which I am able access information and communicate with people is something I do not take for granted. With that said however, I am actively aware of the impact using technology has on my life. Although it is helpful and fun, if used constantly it has the ability to devalue many life events. I find it distressing knowing there are people who watch concerts through their phone screens and have to remember to take their apple watch off before swimming. For this reason, I am always considering ways that I can remove the distractions I face from social media.
Since High School I have loved using disposable cameras to capture my most treasured memories. Yes, I almost always have my phone on me for emergency or the occasional time check however; I choose to not be actively updating myself on what people are doing on Facebook. Resorting back to these “ancient” memory catchers we call disposable single-use cameras, I am able to be present in the moment while still being able to treasure the moment with a quick click and flash.
As a veteran user of the ever-humble disposable camera, I can proudly say I have been put my trust into these unpredictable contraptions for many years now. Besides the fact they are incredibly low maintenance, take really cool overexposed photos, and are as sturdy as a middle school flip phone, there is no feeling like the excitement you get from opening your newly developed, never before see photographs.
I must say, the pleasure you receive from taking a snap of something and not being able to see it right away is bittersweet however; this process brings a refreshing sense of authenticity to the photo you can’t get in pictures from your camera roll. For pretty much every roll of film you’ll develop, there is a probability of there being a silly picture of an obscure piece of furniture or body limb, but that being said, there is a guarantee of there being many photos that perfectly capture the true essence of the moment.
Although the concept of using a disposable camera is considered trivial now a day because the ease to which you can post snapchat story or take a picture with our phones. However, using disposable cameras to capture a moment reintroduced the concept of ease and of simplicity. Not only does it bring a vivacious, unique quality to cherished moments but it also brings about a sense of nostalgia from the good old days. Each photo taken on a disposable embodies the spontaneity we continue to lack in our lives today. Being present in the moment is so important, especially now when times seem to move faster than ever. Before we know it, we will be 70 years old and wishing we didn’t spend those all those nights out trying to take the perfect picture rather than enjoying the perfect moments.