Why We Love Toy Cameras

Why We Love Toy Cameras

A look inside photographers' perspectives on art

A friend and I were walking around a Michael's crafts store recently when I came across the Instax cameras. When I expressed my excitement about possibly owning such a camera, I was met with a question from her.

"Why would you want a toy camera, when you could buy a real Polaroid."

This question was posed because I work in a darkroom with a lot of old, expensive, and legitimate artistic equipment. Why would I have an interest in a toy camera?

The thing about toy cameras is that they are not the same as a professional painter using Crayola paints and crayons. It's also not the same a ceramicist who creates functional meal-ware using Model Magic.

Materials like that affect the quality of the commodity in a physical way. Crayola paints will be thinner and therefore lack the texture and brilliance of oil paints. Model magic, as far as I know, is not dishwasher safe and lacks the sturdy weight of fired clay.

Toy cameras like the Instax one I saw, as well as pinhole cameras and the Holga cameras we keep in our darkroom, only affect the image itself. We still print those images on nice glossy RC paper or, my preference, matte fiber. So the toy cameras are really about playing with the image. Just like how some painters choose to do very realistic translations of the world around them and others choose to just paint a black square on a canvas.

These cameras add a element of surprise. They expose photography for the lie it really is. The phrase "pictures or it didn't happen" isn't really completely accurate. Photography is certainly more analytic and painting is more synthetic, for photography is informed by light and science, and painting is informed by the explorations of the human mind's perception of the world. However, photography isn't as honest as we thought. Photographs, like paintings, still have borders. This means that there is still information being withheld from the viewers. Also, photographers have been developing new techniques for altering photos for as long as photography has been developing. Dodging, burning, split filters, multiple exposures—they're all synthetic.

These cameras are the photographer's exploration of image and human perception just like any other artist's exploration of their medium. The entire modernism movement is a perfect example. Picasso, Kandinsky, Duchamp, all of these artists did not use their professional media to create the perfect image, but instead tried to alter the viewer's perspective.

You would use a digital camera to capture and preserve precious family memories and your professional wedding photographer would use the fanciest camera in his or her artillery. So these alternative images are actually the perfect tool for an artist in exploration. From the pint-sized pinholes to the hazy Holgas to shaking it like a polaroid picture (which you actually shouldn't do by the way), these toy cameras and their less-than-perfect construction allow for a little bit of chance fit for the Dada manifesto (artistic movement) itself.

Cover Image Credit: Personal

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.

I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"


This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.


Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.


Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.



You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.


You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.


The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers


You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.


The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"


The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution


This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi


Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters


You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs


Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.



Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets


Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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