There’s no better feeling than finishing a roll of film on a disposable camera and going in to get it developed.
Which seems odd, given that the quality is poorer than that of a mobile phone, it’s expensive, and sometimes it doesn’t even work – water logged film distorts photographic worlds into acid tripped, post apocalyptic wastelands.
(result of water damaged film)
This of course, is part of the appeal. Everything looks different through the glare and squint of £6 lense. The grain, the grit, the nostalgic look the picture takes on is reminiscent of a different era. The element that is the strangest of all is that it offers us a nostalgia blast to a time we never experienced. It allows us to swap in our phone cameras for film cameras, DSLR’s for disposables and polaroids. While all of these are in every way technically superior, they don’t have the magic – the instant, invisible magic spooled in film, which catches fleeting silver moments. No re-takes. Just the honest moment. Portrayed in the photo exactly as it was unfolding in life.
The memory is preserved containing all the elements that would normally be wiped out in a retake: the half-closed drunk eyes, the cowlick in the hair, big cheesy grins… everyone in their quintessence shining through the picture.
The best thing about it is the unpredictability. Sometimes, the clicker wheel is stubbornly refusing to turn despite there being 8 more shots to take. Or the flash falters or the film runs out. Or you get your photos developed and find some neanderthal had their thumb over the lens. While all nuisances, it only serves to make the memories that are captured all the more special.
Or maybe it doesn’t. That’s just the way I see it, and to line my walls with memories – the posed, the pretty and the utterly candid – friends with a beer half way to their lips or that time we found a lizard. And that makes every fault worth it.
(that time we found a lizard)