Blogging Assignment #4- Comeback of Disposable Cameras

Although the invention of disposable cameras is said to be first produced in 1949 by PhotoPac, it was not widely used until Fujifilm’s addition in 1986. The 1900s trend of photography has now resurfaced amongst teenagers as a use to receive a photo with a nostalgic quality that depicts the feeling of their experiences with candid happiness. In the Los Angeles Times, Justine Riddle, an eighteen year-oldĀ  high school graduate stated “…you capture the imperfect in a seemingly perfect way with just one shot. I use my disposable when I want to capture my friends in their most candid, spontaneous moments.” In addition to the rising consumerism from teenagers, Alex Yi, a film processor owner of 35m Pro Photo Lab in Sherman Oaks, stated “In 2017, 35m processed photos from 15 to 20 disposable cameras per week. It now does as many as 200 per week.” It has to be noted that the use of disposable cameras to have over 200 orders a week, must be a cultural uprising trend versus just a generation-Z based study of interest. Following the comeback of the disposable camera, LA Times report there are now apps like Photo-editing apps like “Huji Cam that make iPhone pictures look like they were taken with a disposable camera, complete with an orange time stamp.” Given this older aesthetic of a stamp upon the photo imprint, it seems the quality of the photograph is being judged less than the experience of the moment captured.

Adding to the resurgence of film photography, it seems as though this correlation coincides with the relevancy of keeping film processing around at least a little longer to provide a different quality that digital photography is missing. In the video produced by Mango Street, they list pros and cons of the use of going back to disposable camera, where the pros included, “you’re just worried about framing, lighting, and composition. Also, you don’t have to do any editing to the photos.” The cons that were listed included, “the field of view versus the actual crop frame is different when produced for the photograph. The cost of developing the film ranges from twenty to thirty dollars, in addition to the initial cost of the disposable camera.”

The last article I researched about the reemergence of disposable cameras, was how professionals are using it to document their life nowadays. Recently, six NFL players were given disposable cameras to document their day-to-day life going through football camp and preseason. In the article’s photo results from the cameras, you can see the clear benefits of reusing this method of technology. The subjects of the photos were timeless memories of activities that are enjoyed each year by different players amongst the team, as well as the engagement that was allowed to be photographed with fans watching their practices as they trained for the upcoming season. Following the captions of what the pictures depicts, there are insider comments from the players about what that moment means to them and the team such as the day they got pizza as a cheat day meal since, Justin read states, “We have a nutritionist so we have all of our food planned out every day of the week, and that just happened to be a cheat day.”

Given the broader topic of the story, multiple sources were used to support the theory of the reemergence. The quality of the craft of photography has not necessarily heightened or detracted from its current standpoint, but rather added a new perspective for those unfamiliar with the older technology of disposable cameras, and offered those familiar, a fresh way to compare how it could be beneficial or more worse than the technology they usually use on a daily basis. The writer’s view from Susan Spillman of the LA Times does give credible feedback from newer users of the medium, but she lacked to add statistical information from a more generalized population, whereas this seems more directed to LA residents themselves. The writers of Mango Street, also have more of an opinionated viewpoint on the subject from a personal experience using the camera, but still based their listed pros and cons to what all users experience when choosing disposable over digital cameras. The NFL article served a more documentary perspective on the resurgence, allowing the public to see how it could still be relevant in the modern day.

I think the authors missed the opportunity to ask if different disposable cameras had different benefits over one another, much like how digital cameras are constantly critiqued based on brand, lens, format, and capabilities. Getting into the technicals of disposable cameras, it could be compared to how the set results of them could be beneficial in some situations such as a consistent look and feel versus having full manual control of the scene.

Letter Grade for each article:

LA Times: B

Mango Street: C