Photo: Disposable Cameras Are Making A Comeback
As incredible as it may seem, disposable cameras popular in the 1990s are making a comeback! We propose to decipher this trend against the current in the era of digital technology and sustainable development.
An unexpected comeback
I'm talking about a time that people under 20 years old can't know... the time when we bought a disposable camera to immortalize our vacation memories.
Since the 2000s, these cameras, like all film cameras, have been decreased by digital cameras.
For Generation Z who grew up with smartphones, this small, lightweight plastic body is a prehistoric object.
And yet, as of late 2021, disposable cameras are making a notable comeback among photographers and influencers.
It seems that nostalgia is catching on as sales of these cameras have increased by 15% to 20% in 2021.
The hashtag #disposablecamera (disposable camera in English) is gathering hundreds of videos on Tik Tok that are accumulating over 285 million views!
Photo equipment to tame
While the smartphone allows you to take countless photos, choose just one and embellish it with filters or photo editing apps, the disposable camera has all the constraints and limitations of film photography.
It may seem very surprising that disposable cameras are making a comeback, when we are now obsessed with the perfect photo and have become accustomed to editing and cropping our images before posting them on Instagram.
The disposable camera, with which the result is uncertain, is nevertheless seducing the younger generations, carried by the current craze for vintage and the 1990s.
Before taking the plunge, you may want to review how to use these devices and follow the advice of influencers who have initiated or followed this trend.
Photographer and influencer Tycia Diverchy, for example, gives tips on her Instagram account and YouTube channel for taming this gear from another age.
These tips include where you can get your film developed and tips to know to avoid getting photos that are too dark.
Also note that once your photos are developed, you will have to scan them (or have them scanned) to be able to post them on social networks! And yes, film is not so simple...
The search for the surprise effect
The return of disposable cameras is not only due to the vintage and authentic rendering of the photos obtained.
In fact, even though the trend is for grainy, light-streaked photos, it is possible to achieve these kinds of effects with digital filters.
What appeals mainly to the disposable enthusiasts is the randomness of the result and the surprise effect when discovering the images.
Having photos developed and picking up your prints is always a surprise (good or bad), especially if you can't remember exactly what you took the photo of.
Disposable enthusiasts are looking for that surprise effect but also greater spontaneity in the shots.
They mainly use these vintage cameras in very specific contexts, in the evening or on vacation to obtain less calculated and less 'polished' images than photos taken with a smartphone.
This outdated equipment is also carried by a revival of paper: more and more photographers have their photos printed instead of simply (re)saving them in digital versions on their screens.
The dark side of this fashion
If you too are tempted to buy a disposable camera for your next vacation, you should know that this trend does not have only good sides... Indeed, disposable cameras are neither economical nor ecological.
The disposable camera, which is entirely made of plastic, is thrown away after each use, which is in contradiction with the principles of sustainable development.
The device costs between 12 € and 20 € on average depending on the models and brands. To this must be added the price of developing the photos:
- between €12 and €15 depending on the store for scanning
- around 20 € to 25 € for a print on paper.
As this represents a certain budget, it is better to reserve this type of camera for a special occasion (party, vacation or wedding photos for example) and make an occasional use.
Young people like to use it at parties or on vacation to get original photos, without fear of damaging their camera, as would be the case with a more sophisticated film camera.