reverie v. reality

fujifilm quicksnap, I love you

So, my friends and I sometimes go on little adventures - this might be a day trip to go find a cool antique store, or an afternoon of hiking, or an evening where we get dressed up and go grab dinner. And one of my personal favorite things that we do during these hang-outs is that one of us will often bring along a disposable camera. (Who exactly ends up bringing it really depends on the day. Sometimes, we won't make it through the entire count of exposures and so whoever took a photo last will take it home with them and then bring it along on our next trip.1)

Once we've filled up one or two, we'll take them by a shop to develop them. Sometimes, it might be a few months - and several adventures - before we get around to developing the photos! I think this is really, really fun; partly because I typically forget about half of what we decided to take photos of and partly because what I do remember is usually what I took for the group. I get to be pleasantly surprised by the things that my friends decided to capture in the moment, because while we usually end up in the photos, sometimes one of us will decide to snag a snap of a mural or an oddly-shaped rock or some other unexpected joy. (You never know what will grab someone else's attention.) Or, someone will sneak a perfect candid photo, which is also a wonderful treat.

Often, I feel like we get some of my very favorite photos from the film camera - even moreso than ones that we posed so nicely for on our phones - and I keep several of them pinned up on my corkboard at work to look at when I feel particularly glum. There's also something so...delightfully entertaining about the inability to retake a picture twenty times. We just have to hope we didn't blink or sneeze! And I really love when we turn the camera around to attempt a group shot, but we end up off-frame and everyone is just a liiiiiiittle cut out of the image. It makes me laugh so much!!!

When I think about it, I guess I feel a lot of pressure to make sure I look good in photos. When we're taking them on our phones, I'm much less forgiving of the little things (and I hear it reflected in my friends, as well, though I know we're all our own worst critics, because I always think they look wonderful) and we typically take multiples of the same shot, with just one ending up as the "best" option. But in the pictures we get back from the film cameras, we usually only get the one take before we keep going, and I almost always love what we did get - I'm not nitpicking every blemish or out-of-place hair or half-talking grin. It just makes me feel a bit less like a bug under a microscope, I suppose. I'm a little kinder to my film-photo self.

I've been considering investing in a camera that I can replace the film in. Do I understand how to do this? No, absolutely not. But there's a Youtube video for everything! (And sometimes I feel guilty about using disposable cameras - though from what I understand, Fujifilm is pretty good about recycling their cameras after you drop it off to have the film developed?) The ease of acquirement and use with a disposable film camera is unmatched, but grabbing a ~$14 dollar camera with only 27 or so photos (plus price of developing) does add up, which is why I’ve been researching a couple of previously used point-and-shoots - there’s a Kodak M35 on a massive sale that I’m trying to make a decision about…

My younger brother is actually really knowledgeable when it comes to cameras (frankly, he knows a lot of highly specific and interesting stuff), so I called him up to ask about if he thought it might be a good idea to just buy a reusable one.2 He suggested a different film camera which I was immediately terrified of, because when I looked it up, it seemed waaaaaaaay more complicated and also delicate - I think I would break, like, a tiny internal mechanism in it right out of the gate?! Maybe I’m overthinking this…but I'm just looking for something sturdy, so I don't have to worry too much about it if we’re on a more rigorous excursion. (Also…I get kind of antsy when I have something Nice that I might Mess Up.3)

I like a physical manifestation of a memory, and I like that disposable cameras allow you to capture that in a way that doesn't take too much time away from the actual enjoyment of the moment itself. (I feel like this sounds jaded, but I don't really mean it that way. To be honest, I often forget to take photos at all, so maybe I shouldn’t have such big opinions about this - but when I do, I find a quicksnap is my favorite method.) I don't share a lot of my personal photos online or on social media much these days, anyway, so I think the fact that I can take my pictures and tuck them into a photo album or keepsake box to look back on later just adds to my fondness for it. (And you can write little notes on the back of them to add context or a sweet surprise!) ...I don't know. I just love it.

The older I get, the more heartfelt adoration I have for the simpler things, I guess.4 Or maybe that's just the nostalgia talking...

Good luck out there,

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  1. Unless we forget...which happens pretty often, haha, but this is just for fun, so we don't stress too much about it.

  2. Really, I wanted to know if I was about to be completely out of my depth in terms of camera-capabilities.

  3. Ah, let's be real - I get antsy about a lot of things.

  4. Though, to be fair - in actuality, having to take the camera to develop the film isn't reaaaaally 'simpler' than just taking a photo on your phone, but I think you get what I mean.

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