Over Christmas, in an attempt make the most of the short period of time between lectures and exams, I decided to restrict my social media usage. With Lent term exams looming and limited time to spend with friends and family, I half-heartedly embarked on an Instagram hiatus. Tired of wasting time retaking photos and staring at my phone experimenting with filters, but desperate to capture the best bits of the holiday, I bought a disposable camera.
The idea seemed romantic; there is only one chance to get the photograph right, the subject must be meaningful as there is a limited number of snaps and ultimately, the Kodak allowed me to capture moments before they turned into memories, whilst being more present and less preoccupied. Inspired by the photos taken by my edgy London friends on their disposables, and impressed by both the quality and the visual effect of the flash, I was sure that my photographs would turn out fine.
My friends and family back in Northern Ireland were taken aback by the retrogression. Whilst some friends enjoyed the novelty, others were suspicious and suspected technophobia as they took and subsequently retook photos on their smartphones. My aunts and uncles similarly questioned the reasoning behind my new gadget as I charged the flash on the little yellow wonder, I was confident that the pictures wouldn’t disappoint.
Getting the photos developed was surprisingly difficult; in the year and a half since I moved to London, the “1 Hour Photo” shop has closed. After calling multiple photography shops, chemists and printers, I learnt that most shops in Northern Ireland now send disposables to England to be developed, which can take up to three weeks. I decided that I would wait and take them to a photography shop in London myself.
When I received my snaps back, I immediately understood why the world has transitioned to digital photography. Living up to the clichés about disposable cameras, there were pictures with fingers over the lens, peoples heads cut off, eyes closed, mid-speech, the list continues. Albeit there are some little gems amongst the accidental photos and the ones without flash, my mini-rebellion against the technology of the 21st century only made me more grateful for innovation; my inner Luddite accepts defeat.