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“I wished so badly that I could just take the picture”

November 23, 2008 by admin

I pulled out my digital camera, turned it on, and started fiddling with f-stops and zooming out to get just the right picture. At that moment I wished so badly that I could just take the picture without having to worry about any of these things. Just try to take the picture. Not have to worry about any of these things. Not able to worry about these things because they would be beyond my control.

I stumbled across the Single Use/Disposable Camera Project at Flickr from Dуℓап tonight.

Digital photography has, without discussion, revolutionised photography – and most importantly has made it massively accessible, enabling anyone to take and share images with the world at very low cost. Removing the effort and care needed when taking an image with film, or rather the high potential for error, has effects on both side of the coin though. Has being able to take hundreds of photos without thought devalued what a photograph means? I’m not a particularly good photographer, but odds are if I take enough images, one will be good that I post online. I throw away far more images than I keep. This is one of the meanings of ‘disposable’. Would I end up with better images if I spent more time composing shots, thinking about getting it ‘right’, rather than rattling off a dozen frames?

I think having the ‘black box’ of a film camera, and even more so a camera which you’re not sure you’ll ever see again, and don’t have the duty of care over, contextualises the image in a very different space. The image means more – it’s part of a story, one chance to capture a moment without an option to undo or revert, but at the same time is it throw-away, you’re not paying for it, you don’t care about the end product so much – so in part the action of capturing the moment is more important than the actual image or composition itself. It’s a memory captured and then lost until the message in the bottle finds its next carer. I think its an interesting contradiction.

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