the disposable memory project

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Space – the next frontier?

March 25, 2011 by admin


I’d imagine there are few people on the planet who haven’t thought about travelling into space at some point – I know as a kid, I was fascinated by space travel, and still now as an adult, viewing rocket launches online, reading about the planets and watching Prof. Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe still blows my mind. After the almost three years of running the project – we’ve reached a point where space is the logical next step. We’ve released cameras which have reached the South Pole, Everest, and travelled collectively hundreds of thousands of miles – so the next challenge for us has to be getting a camera in to space.

We took a step closer to that this year, with Camera 310, created by Steve B. in Piedmont CA, which travelled on to Kazakhstan to watch the launch of three cosmonauts to the International Space Station, and was then handed over to NASA Astronaut Robert L. Satcher (or @astro_bones to his twitter followers).

We’ve yet to hear back from @astro_bones – but needless to say, the possibility of one of our cameras hanging around with the talented scientists and engineers of NASA, whether it gets sent into orbit or not, is pretty exciting. Check out the Camera 310 page

Interviewed by the future of journalism.

March 24, 2011 by admin

headshot BY

We were delighted to be asked for an interview by Bryony Young recently, a student of Journalism at University College Falmouth. Bryony has kindly let us reproduce her article here for the blog.

One day Matthew Knight caught sight of a disposable camera whilst waiting for his dry cleaning, three years on, 65 countries and 300 cameras later, testifies that every picture tells a story.

During his wait, an idea came to Matthew, to leave the camera from the dry cleaning shop in the hands of the general public, in a hope they would pick it up and start taking photographs. The camera then would be shared around the general public and an email address was stuck to the camera to view the images online, once they had been developed.

Matthew encouraged his friends to find the camera and before he knew it, his friends dropped cameras, in Edinburgh, Berlin and then, San Francisco. “ A silly idea that took me about 30 minutes to think about has now turned into, thanks to collaborative nature of the project and the community that it encompasses,” says Matthew. People have now dropped more than 300 cameras in around 65 countries. The most extreme on Mount Everest and the South Pole but more commonly in cafes, urban parks and benches, train stations and airports.

Matthew enjoys the waiting game of not knowing where the cameras has travelled, “The beauty of it is having to wait for the film to arrive back for processing, it becomes so exciting as you do not know where it has been in the world, or what paths it has crossed,” he says. It is not until the camera has returned back to the lab that Matthew knows about the previous location of a camera. So far only 26 cameras have been successfully returned and a few have got lost but overall, the project has produced some fantastic stories.

Matthew thinks the idea is appealing because people aspire to travel to experience different cultures and types of people. “This project taps into that ideal by giving you a random insight into that place,” he says. A photo from Sri Lanka of an orphaned girl holding a mirror smiling is just one of the images that has been successfully developed. Matthew was contacted randomly by the author of that photo. He said that her parents had died in a house fire, just two days before. Yet she was still smiling for the camera. “The stories beyond the camera are becoming most interesting as they tell you more about the images and about the different cultures around the world,” he added.

It is through stories like this that, the disposable memory project has created a small online community of photographers and like minded people. Matthew admits that there are a few lomography fans, who are overall keeping the project alive and inspiring others to take part.

Overall anyone can join in, “It is all about people doing creative projects themselves, taking part for the love of photography, people don’t play enough these days and it is exciting when you find a camera,” he continued.

The future of the project has huge potential a community based gallery seems the most obvious idea, “ I would love to find the time to create an event that involves as many people as possible,” he says. For example, buy 100 cameras, hand them out to students, creative freelancers, celebrities, all walks of life and encourage them to take photos. Then auction the completed images off for charity or something similar. At the same time showcasing all the archive in a gallery space to inspire and give promotion to the project.

The future looks snappy happy.

Thanks to Bryony. You can visit her blog at:

Camera 24 returns home after two and a half years of travel

March 23, 2011 by admin

Camera 24 was one of the early cameras, released way back in August 2008, and today, after almost 1000 days of travelling, over 26,000 miles, not including the return trip to the UK, after passing through at least six different people on its way, it has returned home full of images of happy people in the sun.

Nick H, who released the camera, had this to say:

“Woohoo! About time too…”

Fair point, well made Nick.

The camera has travelled from London, and on to the Philippines and then Hong Kong, after which it seemed to return to the UK and lay dormant for about one year. It then was reborn, and travelled on to Australia via Indonesia, and finally back to the UK for processing.

We’re especially proud of cameras which come home after long journeys, whether in time, or across space – and Camera 24 has done both, so thanks to everyone who was involved in the camera’s journey. Please let us know if you recognise any of the people or places in the images, so we can tell more of the story behind the pictures.

View the Camera 24 page here.

Camera 110 returns from the USA and Mongolia

November 18, 2010 by admin

image from camera

Camera 110 has returned with a roll full of wonderful images from its 560 day long, 13000 mile trip around the world.
Starting in California, dropped by Kirsty S. (who is our lucky charm, many of her cameras have returned home), the camera travelled on to Mongolia, before returning to Florida before it came home.

Unfortunately, it looks like some of the images didn’t fair too well – we’re seeing alot of images which are taken indoors just don’t come out (I think most disposable cameras are ISO200, so don’t do so well indoors or at night), but those which have come out are great, including what I can only assume are some family shots from Mongolia.

If you can shed any light on the people or locations in these photos, do let us know!

Sar Friedman – Disposable Camera Lover

July 16, 2010 by admin


Sar Friedman dropped us an email to say how much she loved our project, and wanted to get involved. Sar is already a massive fan of the disposable camera, and has taken some wonderful images. We asked her to write a few words about why disposable photography excites her:

I’m Sar Friedman. Music maker and disposable camera lover.

A breath of fresh air in a digital world.

I love the point and shoot aspect of disposable photography. I love the grain, the colours and the textures, which they are magically capable of achieving. I love the element of mystery and unpredictability – you never quite know what you are going to end up with. I love that if you wish to, you can awkwardly position the viewfinder right up over your eyes, like the good old days.

For me, the disposable has come to represent a bit of a rebellious approach to modern photography or perhaps a necessary accessory to accompany our digital pursuits. I find that carrying around a disposable camera keeps me grounded. Keeps me in a frame where I have to be mindful of restrictions that my digital camera otherwise overcomes intuitively… like considering the amount of light, distance, etc.

Similarly, with phone applications now including Instamatic, Polaroid, Lomo features and so on, it just feels so refreshing using a quaint little throw away contraption. It’s simple and basic, captures images beautifully and inspires creative endeavours like the disposable camera project! Pretty, pretty, pretty good!

Thanks for the thoughts Sar. If you’d like to share your opinions on disposable photography, do drop us a note.

Our Polar Explorer Returns.

June 22, 2010 by admin

the south pole

Well, the unbelievable has happened. One of our cameras has made the most remarkable journey. A journey that few humans would have the opportunity to make in their lifetime. Not only has it travelled almost 19,000 miles, but it has travelled to the most extreme parts of our globe. Little Camera 159 is the camera which made its way to the South Pole, and survived the journey home to tell its tale.

It started its journey last year in Swansea, where Sally R. created the camera:

We will fly via Copenhagen to Greenland where we are being airlifted by helicopter to the ice sheets to camp out and do hydrological field work.

The camera then passed on to Sam D in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Two other cameras from the journey returned home at this point, Camera 160 and Camera 162, but our trusty little Camera 159 continued on south, to be found by Paul T. at the British Base at Rothera, Antarctica:

I was handed one of your cameras at a remote field camp called Sky-Blu at the base of the Antarctic Peninsula, whilst working for the British Antarctic Survey this summer. I took it with me on a project at the South Pole, and then returned with it to the British Base, Rothera.

If the images of Winnie the Pooh are worrying, don’t worry, polar bears haven’t turned to honey for subsistence:

I took a couple of pics at the South Pole – apologies if there are a couple of spoiled pics, but it was -30c and my gloved fingers were awkward! The giant Pooh Bear is another story altogether, but the image of a giant stuffed bear at the Pole was too good to pass up!

The camera continued on with Matt V.T. and then into the hands of Celine N, who brought it back home via Chile and Ireland.

We’re super excited to have been able to get a camera into the most extreme place on our planet, so thank you to everyone involved in getting the camera safely home. We hope you enjoy the images!

View the Camera 159 page for more details on its journey.

Camera 235 returns home

June 10, 2010 by admin

Image 9 from Camera 235

Camera 235 has been travelling around Singapore for the past 243 days, and has returned home with a batch of truly wonderful images.
Released in October 2009 by Shareen, the camera started its life at the opening of ‘thirtysix’, a local analogue camera shop – a perfect birth for the camera – there was even cake.

The camera moved around the city for a few months, and then we heard nothing of it until January of this year, when it was found again by Grace T, who finished off the film, and sent the camera back to the project.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the camera, and Eve T. for being our local project office and collecting the camera.
If you recognise any of the images, the people or locations in the photos, please add a comment to the Camera 235 page.

Finished Cameras update

June 9, 2010 by admin

We’ve had a recent flurry of finished camera across the globe:

Camera 250 – finished in Pahang, Malaysia on December 8, 2009
Camera 249 – finished in Louisiana, USA on May 13, 2010
Camera 235 – finished in Singapore, Singapore on April 3, 2010
Camera 159 – finished in West Cork, Ireland on May 1, 2010
Camera 110 – finished in Florida, USA on June 7, 2010

As you can see, we’re still waiting on some to come home (some times it takes a while for them to get back to us in the UK!), and others have only just been finished, but in all cases, we’re really excited about getting these images online – especially Camera 159, which is our star North/Sole Pole explorer!

If you’ve got a camera in your hands, which you’ve finished, or just need to pass on, remember to drop us a line, and we’ll keep track of it.

If you’d like to help out the Project, by offering yourself as a local address where people can send completed cameras (which helps keep the cost of people sending cameras home as low as possible), drop us an email with where you live and we’ll send you details on being a local DMP office!

Five cameras released at the Imperial War Museum, Manchester

June 6, 2010 by admin

Serena W. is one of the top supporters of the project. Having already organised a massive batch of cameras being released in Singapore, she’s now on the case for taking over the UK too. Serena tells us about the five cameras she’s just released in Manchester:

Manchester Uni Photosoc release five cameras

FEUM 1001 – 1005 (5 cameras in total) were released on 24 March 2010 at the Society’s trip to Don McCullin’s photography exhibition: Shaped By War at Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays (Manchester). The other 5 will be release at the society’s next trip.

Having this project run in the society was my initiation. Basically, I am from Singapore and came over to Manchester for my studies. I first got to know about the Disposable Memory Project through As I was already in Manchester when I found out about this project, I decided to release my own cameras. Photography has been my hobby and I have been trying out various forms of it (including Lomography). The magic of film/ analogue photography never fail to amaze me. So when I got to know about the Disposable Memory Project, I was trilled! Prior to releasing the cameras to my fellow PhotoSoc members, I have already released 7 cameras if I am not mistaken (one of which have returned to the project and uploaded – Camera 246). Members who have received the cameras expressed that the idea is very interesting and there is this excitement within them. I think this is one very special thing/feel to this project. Looking forward to the return images (:

Thanks again Serena!

You can follow the Cameras the group dropped here:

Camera 283
Camera 285
Camera 286
Camera 287
Camera 288

More from Camera 159

March 13, 2010 by admin

More details on the journey of the camera that could.. Camera 159, our arctic explorer.
Sam has written in to tell us about his part in its journey:

I picked up the camera at a lakeside camp on the Greenland Ice Sheet from Sally Reid. It then travelled with me to Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimuit, by foot, canoe and a small hitch on a quad bike. In Sisimuit I joined a sailing boat bound north and explored the fjords and outlet glaciers surrounding Illullsiat and Ummannaq whilst carrying out glacio-oceanographic research with an international team of scientists and climbers. The camera came with me on two climbing trips. One on Ummannaq Island and the other up a 2280 m mountain – likely the highest in the area and to be aptly named the Greenlandic translation of ‘the peak of clearing clouds’. In September, Camera159 returned to Kangerlussuaq and back on to the Ice Sheet; now cold, and frozen whilst we over-wintered our instruments. Following this it headed South – to the Antarctic Peninsula, as part of a research project on Rutford Ice Stream. Here, I passed the camera on to a lad called Mike Stainer who was escorting Winnie the Pooh around on a guided tour in a large, red plane. I look forward to seeing the photos developed.

Neither can we! Thanks for the update Sam.

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