In the digital age, our phones are our lives. With the ability to take banging insta-worthy pictures so readily at our fingertips, we photograph everything - especially when we travel. From the second we step off the plane, nothing is spared from our ever-present iPhone cameras. I mean, how often have we had to delete an app just to photograph a cute dog we saw...
Until recently, this surge in using iPhones as cameras has left disposable cameras in the darkness. We opt for digital cameras or iPhones simply because it’s easier to upload our holiday snaps to instagram – and who’s to deny us the right to flaunt our amazing travels to our followers here and there? But recently, a surge in disposable camera sales means they’re not just a ‘trend’ – they’re actually experiencing a full on revival. Camera company Fujifilm has seen sales of disposable cameras almost double since 2014-15, with little sign of the trend slowing down next year.
So why are so many of us turning our backs on technology to capture our special travel memories? Well, firstly, it’s more spontaneous. Once the option to take a thousand photos until you get the one you like is taken away from you, you’re left with the opportunity to capture those special moments in real time – and that’s infinitely more thrilling than living your life with your iPhone at the ready.
Using a disposable camera is going back to basics. It ends the ‘on demand’ culture we’ve grown accustomed to in the time of iPhones and digital cameras. As you can’t see the images until they’re developed, waiting for a photo of a special, unplanned moment builds up the excitement that makes the photo feel all the more like a gift.
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Disposable cameras force you to see the beauty in imperfections. In an insta-crazy world where everything can be tweaked, touched up, and altered to our liking, it's a breath of fresh air.
But what does this disposable camera resurgence mean for Instagram? Put simply, millennials are exhausted. Yes, Instagram is great for a number of reasons – but it also means you have an appearance to keep up. We often filter our travel images so they’re ‘grammable’ enough to post, and in doing so, we lose the true meaning of the picture itself.
When you’re travelling, a picture should capture a memory – but it shouldn’t detract from you experiencing the trip itself. Once you’re freed from the burden of trying to capture the perfect new profile pic, you’ll be able to capture moments that are more organic and natural.
Admittedly, taking a step back from Instagram is easier said than done, but the good news is we can totally have the best of both worlds. If you’re a filter junkie, you’re in luck: disposable photos are actually super flattering because they have a built in filter. What’s even more exciting is that they’re versatile. Feeling arty or nostalgic? Get them developed and scrapbook them. Alternatively, scan them in and share your timeless memories on insta to keep your followers in the loop.
One thing’s undeniable: the disposable camera truly is the perfect travel accessory. It’s cheap, it can fit in your hand luggage, and you’ll only be a few quid out if it gets lost or stolen. Either way, we’re welcoming the disposable camera revolution.
How does your travel experience change when you take digital photography out of the equation? To find out, The Travel Project sent photographer Allan Hinton to Australia, tasked with capturing his experience only through the lens of an old fashioned film camera, and disposable cameras. The result was quite extraordinary.