Why would someone with a brace of half decent cameras even consider buying a disposable camera?
I pondered over this question as I emerged from a photographic shop in the city of Mahon – the capital of Menorca – with a couple of colour films in the one hand and a Polaroid branded 35mm single use camera in the other. Around my neck was my regular holiday weapon of choice since 2012, a Canon G12 digital zoom compact. You couldn’t miss the shop with its traditional international retro red and yellow Kodak sign high above the door resplendent with dodgy wiring.
As we walked silently along the busy street together in the summer of 2015 and still pondering the question I finally retorted,
“Because the road of excess has led to the path of enlightenment” (Blake).
“You are full of it!” she replied.
“Why then did you choose a Yashica T4 point and shoot over the decent rangefinder I offered you?”
”Because I just want to take spur of the moment shots and not spend the holiday fiddling with knobs!” (no honestly dear reader, I kid ye not!).
Using a single use camera or indeed any simple point and squirt compact can be quite liberating. It becomes more about WHAT you choose to shoot rather than HOW you shot it. I admit it is perhaps a much less creative way of taking pictures but, I always feel a greater sense of freedom from technical encumbrances in doing so and therefore consciously choose to indulge myself occasionally. You really have to experience that concept in order to fully understand it!
If you started out in life with a Conway ‘Popular’ box camera as I did and eventually progressed to Kodak Instamatics before later contracting GAS then picking up one of these Kodak Brownie reincarnations is, in a sense, a ‘back to the cradle’ experience. However, the Polaroid succeeds over my G12 in the following ways,
1. You don’t have to wake it up.
2. It doesn’t go to sleep after a few minutes and have to be woken up again.
3. It’s faster because you don’t have to use the two stages of autofocus.
4. It’s great for street photography because nobody will take you seriously.
5. It’s ideal for school trips if, as in my case, a ten year old family member asks…”can I borrow your camera please?”…
With single use cameras, photography really does not get any simpler than this and furthermore, without the crutch of the ubiquitous LCD screen you really have to use your imagination for a change.
Unfortunately, I can only put my hands on a small amount of examples to show you as my wife has ‘organised’ all of the thousands of our collective photographs from the carefully annotated photo packets into subject-categorised albums so there is little or no ‘which camera’ information anymore – but in truth, is that really a bad thing?
With a really summery location by the sea and lots of interesting sites and locations you are spoilt for choice regarding photogenic subjects.
Menorca is one of the Balearic islands situated in the Mediterranean sea and it is governed by Spain. My wife and I have been there a few times stopping at Cala Fonts, Es Castell a very attractive resort just 3 kilometres from Mahon the capital city. The whole island is culturally rich and therefore very photogenic. We go there to chill out and just meander for ten days or so just snapping at what takes our fancy which is anything and everything. With the varied Spanish cuisine, wine and beer, calorie counting is off the menu for the duration.
I sincerely hope you enjoy my pictures from the Polaroid disposable. You will note that there are two shots of the pavement cafe frontage with the sign ‘SANTOS’ in the window. One was taken with the Yashica T4 and included here as a comparator with the Polaroid to see if you can spot the difference…?
All photos are as photo lab processed and my scans are free from any artificial colourings or sweeteners. The Polaroid camera was pre-loaded with Polaroid 27 exposure 400 ISO HD film.
Thanks so much for reading this!