The return of disposable cameras



Varenya Rao-Mallela, Lifestyle Editor

Film photography is making a huge comeback in the social media world. Many teens are into its retro, simplistic feel.

Digital photography uses photodetectors and electronic appliances to take photos, and is the most commonly used method of photography today. Film photography, or analog photography, is a method of photography where an image is created based on the reaction of light and chemicals. In a film camera, the chemical processes occurring from light exposure creates the picture seen on the film.

Film photography was popular throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, but has regained popularity since the beginning of the pandemic. This is not a surprise, however. Trends, especially fashion and style trends, have a tendency to constantly recycle themselves due to nostalgia.

Nostalgic trends resurface every couple of decades or so as they are comforting for people. Many find peace and calm in these trends as they bring back sentimental memories and bittersweet longing. When trends such as film cameras come back, people feel as if they return to old times, and unite them to their former selves. The concept behind the love for film cameras mirrors the reemergence of vinyl records.

Many teens and influencers love the vintage, minimalistic look of a film camera. Unlike digital photographs, the image is intentionally imperfect. Film photos are less refined than digital photos, which makes the image heavier in color contrast. Though not as high quality, film cameras capture the subtle details and feel more “in the moment” than a digital camera ever could.

“I think taking a picture on film rather than just taking one on a phone camera makes your picture more authentic,” Catherine McGuire (‘24) said. “The pictures you get genuinely capture whatever you photographed. Sometimes when I get my film developed, I’ll see photos that I don’t even remember taking, which I think is really cool.”

According to film photographers like specialist Timothy Lim, film photography would not be as popular as it is without the use of social media. Social media has played a huge role in the rise of the film camera trend. It allows photographers to share their pictures, gain popularity and expose more people to the style than ever before. One of the reasons the film camera trend, or any trend, circulates so abundantly on social media is influencers. There are quite a few influencers who even have accounts dedicated to their film photography, notably Lexi Hidalgo, Meredith Good and even Gigi Hadid.

Some of the best film cameras on the market are the Canon AE-1 and the Pentax K1000. Film cameras are a good and timeless investment if you are one of many who enjoy the nostalgic and cordial feel of analog photography.