It starts with the switch to DSLR; then the DSLR gets benched as the phone becomes less of a phone and more of a camera, both high quality and easy to share; fulfilling the mantra/obligation – ‘pics or it didn’t happen.’
The return to film can be intimidating – grappling with the fear of failure as you snap a photo, only to discover later your captured memory includes a blinking subject or a rogue finger appearing in the frame (see above photo).
If film was something you tried that one time in college, and you still can’t quite shake the memory of how it made you feel – look no further than the low-stakes, high reward plastic yellow rectangle that is the Kodak Funsaver. Yes, that very same Funsaver you breezed past on a routine trip to Duane Reade, found in a bin at the front of the store next to the Chapstick and Altoids.
While your local pharmacy may no longer dedicate space to a supply of disposable cameras, you can grab the nostalgic disposable right here – my guess the memory of holding this familiar plastic falls somewhere between your 8th-grade field trip to Washington DC, a classmate’s Bat-Mitzvah, or your cousin’s wedding.
At the price of $14.99 for 27 exposures of 35mm 800 ISO, the film is cost-effective, easy to use, and super versatile. Bringing even the bare minimum knowledge of how light works, the built-in flash with 4 – 10 ft. range will support a rich depth of color that makes even the everyday moments seem memorable, and worth saving.
Delighted by the nostalgia of the Funsaver, your subjects will undoubtedly find the camera a quirky remembrance of their capricious youth, and offer up their most honest selves – that’s because the Funsaver, like many other forms of film photography, does not indulge our involuntary need to preview a photo before it becomes cemented on the internet. People are more willing to be themselves when they aren’t forced to reckon with how they look in a single moment.
Alternatively, if your subject happens to be of the generation that promptly looks for the viewfinder screen, you’ll have the unique opportunity to expose them to a more analogue technology that provides the satisfying clicks, whirrs, and snaps of taking what will become a physical photo; without fear of damaging expensive technology.
While there are certainly more highfalutin, higher quality film options on the market today – if you identify as someone who is film-curious, embrace your basic instincts, and revisit the Funsaver.
Alli Lee is a social impact strategist and hobbyist photographer who spends time in New York and Texas. Check out her Instagram here