It sat on my office shelf, where it would taunt me. It often willed me to turn from my computer to look at it. “Find out what is on me,” it would whisper from across the room. This thing from my past. This last-of-its-kind relic is now a distant memory of how life was captured before smart phones and GoPros. I am talking about my last undeveloped disposable camera.
I know…what a blast from the past, huh? I can still remember my mom making that quick stop at the FhotoMart hut to drop off the roll of film that she had of our summertime family vacation. Her white Crown Victoria would drive off, only to return the next morning to pick up the glossy new stack of photos that she couldn’t wait to look through.
Then, to make life a little more easy and convenient, Fujifilm came out with the revolutionary disposable camera, or what they called back then, a single-use camera. Originally, they were used by photojournalists, out in the field in 1986, but soon they became available for commercial use to the public, several years later. Are you ready for a little retro trip down memory lane? Here is a TV spot by Kodak, in 1991, on the introduction of disposable cameras.
Now let’s fast forward to 2016, to my last disposable camera. I have had it in my possession, for years. Don’t ask me exactly how many years, because it’s too embarrassing to admit how long I had been putting off the simple chore. The same chore that my mom did many times, to the FhotoMart, in my youth. I need to go and get this thing developed! I honestly don’t even know what’s on it?! Has anybody run into this dilemma, lately? Well, today is the day that I go.
Before I went, I took one last look at this retro photo box and all its out-of-date features. To all you digital camera/smart phone youngsters out there, here is how us old people used to take pictures.
I arrived at the photo center, that morning, and discovered something I never noticed before. Everywhere I looked, I read the word “digital”. No where does the word “film” come up anymore on the center displays or advertisements. I, also, half expected that the lady behind the counter was going to inform me to pick up my photos that afternoon (remember one-hour developing, people?), but there was no such luck.
Instead, she said to fill out the form and stick the camera in the envelope to be sent to their out-of-state film lab where the photos will be back, at CVS, in 2-3 weeks. I actually felt a little ping of sadness. The consumer has officially moved on from film to fully embrace digital photography, now. I asked the lady if she still gets disposable cameras. She laughed and said all of the time. In fact, I was the second person to do this very thing, today!
So, I did what she had instructed and placed the camera in the envelope. Goodbye, old friend. The last piece of photo film history I had. I hope you have a nice stay in South Carolina and just like my mom did decades ago, I can’t wait to hold my shiny new stack of photos, of my past, in several weeks.
As we wait for the film to develop, I have found this clip from The Office, in 2010, of the quirky receptionist, Erin and her thoughts on disposable cameras. I had to laugh after viewing this and think, is this how kids today thought we used them? Go ahead and ask them. I’d love to hear what our children, of the digital age, have to say!
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