Friends On Film

Senior describes nostalgia created by use of disposable cameras


Claire C. Stein, Staff Writer

With each new generation comes a variety of fads, unique style and new ideas, yet some of the most notable trends are those that were popular decades before.

First popular in the late ‘80s, Kodak’s single-use film cameras gave people a cheap way to take pictures of their friends and family anywhere, anytime with just the push of a button.

However, when smartphones released in 2007, disposable cameras were outdated.

So with all the new technology today, why are they so popular now?

Senior Reese Heaney, like many high schoolers, has used disposable cameras throughout her teen years, especially after the effects of COVID-19.

“It’s become a way to slow down the reality of the pandemic and connect with the past,” she said. “When I look at the disposable pictures my parents took, everything always looked so fun and easy. I hope my kids can say the same when they see my disposable pictures.”

Heaney got an early start to the film picture trend and has used single-use cameras ever since.

“I was really into Polaroid pictures and then I got into disposables junior year,” she said. “From then on, it’s just kind of been a thing that I always bring [with me]. So far this year I’ve gone through I think nine cameras, but I have another for all the graduation events.”

The cameras are priced around $15, and depending on how fast you want the pictures back, developing the film costs $10 to $20. Film can be dropped off at any Walmart, Walgreens, Target and many more places, and it typically takes around two weeks to get developed.

“My favorite thing is not knowing how the pics turn out until you get them developed,” she said. “I like seeing all my friends’ reactions to them and finding pics people took on my camera without me knowing.”

Often there is at least one disposable camera at each party, trip, school dance or group hangout for high school students.

“I use them anytime I have something coming up I want to take pics at,” Heaney said. “Normally for dances, parties [or other] big events, I’ll use a whole 27 roll. For birthdays, Chiefs games or random stuff, [it’s] all together on one roll.”

With today’s societal pressure to look flawless and posed in pictures, using a disposable camera can make taking photos fun and easy-going again.

“I like the surprise of it. It takes the stress out trying to make yourself look perfect in every picture since you only have one take,” she said. “It’s a lot more simple, and I enjoy how the pictures come out — it makes me nostalgic.”