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Disposable Cameras are Transforming Social Media. Here’s Why.

If you have been active on social media recently, you have definitely witnessed the interesting resurgence in disposable cameras among young people. 

Taking disposable photos of people, places, and things has been a popular form of capturing moments recently. With this, social media is full of communication among Gen Z regarding information on where to get film developed and tips on taking quality film photos. From the looks of it, social media is time traveling back to the 1980s and 1990s. But the question is, why is a generation with mobile phones at their disposal choosing to take pictures on handheld, vintage cameras?

One factor to the trend’s growth is celebrity influence. On social media, Youtuber David Dobik has branded using disposable cameras to his millions of followers. He created a separate Instagram account, “@davidsdisposables”, where he posts disposable camera photos he has taken of his well-known friends and other celebrities. This account has gained tremendous traction numerically and socially, thus inspiring other celebrities and other young users on social media to use disposable cameras. 

Although, even with celebrity inspiration, there is a much deeper reason as to why disposable cameras are making a comeback.

One cannot help but question why a group of people in such a digital generation with so many photographic resources are choosing to go back in time. However, this generation’s complete immersion in the concept of perfection on social media makes it all make sense. This era’s extreme pressure to filter photos a certain way or edit out acne before posting creates unattainable expectations to have no faults. With the ability to take a thousand selfies before finding the “perfect” one on mobile phones, hyper fixation on flaws in photos is common for Gen Z. Disposable cameras combat this by allowing a natural, refreshing take on capturing moments with others. 

When taking a photo on film, you cannot see it until it is developed. This creates a fun and freeing way to take photos with friends without the pressure to perfect your pose or edit your skin. Through the spontaneous nature of disposable cameras, imperfections are embraced rather than shamed, which is amazing progress towards self-acceptance in such a potentially toxic online space. This generation, which is one that has been trapped in internet beauty standards and social pressure, is one that craves capturing raw moments in the one-and-done style that disposable cameras allow. 

However long this trend lasts, it sure is a fun one. The nostalgic take on remembering moments of life is a great way for Gen Z and others to capture memories, and the trend’s popularity is only expanding. With this, the single-use factor of disposable cameras can pose some environmental concern because of the possible waste it creates. If you want to join in on the trend but also want to ensure that you do not contribute to any single-use waste, here are a few eco-friendly disposable camera alternatives!

Gabriella is a second-year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo majoring in Graphic Communication. She is currently involved in Her Campus as the Cal Poly SLO chapter Social Media Director, Instagram Manager, and as an editorial writer. She is passionate about writing, making art, volunteering, and pursuing a career where her creativity can be at the forefront. In her free time, you can find her attempting to surf, researching astrology, and doodling anything at any given opportunity.
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