Blog Photography

Disposable Scenes, 2014-2016

27 disposable camera pictures taken 2014-2016


EDIT – SEPTEMBER 19, 2018:

This photo essay was originally published October 5, 2016. It has been edited to update some pictures from 2016-2018 on September 19, 2018.

Two years after this original post and four years since I began this project, I swapped in a few new pictures taken in 2016-2018. Reflecting on this project, these photos and many more photos not posted here, recalling trips to Yosemite, Morro Bay, Mexico, Chicago and more, still bring warm memories.

I spent two years, from September 2014 to September 2016, carrying Fujifilm disposable cameras around, experimenting with the fun, lo-fi cameras to capture my surroundings in a different view than modern DSLRs and cellphone cameras offer.

I attempted to select a range of emotions in these photos – 27 photos, corresponding to a 27-exposure roll of film – to depict feelings I had while taking the picture. “Twilight on Leap Day,” for example, was nearly the shortest day of the year in a long winter, but now that February has past, spring is on its way.

Save an exception or two, people are mostly in the background or out of frame. This is because I attempted to depict people as well as objects – buildings, walkways and parking meters – in light of their surroundings.

More info and technical specs after the photos.

Santa Ana | April 2015
Spring at the Fullerton Arboretum | March 2016
Disposable Camera
Morro Bay | July 2016
Getty Villa | November 2015
Summer in Yosemite | July 2015
Morning in Yosemite | August 2017
Twilight on Leap Day | Placentia, February 2016
Eminent Domain | Yorba Linda, January 2016
Los Angeles City Hall | July 2016
Santa Ana | April 2015
Disneyland | April 2017
ARTIC | July 2015
Summer in Yosemite | July 2015
Brea | September 2014
Santa Ana | October 2014
Santa Ana | April 2015
Brea | October 2014
Yorba Linda | March 2016
iPhone 6 launch | Brea, September 2014
Morro Bay | July 2016
Disposable Camera
Montana de Oro | July 2016
Cal State Fullerton | February 2017
Near Morro Bay | July 2016
Spring | March 2017
On The Road | Near Santa Barbara, July 2016
On the Road | Near Tecate, September 2016
Twilight | Yorba Linda, October 2014

This has been a meaningful project to me, as using the retro cameras has refreshed my views on patience and photography.

The fixed focal length, the limiting quality of the camera, and the month- or two-long gap between taking the picture and receiving the print all contribute to the joy I feel when I get a fresh roll back. I have marveled at the classic film look and mood some of the pictures came back with.

I took about 10 rolls of film, or 270 pictures, during the course of the original project. (While I have not counted, this is in comparison to the probably more than 20,000 pictures I took with my digital cameras in that time.)

The film was taken to CVS Photo, who sends them to a processing center. Most times they were printed on Kodak XtraLife II paper, with an accompanying CD with scans given. While I have not tried other film labs, I am impressed with the quality and look these prints have.

Here is a comparison of images taken with my Panasonic GH4 camera and Panasonic 14mm lens (left image) and a disposable camera.


Here is another picture of a disposable camera, photographed in Portland, Oregon in March 2018.


Photos by Tim Worden, copyright 2014-2018, with the exception of “On the Road | Near Santa Barbara,” by my brother Daniel, 2016.

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