One of the reasons I love photography is that looking through the camera lens changes the way I see the world. It gives me a different framing. But sometimes lugging some of those fancier cameras can be offputting as they are such an investment, money and time-wise. This summer I decided to try something new and bought a cheap and cheerful plastic camera. This camera (the Kodak Ektar H35) is not only light but has a fun twist; it takes two portrait photos for every 35mm frame. And just like that, my roll of 36 film became 72!
As a huge fan of diptychs I wondered if I might try and pair the images as I took them but I soon lost track of where I was in the roll of film and decided to just go with the flow. I never got around to looking up the minimum focusing distance, and I wasn’t sure how accurate the viewfinder was. There are no exposure controls. But it was all part of the fun.
I’ve never carried such a light film camera with me before and I found it really liberating. It reminded me of a character in the book I’m reading (Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson) who always has a disposable camera on them to capture moments. And not being digital, it wasn’t about snapping away until I had that perfect image. I just took one frame each time.
And here are some of the results. I love some of the unexpected diptychs. The image quality isn’t always great, but it reminds me of how snapshots used to look in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, using this camera has been like going back to that simpler time, a world away from today’s perfectly processed digital images, when photography was messier and unfiltered. There’s a sort of honesty in its randomness. “Life doesn’t come with presets,” as Little Simz puts it in her song “Angel“. And with two photos for every frame, it’s double the fun! Give it a try!