The flash beamed into the eyes of my peers as I wound up the camera for a quick second shot. “Everyone say cheese” as the flash once again made my friends freeze like a deer in headlights. “What the f*** is that Michael?”, but I had no time to explain as I raced around the room looking for another timeless shot. Time was running out as I tried to relive these moments forever.
With second semester of senior year finally eliminating the pressure of college applications and homework assignments, my friends, Max and Ben, and I were finally able to design our project. Throughout high school we always talked about “doing something cool” senior year, but we never figured out what to do. Sharing a passion for all types of art and the vintage aesthetic, we wanted to construct a project that we would remember forever. From creating a short film on a VHS camcorder, to constructing an exhibit of mood boards in our high school, we thought of almost everything, but nothing ever came into fruition. It was not until we were at a party one night that the idea came to us. The three of us walked around and noticed almost everyone posting stories on their Snapchat. With these stories only lasting 24 hours we began to question how one could turn these short moments into timeless memories. The answer was: Point and Shoot Film Cameras. As a famous photographer, Gunner Stahl, once said “there is nothing more natural than an unfiltered film photo” (I Don’t Even Rap, Fader.com). With the power of a simple disposable camera from CVS, we were able to create something much more meaningful than a 15 second low quality clip.
From there on out we always kept these small cameras by our side. Whether it was a shot in the cafeteria at school, or at a Friday night party, these special moments can come at unexpected times. Though at first, our classmates would give us weird looks and mock us for our “girly little arts and crafts project”, they were all amazed by the sentimental value each photo held. It was almost as if we were able to relive these experiences once the images were developed on paper. When we saw this value in a photo that was taken a week before, we began to think about the nostalgic power they would hold 50 years from now. This realization inspired us to give the photos to the people we shot as we found ourselves picking up prints weekly at the local camera store. We would organize our collection of photos based on our peers and leave them in their mailboxes around town. The simple smiles and laughs that each photo created made the time and effort worth it as each photo shared a unique story.
Everyone at some point in their lives has heard of the phrase “a Kodak moment”, but rarely people take it literally. Though the sheer emotional attachment of these memories grow as we get older, the vividness and accuracy of these moments slowly fade away. With the power of the printed film photos, the three of us were able to create something tangible out of a moment in time. Essentially a memory pasted on a piece of paper, never to be faded and forgotten. Though these prints may be left around in some cabinet drawers decades from now, I am confident they will reappear in everyone’s life at some point, not only sparking the essence of childhood, but also the relationships that were built.
TheFaderTeam. “Gunner Stahl – I Don’t Even Rap.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Sept. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VL3LyfL9iA.