One Pound Camera

In 2014 I came across a cardboard box full of point and shoot cameras selling for £1 each at a carboot sale in London. I picked a grey, chunky Canon one out of the box, which I’m guessing was made some time in the 90’s. 

I bought it thoughtlessly, and in fact, did not use it. It remained cornered in my drawer for a few years, as things like birthday cards and bank statements piled on top of it as months went by.

As it lay there, practically buried, I photographed things with two types of cameras, each for different uses; a Digital SLR for work-related material; projects, commissions and so on. And my mobile, more specifically, Instagram, for photos throughout my day-to-day life. The nature of the two mediums fit the nature of the purpose of the photos; the first produced good quality photos, and maintained the functions and presence of a ‘professional’, work camera. The second provided comfort and instant photography, reaching an audience and a following in a matter of seconds.

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Earlier this year I found out that the photographer down my road develops films, and that revelation linked me back with my one pound camera, now lodged under an accumulated pile of stuff. I picked it out, (made sure it was still alive) and took it upon myself to start using it to take photos of anything in daily life which moved me.

After developing the first film, it immediately became something precious. It started to become more habitual to reach for this point and shoot camera, rather than my phone. I started developing the films every two weeks or so, and picking up the photos every fortnight felt like picking up this proof of an affirmation of inspiration of sorts. Having everything that moved me in tangible, printed form and turning that into somewhat of a collection, became a special practice. 

Flashback to Communications theory, Marhsall Mc Luhan’s ‘The Medium Is The Message’. The photos taken with this point and shoot camera are not professional form, there is no editorial or client pressure, no technological link. They don’t ask to be seen or for validation or appreciation from anyone, like Instagram photos or photographs on social media. Their only purpose is for me to remind myself of everything strange or interesting or lovely that I’ve come across or felt, and to keep on searching and noticing. In a way, this un-linked medium, in the form of my point and shoot, one pound camera, acts as a very good reminder of what photography is supposed to be about. 

Joanna Demarco is a journalist with The Malta Independent and a freelance documentary photographer, working independently whilst also forming part of a female collective called The Milk Collective. You can view her work on www.joannademarco.com, or follow her on instagram @_joannademarco.

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