In the past year, social media – in particular Instagram – has seen a rise in photos with a dubious warm saturation and some random date from the 90s printed in orange in the corner. They shamelessly mimic the quality of a photograph produced by an analogue camera using an app called HUJI, which has had over 22 million downloads since its launch last October. However, HUJI is not alone, the market for apps which allow iPhone bearing Millennials to fake the old school photography experience is too becoming saturated.
Now, you can also relive the retro process of photo taking. Gudak Cam offers users the nostalgic experience of taking photos as they would with a disposable camera. The app by South Korean startup, Screw Bar, gained 1.3 million users in its first two months, and is particularly popular in Japan and South Korea. The name derives from an old Korean term “gudagdali” meaning outdated, and that is certainly the way it feels to use.
1) you can’t really see what you’re taking due to the tiny viewfinder.
2) you are limited to a film roll of 24 exposures to use in a row and must wait an hour to ‘reload a new film’.
3) you have to wait three days for the photos to ‘develop’, i.e. magically appear in your camera roll.
4) it even looks like an old Kodak disposable camera.
The only thing that’s missing is the windy-up button. In an era when photo taking and especially photo sharing via Instagram has become a perfectionists’ game, there is a lot to be learned and gained from taking a couple of technological steps backwards to the wholesome disposable. You don’t waste 10 of your limited exposures taking the same shot to get it perfect, you take one and it’ll have to do. You don’t take hundreds of photos you are limited to the number on the roll and even then a couple are bound to be duds because there was some confusion over the winding up process. You don’t then spend the rest of the day, night, or event on your phone agonizing over which photo to post, you actually enjoy doing whatever it is you’re doing that’s worth taking a photo to remember. And if, like me, you are the rare breed of millennial who forgets to take any photos, ever, you are at least forced to use up a roll of film.
All of this is great, but disposables come at a cost financially and environmentally; two problems that Gudak Cam solves at the bargain price of £0.99 and its plastic free format. Using disposable cameras or app alternatives like Gudak Cam force us to have a certain attitude when it comes to photo taking: be selective about what you photograph, take ONE shot, and don’t be critical of how it turns out. If it takes you 10 shots to capture the moment, you’re probably interrupting the moment.
-Catrin Stephen, Design Editor