I loves me some crappy digital cameras.
Ten years on, my first is still my favorite, my Game Boy Camera. Thank you Diego, for perhaps the greatest birthday gift ever. Sure, I had crappy film cameras before, but that didn’t stop me from loving my GBC like anyone does their first. Using film meant that I couldn’t go wild and experiment, take tons of pictures of stupid stuff like any kid with a camera does, and any self‐respecting adult with one continues to do.
That wouldn’t exactly work with my Game Boy Camera, which only held 30 snapshots and didn’t come with any way to, you know, transfer them to a computer.
Details. To make do, I would delete all but my absolute favorites, the true ‘keepers.’ That awkward red cartridge still has photos from walking home on the day in 2000 I got the camera, of good high school friends, of a duck from Kendale Lakes, and self‐portraits taken every few months as I grew my hair to a respectable shoulder length in college.
Last year, realizing that I was far from done taking tiny, grainy, black‐and‐white photos, I bought a second Game Boy Camera, and a couple of Mad Catz PC link cables, so I could finally transfer the photos. They’re cheap and plentiful on Amazon and eBay these days (the cameras, at least; the link cables are hard to find).
There was a time when mobile phones could be counted on to take photos of this sort. Sure it might be frustrating when you actually wanted to take a good photo, but think of the washed‐out colors! The poor lighting! The blurry faces! Alright, maybe it wasn’t so great if that was the only camera you had at a memorable event, but if that’s the sort of camera you go out of your way to use for artsy, leisurely photography, I respect that.
My first mobile phone with a camera was a Sidekick, and its photos are by far my favorite:
I could add these effects with software, but what fun is that?
Then came my Treo, which was, unfortunately, a little bit better at taking photos:
I won’t even mention my G1, which takes practically perfect photos. How sad.
I’m glad I’ve been able to shoot with so many crappy cameras, because I know one I won’t be using anytime soon. Sigh.