It’s been awhile since I wanted to write this. Many ask many whys to the paper camera. I am writing this not because I want to sell the paper camera but I am writing this because I have journeyed one big circle to conclude what I want to share in this article and I hope I can address some of the whys. Pablo Picasso once said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Time is something $ cannot buy, with years of working with children, at the age of 41, I wish I can photograph like a child.

I did some research on children drawing when I was a teacher trainee. As a professional photographer for 5 years and an educator for a good 8 years in the main education stream in Singapore, I finally decided to followed my passion to teach photography simply because I saw the goodness in photography. 7 years of teaching photography with an average of 1000 students a year and as a father of four,  I begin to put every pieces of my puzzle together. If you are a parent or someone who has the interest in photography, please continue to read.

Why paper camera when these days everyone carries a smartphone? What is the difference between this paper camera and a smartphone camera? Technology is so advance and why only a 5mp paper digital camera?

The questions goes on in a list. To be honest, when I first saw this paper camera online, I too asked myself many whys. However, I decided to test it out myself and so it begins…

I was very excited when the founder George Lin got in touch with me over a phone call. And when I first received my shipment of the paper camera, it sure feels more excited than buying ip7. I was brought back to the first time when I hold a Yashica film viewfinder camera that my parents passed to me when I was 7. Technically speaking, ip7 has way advanced technologies and camera than this paper camera. But the funny thing is, when technology advance, some good old stuffs are often also been eliminated. As much as many people look forward for new technologies and chase after the digits of megapixels of a camera, there are also people who miss those good old stuffs that are somehow forsaken by technology. Besides, how often do we actually print out the photos and how big is the photos? Most of us just post on social medias or some digital display devices. So why a paper camera that has no screen?

I started taking photographs when I was 7. Then, images are recorded on films and each roll of film has certain numbers of (12/24 or 36) exposures. Meaning it only allows you to take up to a maximum of 36 photos in a roll and if you are lucky, 37 exposures. Unlike digital cameras, you cant record many photos and reuse the film like you reuse the memory card. Each roll of film will cost you about S$5. Those days, when you take photos, one can only anticipate how the photos will turn out after the roll of film has been sent for developing. And such process takes 3-5 days. But the wait of 3-5 days is usually worth it when you see the results of the photos. Well… not really. Many of the photos taken were either too bright (over exposed) or too dark (under exposed) and lack of interesting subjects. Henry Cartier Hansen said “The first 10000 photographs you take are your worst”. This is so true when I first started out in photography. The lack of knowledge on how to handle a camera leads to many undesirable photos taken. I tried to photograph what I see and what I think was interesting but what my eyes saw were very often not what my photographs have captured. So what did I missed? I followed the rule of thumbs, point and shoot. I simply point the camera at my subjects (what I see) and I press the shutter button, get it? Point and shoot. I failed to engage the subject of interest. Many rolls of film were wasted in my journey of learning photography through self-taught. Many trial and errors until I finally get to officially learn photography in polytechnic. You bet it’s my favorite subject of all time. My lecturer Mr Nathan never fail to make his lessons interesting and fun, I would laugh so hard as though I was crying. Almost every of his lessons, without fail.

Photography taught me to see the beauty side of life. As a photographer, I aim to capture and bring out the beauty of my subjects. But sad to say, these days, often what you see online are edited. It’s no longer about the skills of photo-taking but the skills of editing. So let’s go back to the basics.

 

To be continued… 16 Dec 2016

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