Since first discovering Disposable Magazine, we’ve become big fans.
They started with a simple idea and a direct mission. And, their result showcases an immense array of creativity and artistry. Their team (consisting of four awesome women!) sends out disposable cameras to creators all around the world. The creator shoots the entire roll, 27 images, and sends it back for development. Then, Disposable Magazine publishes the roll, in its entirety, alongside a Q&A with the creator and a playlist of their curation. It’s a real amalgamation of creative mediums coming together to highlight one person’s unique vision.
Obviously, we wanted in on the fun.
For our collaboration with Disposable, we had several members of our own editorial team each shoot a roll of film. What we noticed from shooting our rolls is that the finite nature of only having 27 exposures forced us all to slow down, be thoughtful, wait for our moment, and savor it.
Veronica even mentioned to me that some of the shots she took still sit in her memory as vivid frames. An outcome she definitely would not have had should she have taken the images on an iPhone.
Below are the fruits of our collaboration, as we take you through a weekend with our editors! And we chatted with the magazine’s founders to hear more about their inspiration, creative processes, and their all-time favorite photographs.
Linne: What inspired you to start Disposable Magazine?
The founders of Disposable: Our passion for art, people, and making the world a better place was the common point that inspired us to start Disposable Magazine.
The idea traveled a long way before becoming reality. Anaïs was living in Japan when she sent the first disposable camera to Jakarta out of curiosity for what people were wearing in that part of the world (circa 2009 and the fashion blog trend). It took another 5 years for Anaïs to meet Chrissy, initially from Seoul, who had just arrived to LA. Then they met Alex and Alaia, who were both born and raised in Los Angeles.
Together they transformed that simple act of curiosity into a global art project and publication, still driven by the desire to see how people all around the globe see the world.
Your mission is, “to create something lasting by using the most humble of tools–the disposable camera.” What do you think it is about this tool–that is so “disposable”–that inspires the creation of something “lasting”?
This is a great question.
We think it is the time and attention you give while shooting film, that actually gives the “lasting” characteristic to our photography. In opposition to digital photography and more specifically phone photography, where you have the freedom to snap a hundred shots to pick the best of.
When you use a Disposable camera, you have 27 shots, each of them count, especially if you are about to submit it for the world to see it.
In addition to having each Creative shoot a roll of film for you, you also have them curate a playlist. Can you speak to the connection between these mediums (visual art + music), and why you think they work together to illuminate the maker’s vision?
We didn’t ask for Playlists at the beginning.
It started when we featured the band L.A.Witch and we thought about featuring their music, so our readers could put some sound to their universe. We actually loved that idea and decided to keep on asking our contributors to playlist, like the soundtrack of their rolls.
Talk to me about the zines! How did that come about and what has been the inspiration behind the themes?
At the beginning of the adventure, we were printing one single issue a year. Considering the price of print and the fact that we were (and still are!) 100% self-funded, we were limited to that.
But, very quickly we started receiving so much content, that the yearly magazine, became a year book, and eventually too much to even consider printing only once a year.
We found the solution in organizing the content through themes. Some being highly recurrent through the rolls we receive. And now it is a focus, inviting our contributors to share their interpretation of the “word” in one shot or one full roll.
All-time favorite photograph and why?
Alaia: I have so many favorite rolls, but one of my favorites was from a friend of old friends who hitchhiked and train-hopped across America. One of his dear friends passed away and he took time to just explore the country in a very humble and low-maintenance way, visiting friends all over and making new ones. He eventually made it to Europe and back. Last I heard, he was beginning some sort of research grant in the south.
Alex: I also have many favorites, but I enjoyed the roll from Leslie Prussia, a letterpress instructor I’ve worked with in the past. She went to Mexico City and shared with us another side of her perspective and what she’s inspired by.
Anaïs: It’s a hard one, but I would say Neda Monem from Tehran. It was not easy to get the camera there and the images were beautiful, plus Iran has a dear place in my heart.
Chrissy: My favorite roll is from Kate Anderson Song, a creator from NY. It was the first time for a contributor to add their own style and work to the pictures and make it into unique art. It’s always interesting to see how people play so differently with the disposable camera.
What gets you excited to create?
We really love to bring people together. It’s amazing to see people shoot and look at what others have shot, each wanting to share a little bit of their world.
What is next for Disposable?
Our big project for the year is to become an official non-profit, that way we can gather more funding and attention. That way, we can send more cameras, tell more stories, organize creative networks and workshops, and even produce grants and donations systems towards certain cause and subjects. One of our goals is to have a zine every year that touches on a real issue that needs discussion and share it with the public in an artistic publication and interpretation.