A photographic time capsule

This was the single-use camera that someone found and gave to me.  I used up the last few exposures and then I just never got around to developing the film.  It turned out to be from 2017, I know because in the first image on the left is a cowboy named Twister who has since gone on to bigger and better things.  It was also nice to see a pic of myself in action, this is a shot I’ve gotten of a couple drivers in the past.

I’d say that this roll of film aged a bit better than the last one I found, but it is quite a lot newer.  I wouldn’t call these stunning images at all but it was a nice surprise to see what was on this roll of film because at this point I didn’t even remember taking these.

What tourists see

This is a Kodak single-use camera that someone abandoned/lost back in 2017.  I totally forgot I had it for a long time but eventually had the thing developed and here are the results.  “Disposable” (actually recyclable) single-use cameras are becoming a thing of the past it seems.  When I moved to Colorado in 2009 and in the first few years of driving Jeep tours I could still find them at grocery stores and gift shops, but it’s been a few years since I noticed any.  I suppose that cameras on phones have become so ubiquitous that they really aren’t needed, and why this couple wouldn’t have had another way to take pictures I’ll never know.

I find the photos to be pretty standard.  There are the telltale signs that they’ve never seen a landscape like the Rocky Mountains and want a reminder; I was like that myself when I first came here in 2003, but you get over it.  I’m not sure where they were before Garden of the Gods but I know exactly where they stood while they were in Colorado Springs, because it’s where every other tourist stands.  They all stand so patiently one at a time waiting their turn to pretend like they’re the sole discoverers of a pristine landscape when the reality is that this 2-square-mile park gets 7 million visitors a year. It’s a conceit that I’m guilty of following in my own images that are for me, but I’m busy trying to tear it down in my photo project.

And I find these images to be as throwaway as the camera on which they were made: there is nothing really insightful to be found here, just the same insta-feed fodder that every other person spits out.  Kenneth Wajda’s words come to mind.  Except that I remember coming to Garden of the Gods (and Colorado) for the first time and I remember how I felt, and I’m sure these people are feeling the same thing.  But I also have no doubt that these images exist in other people’s feeds and camera rolls with little variation.  That said, they deserve to be seen, and although I’ve been a bit critical what I’m trying to say is that these images are nothing special without the addition of the people who made them.