Kitschy 1980s cameras proved popular

David Heitz

Go ahead and “shoot” me. My love affair with the camera began with a Polaroid at Christmastime.

Who can forget them – the hottest technological advance in photography since film?

Polaroid One Step a 1980s icon

At least that’s how amateur photographers view them. Even though the pictures were awful, how amazing that they instantly popped right out of the camera. No developing needed.

In fact, it was kitsch. But who doesn’t love a little kitsch now and then?

The little motor even made a cute little buzzing sound when it popped out the picture.

Don’t you want to remember James Garner and Mariette Hartley’s love affair? It was Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd before Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

They peddled the One Step and the Sun Camera ($39.95 in 1983, a hell of a lot of money). See for yourself by clicking right here.

But look where we are today. Today’s modern cell phone camera is far from kitsch. Not only do they take incredible pictures, but tens of millions of Americans have this device with them everywhere they go.

It’s absolutely transforming to our culture and the way information is delivered, with everyone now “live on the scene.”

People expect more from those who provide information than the “5 Ws and the H” of traditional journalism. The 5 Ws of reporting are Who, What, When, Where, and Why. The “H” is for How.

They want information that contains context specific to their interests, provided by people with similar interests.

Sleek Kodak Disc made for stealth

You can watch this kitschy1982 commercial for the Kodak Disc.

I remember when mom bought me a Kodak Disc. I loved it. A thin wheel of film kept less than 20 pictures inside the camera. Imagine a camera the size of a large cell phone, but thicker. That’s sort of what the Disc looked like.

I remember at my Grandma Heitz’s funeral, Aunt Mary whipped a Kodak Disc out of her purse and shot a photo of grandma before they closed the casket.

I was shocked, but lots of people do it. My point is, I thought it was the ultimate stealth move with the Kodak Disc, which was intended to be stealthy.

Who can forget the advertisements on television?

Now we have the Polaroid and the Disc all rolled into one. And then some.
Gerd Altmann/Unsplash

Galaxy contains nice camera

The modern-day cell phone has brought out a love for photography in me that always has been there. Now it’s so easy to nurture.

The best cell phone camera I ever had was my Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. I put it in an Otter Box Defender to give it bulk and weight like my S5 had.

I was a total 80s geek. I was always taking pictures with my Polaroid One Step and Kodak Disc cameras.

I always had a camera because my mother also was a fan of cameras. We had a slew of fad cameras from the Instamatic to the Ektralite, both made by Kodak.

In fact, when my mom died, my brother asked me would I like any of her belongings. I took her 35-millimeter camera and a Bunn coffee maker back with me on the airplane to Los Angeles.

And I guess I never realized the profundity of that until this very moment. Because mom began pouring me coffee and buying me cameras when I was about eight years old. Both have proved to be two of my favorite pastimes.

Connecting with nature in HD

For me, photography is a fun escape. Writing is too, of course.

But with these incredible cameras on our phones, it makes it easier for me to try new, creative things with photography. It encourages me to take more pictures.

I’m going to start going out and shooting pictures of nature. It might sound kind of funny but taking pictures of nature can induce calmness.

Denver’s critters are so tame. Especially the squirrels.

In every moment, there is a picture. But how much better can cameras possibly get?

We’ve perfected the Polaroid One-Step, that’s for sure. Today’s instant, digital pictures have changed the world.


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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO

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