Disposable Cameras Make Me Happy

Text: Aleksandra Klimowicz

All photos from: Aleksandra Klimowicz *** chronic_existential_crisis

Just over a year ago I found myself en route to a surf camp in the south of France, where I was due to work for the month of July. Initially I had had mixed feelings about swapping my apartment in the centre of Barcelona for a shared tent in a poorly shaded field. I knew close to nothing about what I would be doing, where I would be staying, and what my day-to-day life would look like. I had also never tried surfing in my life. A couple of weeks after my arrival, I had broken my phone, found a job in a kitchen, and extended the trip to two months.

That summer was filled with late evenings that turned in the blink of an eye from sitting around doing nothing to some of the best nights of my life. And it was all because of the people who were there: people who introduced me to ways of travel, work, and living that I hadn’t taken under consideration before; people who played an indispensable role in shifting my goals and priorities; people who gave me a home away from home.

I was completely off the grid without much access to the Internet or the outside world. Lacking technology delighted me in almost every way, except for one key problem. Due to some bad planning I had been left without a camera to take with me; I was stranded in paradise without any way of documenting it. That is, until I came across a small store tucked away in the centre of San Sebastian that we would visit each Wednesday, which sold disposable cameras.

Developing the photos swiftly became a weekly tradition. I spent the weeks capturing my life between swells, smiling, sun-kissed faces, late nights, and purple sunsets. When I came home I had amassed kilograms of sand, (very) basic surfing skills, and seven envelopes of photos. Two more were lost at sea before the summer ended.

Returning to Barcelona meant walking up stairs instead of up beaches, carrying keys in my pockets instead of seashells, and having a working phone. All of a sudden, the life I had been living just eight weeks before felt totally alien and I realized home is not always a place. Sometimes, it’s a stack of disposable pictures.

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