Imagine this. You’re in your early twenties. It is a ‘difficult’ and ‘defining’ moment, made even more ‘difficult’ and ‘defining’ by how ‘difficult’ and ‘defining’ everyone keeps saying it is. Who you become now will be who you are for the rest of your life. You balance your career, social life and fitness in one hand whilst juggling crippling debt, borderline alcoholism and an irrational fear of death with the other. Your life is a whirlwind of patronising interviews, disappointing nights out and social media drama. In fact forget early twenties, call it 18 to, I don’t know, let’s call it 16+.
Then, in a not-so-rare moment of introspection, you think: why aren’t I interesting? Everyone else has got something interesting in their life, something that they do or make that they seem to be able to talk about endlessly. Why haven’t I got that special something? Whether it’s the almost impossibly relaxed man next door and his Indonesian Longboarding, or the slightly intense woman at work who can’t seem to decide whether her paintings are impressionist or expressionist, they all manage to be interesting and yet somehow simultaneously impossibly* boring. You would try Indonesian Longboarding, but you couldn’t balance on a skateboard when you were eight and you’ve never been to Indonesia (although you’re beginning to suspect that Mr. Calm hasn’t either) and you would try painting, but it seems like a lot of effort and your first attempts would have been ridiculed when you were in primary school. You’ve tried photography, but everyone does it.
Enter the Instant Camera, stage left. In your desperation you forked out £60 on an instant camera. Everything about it sounds good: instant gratification, no effort required. The cute little instant photos are the perfect format for boring people to death at home, or on the go. However, your first shot is a blurry picture of some flowers, held the requisite 0.6 metres away so that most of the shot is taken up with a kitschy pot your grandad bought from a garden centre and no longer wanted, your second is of your own face with your eyes closed, and your third is inexplicably and soul-destroyingly entirely** black. It is at about this point that the whole format frustrates you and you have almost given up on ever being an interesting person.
Enter the Fuji Instax Share SP-1 Printer, stage right. This printer fills the gap in the market between easy to use and accessible yet ubiquitous smartphone cameras and impossible to use and frustrating yet somehow interesting instant cameras, and simultaneously fills the gap in my soul where Indonesian Longboarding could have been. You can take a photo on your phone, add a filter, upload it to Facebook, print out your photo on an interesting bit of film, wave it around a bit, take a photo of your photo, add another, different filter and then upload it to Facebook again. It’s the ultimate fusion of analogue and digital that no-one can ignore. All of a sudden you’re holding in your hand an airbrushed super close-up photo of a butterfly, a time lapse of some glow sticks which was timed to perfection, and someone else’s photo that you didn’t even take but kind of liked the look of. It’s REAL photography. You can show these to anyone, online or in real life at any time: no-one is safe.
If you’ve got your eyes closed, just take it again. If you’ve got a terrible hangover and are ridiculously pale, just add a filter. If you’ve got an inconspicuous zit, just edit it out. If the photo is irredeemably awful, then just don’t print out that abomination in the first place. You won’t waste film, all of your shots will be perfectly crafted masterpieces in their own right. You will have the perfect memento for any occasion, an easy yet thoughtful birthday gift for those people that somehow span the gap between friends and acquaintances, and something to stick on your wall that makes you feel just a little bit less heart-breakingly, gut-wrenchingly, agonisingly and unimaginably*** empty inside.
In summary: should you buy a Fuji Instax Share SP-1 Printer? Yes you fucking should.
Exit pursued by a bear.
* I’ve always worked on the principle that the quality of a piece of writing is directly proportional to the number of adverbs used.
** Three in a row, baby!
*** You can never have too many.