Photographer Skyler Adams had a case of gear acquisition syndrome, a term often used by people feel who feel an urge to own the latest and greatest equipment for their professions or hobbies.
"I got into photography a few years ago and being an over optimizing kind of person, I searched for the best camera for the price," Adams told A Plus. "As I grew more experienced, I got into the art of images, but everywhere on the internet I found the discussion on photography devolving into people comparing things they owned or arguing that one camera's specifications are better than another, making it the better buy. Overall, everyone cares about what a good deal they got, or how much they spent and therefore how pro they are."
To challenge himself, and perhaps this notion, Adams decided to use a $1 Canon Sure Shot camera that he found in a junk drawer in a Japanese thrift shop for one month. He purchased a roll of Fujifilm Superia 400 film for the camera, which was also priced at $1. "I decided to push them to their limits to see what I could achieve for so little money," he said.
Adams used this opportunity as a light study. "I'm fascinated by the way light flows over objects. We can't see where light is traveling, only where it comes from and where it ends up. It comes from so many different sources and is colored and shaped in many ways, leaving interesting and unpredictable patterns across one's view," he said.
Adams was pleased with the results and posted about his project on PetaPixel, where it was widely shared.
"I've gotten a lot of positive reaction from this project and I've helped a handful of people with their own cheap film cameras. I think cheap film cameras are in an interesting spot because each shot costs you money. However, the pictures themselves have a chance of turning out bad because of the cheap old technology. You become OK with missing a shot or making an imperfect photo. It's a cool limitation that I think brings a lot of creativity to the medium. Much like how Snapchat forces you to take photos inside the app, so the photos you send have the same sort of cellphone look to them. You can't grab a nicer photo out of a bunch you took earlier," Adams said. "A lot of backlash from this project is from people that say that, of course, nice cameras are better. I'm not disputing that. Professional cameras can do oodles more than I can with a $1 camera. But I can still make pictures I'm proud of and other people enjoy."
Check out photos from his project below: