Here’s an intro I never thought I’d write: It started with JoJo Siwa. Or rather, it started with JoJo Siwa ringing in the summer by declaring, “I’ve got two new obsessions…. Film and Beach.” Then, just last week, there was Zaya Wade (the future, the moment). This isn’t an “I’m following the advice of teenagers” sort of thing, but it’s pretty hard not to notice that queer teens online have become deeply obsessed with film cameras again. And I understand! I fail Movie. I miss how forgiving it is (sorry none of us should be filmed in HD). I miss how even when you’re looking at a film photo on your phone or computer, it somehow feels more tangible? Memories immediately feel better in the film, they just do. But I’m a 90’s kid and an 80’s teenager – I know what it’s like to take your stuff to CVS and have to walk around bored for an hour just to get your prints. I know what it means to wait for your photos for days. And I don’t have time for that. That’s why Beyoncé created the phone cameras (don’t tell me, I don’t check if that’s true). So I started looking for a scammer instead. Something that would get me as close as possible to the greatness that fast film frankly portrays without the hassle because I’m lazy. So we ended up here. I’m obsessed with an app called Dazz Cam.
This is where it gets tricky because (photographers look away) – I don’t really know photographic words to explain why it works so well the way it does. I’m just a queer person who misses the effortless sophistication that comes with soft lighting and I want to share it with my internet friends. There’s one thing that happens with Huji filters where almost everything has that overexposed faded red streak (which is a mood but not always real) and Instagram film camera filters can be clocked in a second by anyone who actually puts their mind to it remembers that Carson Daly hosts TRL. I’m looking for ’00s authenticity! Dazz Cam lighting feels… organic? Not forced? (Again, photographers look the other way!) There’s a graininess (is that a thing? Let’s call it a thing!) and a slight blur in the photos that can’t be reproduced. The end result is subtle but compelling. It’s nostalgic. And everything looks so mf’ing good??
Here’s the basics: When you download Dazz Cam, the app gives you a variety of “Camera” options (there’s a certain amount free with the app and a certain amount that comes with the purchased “Pro” version — After about a month I was obsessed enough to buy the Pro. No judgment here! We’re all friends, okay??). I just opened my app and count around 24 cameras? Plus maybe 10 more for videos? Each camera has an icon attached to it to remind you what the original camera looked like back then – it’s been a long time since I’ve held a real camera, I can tell you that much. I’ve played with all of them, but I always come back to the “FunSize” (it’s the plastic single-use camera with the yellow and red label? REMEMBER!) and the “Classic”. There are really good fake Polaroids out there too.
After you choose, either take your photos live or upload them from your camera roll. I find the latter infinitely easier. Then it does its little… app magic?? (Wow, nobody should trust me to do a product review!) and it turns your digital photos into film dupes. I can’t explain how addictive it is? I know I hate photos. My Instagram is damn close to a graveyard. And now I just can’t stop?
Film cameras on your phone! What concept?