Last weekend I found two old digital cameras at a garage sale and bought them for the kids to play around with. They were Nikon Coolpix from I think the late 90s and they were practically free. The cameras came with accessories to charge and download but no cards. So when I got home I hunted around and found two old Compact Flash cards from several years back. One was 64MB and the other 128MB. Both of these were top-of-the line capacities when I bought them maybe five years ago.
When the kids had had their fun and filled their cards I downloaded them onto my computer to get a look into their world. Their world is generally close and blurry.
But tucked into the front of the memory were about 30 images I'd taken and forgotten about from another camera. In fact these were from the first digital camera I'd ever bought, a Canon G3 (with the cards). It had been a great camera until I'd dropped it, mashing the zoom lens back into the body. In the process of determining that the lens was inoperable, I'd taken these 30 photos as test shots. The camera didn't work and I threw it in a drawer without ever looking at the images...until now.
Turns out the images have a certain charm to them. They feel to me like how a spider or grasshopper using a Holga might see things. The vignetting is from the lens tube jutting out at an angle past the mashed lens.
When I first saw these they were mixed in with photos the kids had taken. I was frantic to figure out how they done it. "Which button did you push? Do you remember what you did here?" The kids were nonplussed. They had just pushed the big shiny button and why was I freaking? After I'd calmed a little I realized what had happened. The G3 is still in my drawer but I have no wires to charge or access it.