Mickey Alice Kwapis

taxidermy & craft

MISTAKES ON FILM - 35MM

I enjoy shooting film with a good old-fashioned plastic drugstore camera. A few years ago, Walgreens had an amazing deal. For something like $29 you could buy a "lifetime" camera - a plastic camera that came pre-loaded with Walgreens' own brand of ISO 400 film. Each time you shot a roll and brought it to Walgreens to be developed, they would load a new roll into it. I figured out a few hacks - I bought two cameras so I could get more free film, I figured out how to unload the film still unexposed so I could use it in my other cameras, and I hacked the plastic cameras themselves for light leaks and double-exposures. It came with a wrist strap, so sometimes the camera would fire accidentally. This is what I ended up with over the years - a series of "mistakes" that I've actually grown to love.

Occasionally when film is being processed, the ends get scanned, including stickers.

Occasionally when film is being processed, the ends get scanned, including stickers.

The skirt of my favorite dress, while I was walking to Oslo Sushi (RIP) in Detroit.

The skirt of my favorite dress, while I was walking to Oslo Sushi (RIP) in Detroit.

I was actually trying to take a photo of graffiti on a peeling cement column in an abandoned building and ended up with a photo of my friend Aaron and his dog Bear instead. This is one of my favorite photos EVER.

I was actually trying to take a photo of graffiti on a peeling cement column in an abandoned building and ended up with a photo of my friend Aaron and his dog Bear instead. This is one of my favorite photos EVER.

I don't know what this was supposed to be.

I don't know what this was supposed to be.

A kiddie pool in my parents' backyard.

A kiddie pool in my parents' backyard.

Lindsey's butt, circa the few years when she refused to wear underpants no matter what. The hand is not hers.

Lindsey's butt, circa the few years when she refused to wear underpants no matter what. The hand is not hers.

A sunset during traffic, which was taken with a single exposure. I'm not sure what happened but I really dig the effect.

A sunset during traffic, which was taken with a single exposure. I'm not sure what happened but I really dig the effect.

A rock.

A rock.

I dropped my camera on the cement, inadvertently taking a portrait of my lovely foot while also causing light leaks.

I dropped my camera on the cement, inadvertently taking a portrait of my lovely foot while also causing light leaks.

I think this happened when I dropped my camera at a friend's wedding and also forgot to wind the film a full frame first.

I think this happened when I dropped my camera at a friend's wedding and also forgot to wind the film a full frame first.

This is Matt. Or maybe Satan. No idea where the hellfire effect came from.

This is Matt. Or maybe Satan. No idea where the hellfire effect came from.

The end of a roll, complete with a photo of the entrance of the Walgreens store where I had bought the camera and was getting my film developed.

The end of a roll, complete with a photo of the entrance of the Walgreens store where I had bought the camera and was getting my film developed.

I adore experimenting with film and seeing what the results are. Often they aren't what I expect, especially when I manipulate both the film and the camera a whole bunch, but some of my "mistakes" are actually a few of my favorites. While Walgreens no longer sells this camera, you can buy similar reusable plastic cameras on eBay or you can try experimenting with disposable cameras. If you send a roll of film to be developed, make sure you let the technician know that they shouldn't be expecting a roll of perfect images and that they should scan every frame anyway!

Mickey Alice Kwapis is a Chicago-based taxidermist, jeweler, and person who does a lot of stuff. All site content ©2011-2017 Mickey Alice Kwapis and Niche Lab LLC. Questions? Use the contact form.