Disposable cameras, for most of us, are something that ceased being relevant shortly after the digital point and shoot revolution happened. Still, the nostalgia of that experience is fun to relive now and then – which is why you can still find them all over.
WhiteAlbum is a new app that wants to bring that disposable camera experience into the Internet age. The app lets you take 24 images, but does not let you see them. No filters, no retakes. You get 24 images, and then at the end, you have the option to get an album of 4×5 ‘Polaroid style’ prints shipped to you for $20 (including shipping).
The first time that you see the images that you took will be when your prints arrive in the mail. It is a rather interesting concept that I can see being very popular with the wannabe hipster crowd. I say ‘wannabe’ because of course a ‘real’ hipster would be using a real disposable camera, or shooting with a film SLR.
All joking aside. I find myself both very intrigued by this, and baffled by it. $20 is not cheap, not by a long shot. I work part time at a local camera store; our 4×6 prints cost 30 cents a piece – which is actually on the higher end in our area – making my total cost to print these same exact images would be something like $7.20. Adding on the shipping, which I can’t imagine is more than $5, comes to something like $8 profit per album.
Not a terrible profit margin, and I am sure the prints are of a higher quality than bargain Walmart prints, but I fail to see how anyone in their right mind would seriously choose this over just going and getting some prints done. Granted, I also understand that the prints themselves are not really the point.
The point is the experience. The experience of not knowing what is coming or what the images will look like. I can see doing this a couple of times for nostalgia’s sake, but I find it hard to believe that the app will get many regular users. It just seems like an expensive gimmick for those longing for days/technologies past.
For more information on WhiteAlbum, you can check out their page in the iTunes App Store.
What are your thoughts on this WhiteAlbum app? Do you see apps like this, which thrive on nostalgia and bringing to life old experiences, as viable entities, or are they doomed to fade like the physical objects they try so hard to emulate?