Got My Mojo Working

I found this set of photos on the internal memory of an early compact digital camera made by the company Oregon Scientific, founded in 1989. Oregon Scientific was responsible for a number of firsts in consumer digital technology, including, in 2003, the world’s smallest digital camera.

This camera is the same size as a credit card and 15mm thick. It looks like a prototype and feels like an executive toy. It is made from thin, pressed and powder-coated metal sheet. Embossed on the front, it boasts 2.0M. With a 128mb card inserted, it can take 84 pictures or shoot 14m 04s of silent video. The video cannot be downloaded via USB, only using the separate video port. If you are in a tight spot, the internal memory holds 10 photos, depending on resolution quality, or 1m 04s of video, and, as you can see, it has a very bright flash. It has surprising capability all round, with image resolution and ISO settings, white balance, light sensor, self-timer and a zoom feature. The lens is located in the top right-hand corner of the camera, top left in portrait orientation, which allows it to be manipulated in the hand in the same way one would if using the front-facing camera on a smart phone. Yet it is to be remembered that the screen is on the back of the camera, so when taking self-portraits one cannot see oneself.

Shot with this camera, these images show a young buck orienting himself before a night on the town. The photos were taken between 6.37pm and 8.10pm on Saturday 4th May, 2003. In the first eight shots, he is in the bathroom, rehearsing his poses; throwing shapes, as if before a mirror. There is a gap of about 30 minutes or so, and then, in the final two shots, we see our protagonist transformed, fully in character, booted and suited, buff and quaff-haired, ready to take on the night.

Nigel Martin Shephard

Published by The Family Museum

We are an archival project about amateur family photography, based in London and set up by filmmaker Nigel Shephard and editor Rachael Moloney.

One thought on “Got My Mojo Working

  1. What a great sequence Nigel! It’s interesting the camera still functions. I do have my first Sony digital camera which does still power up but the view screen will no longer display properly. The future of the zillions of digital snaps must keep archivists up at night as the majority seem to remain as fragile digital files. I have one friend who visited from Canada after two years, and still had all his images from the previous trip on his digital camera, never backed up. At least with negatives and prints you have a chance they will lurk in the back of a drawer for years. My favourite here is the full on face flash, I love those sort of accidental shots which end up like works of art.


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