Matt Jones

The Broken Camera

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One day, I went out with a broken Kodak camera… the focus didn't work. I didn't really care, I just went to see what happened. It was about 9pm and as the sun was dipping below the horizon, it draped an orange light over the beach.

I walked past a chalet with a plastic chair and a red litter bin outside, a bored kid wandering aimlessly, just as I was. I was photographing for the sake of it, for the pleasure of just taking pictures.


To the right, grass covered sand dunes blocked my view of the sea. Instead, there was a red lamp-post and another red litter bin, so I photographed them.

I wanted to see the sea, so I walked towards the dunes and took another picture. People had walked my route before, the grass worn down to the sand as they zig-zagged their way up the incline and closer to the water.

People like to look out to sea, I'm sure there is a unique part of the human brain solely geared for responding in some way to the sea. It makes you want to take a picture.


Once over the dune, I looked back to see two figures as the sun disappeared behind them. I wasn't aware of them at the time, I only realised they had been there when I looked at the image.

I walked away from the beach and onto the road where there was another red lamp-post and something unknown that was blue, so I photographed what I could see.


There is no conclusion to this story, only a kind of moral; that sometimes it is best to give creative control to ‘chance’. This works well with the medium of analog photography, because there are so many unknown variables, but I've been thinking about ways in which this could be applied to web design and how designers might free themselves from formulaic designing by working in this way.