If the early 2010’s saw us grow out of heavy Instagram filters and into the clean, borderless look of professional photography, the late 2010s has marked a return to something grittier. Perhaps because shitty, disposable photos — bonus points for unnecessary flash and a timestamp — suggest a certain ephemeral preciousness that feels foreign in the era of smartphones and unlimited cloud storage. But running your best iPhone shot through a filter titled “1998” can never properly transmit the thrill and anxiety of watching the counter tick down from 27 on your disposable camera. Of having one chance to get the shot. That’s why we challenged Marie Claire’s Design Director Wanyi Jiang to capture a week of her life through a single roll of disposable film. Scroll down to see what she chose to capture and explore the beauty of limits.
1) My last sunset living in Hell’s Kitchen. I’ve been there for SEVEN years. The light was green and I totally stopped in the middle of the street to take this picture.
2) Wow I look like Saddie McPhee here (that’s a sad person’s nickname, not a sad Katharine McPhee). I think I was super stressed that day. A lot of recent life changes for me. Sometimes it follows me to work, but I try my best to not let it live there. My friend Julia actually wanted to retake this photo but, hey – this is more real, right?
3) This will be the day I got my NEW KEYS! It’s 90º outside! The back of my knees are sweaty! I’m so happy!
4) My movers arrived in this truck. It’s fabulous. They were too, but I was too shy to ask them to take photos with me.
5) It’s my new stoop! My sister went and bought plants with me. She’s the love of my life. We live five blocks away from each other now. I’m not a stalker, you’re a stalker.
6) I love pitbulls more than life. My old neighborhood has a grey pitbull named Luca, whose owner called him Loco sometimes. His head was gigantic and we looked alike. I was sad to leave him, but that’s when I met GUCCI. It’s a good sign when the first dog you meet on move-in day looks like Falcor from The NeverEnding Story and is named GUCCI, right?
7) Home! You know that scene where Daisy Buchanan (played by Mia Farrow) is lounging on her chase while the wind breezes through the curtains and she’s looking deliciously bored? This is the opposite of that. I’m so happy I’m about to pee.
8) The sky on moving night. Reminds me of the original Into the Woods poster from the Broadway soundtrack.
9) First morning in the new home. Doesn’t my hand look like the hand of death in the Tale of the Three Brothers story in Deathly Hallows? Sorry if you never watched Harry Potter. The picture on the right is a charcoal drawing my friend did of Jeremy Irons, my ultimate celebrity crush. He touched my hand once at the stage door of the BAM where he was acting in A Long Journey Into Night, and I got to hold his dog, Smudge. If you can name your dog Smudge, you can win an Oscar. It worked for Jeremy Irons.
10) There’s a farmer’s market every Sunday! I wanted to buy these flowers, but the nice couple behind me said I could have them for free. I asked them which bunch to take and they told me to take both! It felt like all the good things were happening in synchronicity. I don’t know if you believe in those things, but I feel very very grateful. And also — I know I’m using a plastic straw here. That’s next on my list to change. Shout to to my pregnant friend Sue for taking this picture. If you see her, please tell her she’s the hottest pregnant person you’ve ever seen. Not only will you be telling the truth, you will make her very happy.
11) Hi it’s Bella not-Hadid and me! We found two french tourists to ask for photos but they didn’t speak English, so I said, “un photo? pour moi?” and I’m pretty much French now. I kid. Bella is one of those girls whose style is so inherent and GOOD that every time you go to the office, you go “I wonder what Bella’s wearing?” And her nails are always done. Last time I saw them, they were Ninja Turtle green.
12) This dog and I were watching a guy talk to pigeons. Yes you can read that sentence again because it happened.
13) The cable guy came and he had to go to the roof to reboot the connection. So that sentence was a waste because I climbed up to the ROOF with him! There’s a ROOF! And it’s not actually for people to hang out there, but the city looks like THIS at 8:30 p.m.! The cable guy, Vladimir (great name), thought I was crazy. Not not true?
14) I just walked by Cooper Union. Fun fact: I applied there for design school but didn’t get in, so I went to SVA instead, where I met my teacher Rob Best, who gave me my first editorial design job at Condé Nast Traveler. So the lesson is, be grateful for your “failures” because they may bring you to your successes. How’s that for WANfucious says?
15) These magazines on display at The Standard are pretty.
16) Right after meeting Gabriela Pelletier from Lisa Says Gah at their New York Pop-Up shop. She is a gem. No, truly. The girl is a fighter. That’s all I gotta say.
17) Is this a failed bathroom selfie? I’m about to leave for my friend Julia’s high school-themed birthday party. Get ready.
18) Wow, we’ve really grown up. (The fact that she still fits into her high school prom dress is…such a fact). I’m wearing a polyester 90’s dress I found two birthdays ago at the Vintage Twin. I was going for a Kate-Moss-in-the-Narcisso-for-Calvin-Klein-yellow-dress vibe and I think I almost got it. I also fell down the stairs of my stoop before getting to this party. I wish I could have taken a video of that because the slow-mo would have been super chic.
19) I think 3LW was playing in the background. I love how happy Julia looks here.
20) Julia had a barbie dreamhouse. My creative director Kate took this photo. She’s very creative.
21) That’s Kate! Isn’t she gorge?
22) Failed mirror selfie number 2?
23) Jonathan’s going to kill me for putting up this photo but I had to prove that he actually was the one taking the next few photos of me. Yes it’s that Jonathan. Van Ness. He has been the PUREST FRIEND, and I really can’t emphasize how genuine of a person he is. He’s 100% good, although he will tell you his middle name is Petty.
24) I wanted to take a normal photo but he told me to pretend I’m Charlotte York and whip my left boob out. Whatever, I did it. I’m a slut.
25) This is his famous “where are my dragons” spin. He has a show on Funny or Die called Gay of Thrones. They review Game of Thrones with parody names and end each episode with the epic spin and say “Where are. My dragons.” I pretty much let JVN art direct my life. Which brings us to…
26) He put hearts in my hair. He said it was a Kendall Jenner thing? I don’t know? I’m not with the times? But I love Jonathan? No question mark. Just hearts.
27) Ah, the last sky pic. I love the birds. It’s been fun, exciting, stressful (because I didn’t know when to take the photos because every pic was so precioussssss, but mostly just F-U-N). Thanks for having me MR!