Early project issues..
So, we’re only three months into the project, but have already come up against a number of serious issues in running the project – mostly around the logistics of shipping cameras to and from people.
We’ve sent out around 15 cameras so far, to the UK, South America, Italy, USA, etc.
Sending the cameras has not been a problem, we’ve been using the Royal Mail’s wonderful ‘print your own postage’ service, which saves on licking stamps and hand writing shipping labels.
However, receiving them has been a major issue.
First of all, there is no standardised method of paying for international postage.
For the UK cameras, we’ve been including a pre-paid envelope, which people can just drop back into the post.
For the non-UK cameras, we’ve been liasing with each member of The 100 to sort out shipping the camera back using the best local mail service.
(If anyone knows of a solution to this, please, do let us know!)
In the case of #42 Pedro Infantas, who is based in Peru, he hasn’t even been allowed to send the camera back, his local post offices demanding to see a receipt of purchase of the original cameras, citing that it’s actually the UK Royal Mail who demand this. We’ve ended up getting the film developed locally, before it can return home.
Even within the UK, we’re having problems though.
We’ve got two cameras missing in action. Sent over three weeks ago in both cases, two cameras haven’t arrived yet. Perhaps stupidly, we haven’t been using registered post (the service in the UK which tracks your parcels), mostly due to cost (i’m about to write a post about our project running costs, so you’ll understand why) and partially due to simplicity (we can print postage and drop the cameras in the post if there is no registered post, but having your parcel tracked means having to go to the post office.. 100 times
I’m not sure whether they’ll turn up late, or if the Royal Mail are taking issue with the cameras for some reason. I know that, for instance, you cannot send disposable cameras via air-mail from Australia, due to the batteries contained within. I also know that Royal Mail do not allow certain types of batteries to be shipped not in their original packaging, but considering they arrived at the recipients okay, this seems odd.
And, #22 Kate Banahan’s camera even got opened by security at an airport – despite it only having traveled within the UK (who knows why it went to an airport?!)
If anyone has friends at Royal Mail who can help us find a more reliable way of shipping cameras around, do put them in contact with us. We’ll be trying to speak to them too, and seeing if they can help us in any way.
I hope this early high-failure rate doesn’t plague the rest of the project.