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Thread: Hipstamatic

  1. #1


    I was leafing through the Guardian newspaper (yesterday) and came across an article about "Hipstamatic" - an iPhone app that turns your mobile phone camera into a toy/plastic/pinhole camera. It appears that young "hipsters" have been using plastic cameras with ACTUAL FILM and this app was designed to make it easier. It even has a bogus background story about two guys making paltic cameras.
    What do you think? What does this mean? Do these "Hipstamatic" images have merit? Are such simulacra identifiable? Should we be worried?


  2. #2


    I'M ALL FOR IT !

    As mad as it might have seemed to a luddite like me a few years back, I quite like the idea that lo-fi images are within easy reach of everyone through the hipstamatic app on iphones.

    In many instances it does tempt people who have maybe never tried film before to give it a go.

    There are some fantastic images captured on flickr pages should anyone wish to search.

    A couple of people I know have some great 'hipsta' images with textures applied and they are more concerned with the finished product than how they made the journey, so to speak.

    One person I know is from Warrenpoint and she takes fantastic images whether or not she uses a Holga, a Mamiya C330 or a iPhone. Btw, she tells me she has a 5x4 pinhole that she has been meaning to use but hasn't quite got round to that....yet!

    This is one image from her flickr page..

    Good thread Doctor John.

  3. #3


    Judging by a quick look at the images on the Flickr group page, I cannot say this is a bad thing. If people are making interesting images that way, so be it. What matters ultimately is that they are interesting images. No matter how much we care about specific processes and techniques, the endpoint of photography is, well, a photograph, and if some people like getting to that endpoint one way rather than another, so be it. This is not to say the "journey" does not matter, but it matters at the level of the individual practitioner. I, for example, like using larger, slower-handling cameras loaded with film, because I think I get better images that way: being forced to work more slowly makes me pay attention more, keeps me thinking about what I'm doing, and the irreversibility of film exposures keeps me honest. Whenever I go out and make digital images, I always shoot a whole lot more, but I don't think my yield is anywhere near as high. So would I do well with a Hipstamatic app? Probably not. But should I be disdainful of those who do well with them? I don't think so.

    I should note that my thinking about this has been greatly influenced by a radio piece on NPR last month (or so) about David Hockney using is iPad and iPhone to "paint." My first thought was to roll my eyes, but then I listened to the whole piece and, more importantly, checked out some of the images he was making. They were fantastic! So, if Hockney wants to go that way, by all means.

  4. #4


    I use a BUNCH (accidentally hit the caps lock there but it seems appro) of different cameras, some were expensive and others cost me nothing because I made them. Hipstas go for LoFi, and it's obvious why. Trends like this come and go. I own a Panasonic LX5, it has a 'Pinhole' mode but for me it's pointless. That's because for me pinhole and film are inextricably linked and I have no interest in digital pinhole. Tho in this case it's merely an FX, a lens based number crunching algorhythm. Exactly what pinhole isn't. But maybe this stuff, the iphone app and other things immitating lofi are fun and adifferent and a pleasant antidote to super HDR images and ott high tonal contrast sharpness. Really does it matter? Each to his own.

  5. #5


    Looks like a fun app, and why not?
    There are some nice results posted there, and if it gets more people interested in photography, it's a Good Thing!
    I'll give it a try, myself...


  6. #6


    It looks like a fun app, and for $1.99, maybe why not?

    The wet blanket in me, though tends to frown upon efforts like this app because it applies a sterotype, someone else's concepts, to work that should be an artist's own original discovery and experience. While this app seems to try and make things look like plastic toy cameras, I've seen the same thing with pinhole. The standard stereotype of the "pinhole look" is wide-angle, fuzzy and vignetted, effects that can be easily achieved through digital manipulation, either free-hand in Photoshop or pre-programmed in an app. Two comments that I often hear about my own work are "boy, is that detailed" and "I didn't know you could do color with pinhole."

    I'm not a complete luddite, though. Using tools like this can be fun and authentic; but to me they are a different authenticity than using plastic or pinhole and film or paper in the first place. Plus, I enjoy my cell phone camera thoroughly and use it a lot.

  7. #7


    there are many paths to good art.. its not a question of how hard the path is.. its more a question of how much of your self you put into the journey (IMHO)

    I tend to agree with DRC on this.. in photography as well as other disciplines..

    Quote Originally Posted by 1598
    ... being forced to work more slowly makes me pay attention more, keeps me thinking about what I'm doing, and the irreversibility of film exposures keeps me honest.
    lol.. good to see Atari is making a comeback..

  8. #8
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    I voted Atari Jaguar. This is not pinhole, nor can any lens-based system ever profess to be. I will not be downloading it for my iPhone, but I don't mind if others do.

    I don't see how this can get people interested in either toy cameras or pinhole photography because it is antithetical to both. The image itself is only a small part of the appeal of all of these types of photography. The Hipstamatic user will never have to use black tape to seal up the light leaks in their phone.

    This app might make wonderful images, and that's cool, but we should call them Hipstamatic images, and not pretend that they are something that they are not.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by 560

    This app might make wonderful images, and that's cool, but we should call them Hipstamatic images, and not pretend that they are something that they are not.
    I have a feeling the folks using the app will do just that. I have seen images on FB labeled as such and, unhipster that I am, was clueless to what that meant.

    It is photography and it is fun; sometimes that should be enough.

  10. #10
    500+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    Jan 2009


    People can produce images anyway there want, as long as they don't label them as sometime there not.
    This kind of makes my Komax plastic len digital cool too!

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