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Thread: Hipstamatic

  1. #11


    This can be used to achieve certain end results, and if that's your only concern, then it's fine. I'm sure the right person could use this to make stunning art, if they used it with the right vision and skill. So in that respect I have to vote "I see no difference".

    But I like "slow photography" ( these days - the process is as important as the result. So for me, an effect on an iphone camera is pointless. I don't care if a digital simulation can reproduce a pinhole effect *perfectly* - it's not a pinhole image because I didn't load film into a camera I built myself and go take a long exposure somewhere with it. I don't care if it can reproduce the look of my little projection petzval on my 4x5 speed graphic, if I miss out on the process of shooting with that equipment. So, you know. This "hipstamatic" is kind of a cheap, disposable, canned form of photography, which turns me off for that very reason. Even if the right person might take images with it that would blow my mind and stun me with their artistic beauty (which I'm sure somebody out there can and will do).

  2. #12


    Any time there is a popular trend that requires invested time/energy, someone will come along with a more accessible homage/permutation/imitation for the masses with only a casual interest. This usually stirs debate among those who practice the root form as to whether it cheapens their work or promotes it by generating interest in an accessible manner.

    Most who use this app will probably play with it a while and then lose interest. Those who fall in love with the results they get from it can then transition to physical toy cameras and pinholes.

    Unfortunately, as mentioned, most digital filters to imitate pinhole images fail to capture the key characteristics (DoF, long exposure times, totally rectilinear) because the digital camera does not collect the required light/data (unless in the hands of a knowledgeable individual). Imitating toy lensed cameras seems to be a bit more accurate to the real thing.

    While new iPhone cameras are pretty decent, don't forget that cell phone cameras were their own entire sub-genre of toy cameras, with plastic lenses and low resolution. To me, the link between cell phone cameras and toy cameras is natural.

    Personally, I think it's a good thing for the art form. My local camera shop happens to be one of the few US shops that is focused on toy cameras (I can get pretty much any current Holga, Diana, etc there) and I can see this generating enough interest in some people to generate some business for him. (BTW: The owner always enjoys seeing my home-made cameras and the pics they produce.) Not to mention the fact that I think anything that encourages people to take pictures and think about the aesthetic of the pictures they take is beneficial to the art.

  3. #13


    I got an iPhone last fall; the camera and photo apps are the main reason I did. The iphone 4 camera is outstanding, IMO. I hardly ever *talk* on my phone!

    Hipstamatic was one of the first apps I got, and I have many more photo apps that I play with regularly. I love hipstamatic, and I'm not ashamed to admit it
    There are many combinations of "films" and "lenses" (filters, special effects) to play with, and some of the results are very appealing (to me). Maybe I feel I earned my hipstamatic "credentials" because I have played with real vintage and toy cameras, pinhole, and film for a long time. Hipstamatic is very well designed, compared to a lot of photo apps out there. There's a reason it's so popular. It's FUN!!!

    As far as I know, hipsta doesn't specifically imitate pinhole photography. It's more a "vintage" bent. The effects have names that refer to that.

    I agree that most digital simulations of pinhole aren't that great. My Lumix LX3 has that function, and it's appealing but not like a pinhole image, really. Mistakenly, it simply makes it fuzzy (we know that's not necessarily true), desaturates the colors, and makes a vignetted frame. yawn.

    I have only posted one or two photos on my flickr stream from Hipstamatic, but as mentioned above, there are lots of iphoneography groups, I think at least one dedicated to hipsta. Some people have made some really interesting, even beautiful -to me- images.

    For me, it's all about "play".

    I think if you're into gadgets and don't mind messing around in all parts of the image-making world, you're OK with it.
    Dan Burkholder teaches workshops on iphoneography. Don't know if he includes Hipstamatic (probably not, it's pretty formulaic and the app does most of the work for you).

    Each man and/or woman to his/her own!

  4. #14


    I think it's part of a reasonable and natural progression with digital media. As this site sets out to do in many ways, the best choice for a project or idea may be analog, may be digital, may be digilog. The fact that it is in any part of mainstream material culture automatically qualifies it for fad-dom and/or an early demise, but I don't think it makes it any less valid a tool in the right hands?


  5. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by 673
    I think it's part of a reasonable and natural progression with digital media. As this site sets out to do in many ways, the best choice for a project or idea may be analog, may be digital, may be digilog. The fact that it is in any part of mainstream material culture automatically qualifies it for fad-dom and/or an early demise, but I don't think it makes it any less valid a tool in the right hands?

    if you take a picture on film then scan the film into the computer does that make it analital and if you take a digital picture and print it to a dye transfer or silver based paper it is digilog???

    sorry.. just thinking :-/

  6. #16


    So, after more than a dozen carefully considered opinions and 14 votes (I abstained) it looks like most of us think it's sort of a good thing. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts, and having looked at some hipstamatics...some aren't half bad. Not the real thing though, IMHO.
    Unlike George's (Seiorse's) poll, which gave him a clean bill of health, there was one vote suggesting I need professional help :-/
    I'll have to think about that...No, I'm OK.
    Good to see Atari Jaguar surviving in rude health after George transplanted the concept transatlantic-ally.

  7. #17


    This is a really interesting thread, have read over it all a few times and agree with most of the points made.

    Here's a few things people should know about hipstamatic.

    It has a 'viewfinder' which is roughly about the size of a stamp, so without even being aware that's it actually happening, composition becomes more of a consideration. Most of the 'film' and 'lens' options come with some kind of frame or border, a quick look through some of the dozens of hipstamatic groups on flickr will show that 99% of the pictures are posted without being cropped or rotated. Full frame prints if you like.

    There's (roughly) about a 10 second lag between frames and it's prone to shake, again, without even realizing it, the shooter is forced to slow down, and granted maybe not as slow as 5x4 or 120 or even poor studenty types on 135 desperately trying to get their monies worth of every single frame, but it's a hell of a way off 5 fps and a VR lens.

    This is the bit I really like, it has an in app print ordering service, encouraging people to make either 4x4 or 7x7 prints, actual prints, not pictures on mugs or mousemats or dinky little business cards or any of that jazz... Just prints. Even people who consider themselves 'purists' and who at times go to great lengths to tell anyone who wants to listen "this is a straight scan. no post processing here" have abandoned making prints, which is something I find a bit sad, I mean, isn't so much of the magic of photography in the print?

    Apologies if that comes across a bit ranty, it's not really meant to be, I've had the internal argument in my head for a while, is it really art if it's shot on a camera phone? Is it cheating? Is it a cop out? Is it only good if it's shot on film? Is 120 better than 135? Is large format better? Is slide film better than negative? Are Fiber Prints better than prints made on MG paper? Is it only good if it's sharp enough to be printed on the side of a bus???
    The list could go on and on and get more and more ridiculous.

    I like the app, and, really I have to say I see no difference. A good picture is a good picture.

    Here's a nice little link showing the work of a photographer following a group of soldiers in Afghanistan. All shot on his iPhone, using Hipstamatic. Worth a look.

    And, thanks to George for the link


  8. #18


    A follow-up to my previous post. I just spent the afternoon with a friend who has a similar app on his Droid (not the Hipstamatic, but pretty much the same thing with all sorts of vintage film, camera, and format options). I spent a little time playing with it and I must admit that it was pretty cool: at the touch of a button, you can go from Velvia to Holga to SX-70. Mind you, I'm not rushing out to get one, but I could see how they'd be fun.

    One odd thing, though, is that part of the appeal would appear to depend on already knowing a bit about photography and its pre-digital incarnations. What's the age cut-off for knowing what SX-70 refers to? Does someone without any film experience know what Velvia is? I guess you can just learn the meanings through playing with the camera and figuring out which "looks" you like more (whatever they happened to be called), but it still seems that you won't quite "get it" without already having done "the real thing" or at least knowing a bit about it.

  9. #19


    A lot of very valid and interesting points have been made on this thread and it's great that we have been able to hear from people who have actually used the apps such as Dave and Sinead.

    Btw, I'd like to extend a hearty f295 welcome from all of us to Sinead !

    She will be a great asset to this site and I have great time for her ability as a photographer and as a person.

    Great first post there, Sinead.

    (btw, her username is inspired by her fabulous Springer dog called Jess.)

  10. #20
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    Well, last night I broke down and spent the $1.99 for Hipstamatic for my iPhone 3G. I have only had the phone for a couple of weeks, and this is the first app that I have downloaded. It will be interesting to see if it is worth all the fuss . . .

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