Sunday, 1 January 2012

Bloody Hipsters

Hipstamatic is a great app, don't get me wrong, but i have some gripes with it and what it has done to casual photography.

Basically, the app mimics an old Hipstamatic 100 camera from the 1980's by using various digital filters. Lenses, film roll and flashes can be changed to produce different effects. The overall finish to your pictures is retro styling, with altered hues and saturations, faded edges etc. etc.

My main problem with the app is the implied emotional content contained within the images. By mimicking our old printed photographs they instantly form an association with our past. Pictures of angry rows, war photography, or even photographed turds are suddenly transformed into warm memories of the distant past.

A result of this is that it limits the photographers emotional vocabulary. I'm not saying the pictures don't look good, it's just that they all start to feel a bit samey.

Really good photos capture a moment in time which is meaningful. A lot of the time there isn't an exciting moment to be captured, but the app is good at transforming less exciting moments into reminiscent ones by visual association. A down shot of this is that good photos can be ruined, especially if the content isn't fitting with the emotional overlay.

That said, retro stuff looks cool. So there.

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