Here is something a little different: I’m toying with publishing posts straight from my iPhone. I take a lot of photos using the Hipstamatic app, and I love the convenience of having a camera in my pocket; some of the effects are a little gimmicky, but it’s not supposed to be taken too seriously! There a some interesting combinations of “lenses” and “films”, and the combinations can be endless–each producing a new effect in the final shot. One thing I do like is that you can’t add effects after the shot is made, a la Instagram, and even have to wait a few moments while the picture “develops”. It’s film photography for the digital hipster generation 🙂
In all seriousness, I am starting a new project (or started it a few weeks ago, really) that will last most of the summer and into the fall. It’s titled “Summer Job”, and documents my experience working this summer. I won’t give away too many details; you’ll see it when it’s done, but I will upload a shot every now and then from the series just to let you know it’s still going.
I’m also putting the finishing touches on my website! Don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere–I’ll continue to blog here regularly, and you can get to the blog via a link on my website once it’s ready. I’m hoping to have it up starting next week, but it all depends on how much I can get done in the next few days so that it is ready to go. Making a website seems like it should be pretty easy, but it’s never as easy as it seems. Every time I have tried in the past, I have found out that it is actually deceptively difficult.
Back to the photos for todays post: I really enjoy the Hipstamatic app. I have always enjoyed the square format, starting with my first experiences with medium format using a Holga back in my undergraduate days. Since then I have used (and owned) a few other medium format cameras, including my beloved Hasselblad 501CM. Shooting squares just seems natural to me, for some reason. When I shoot the standard rectangular format, I find myself constantly shooting in portrait orientation (vertical) rather than the more frequently seen horizontal format. I am not sure why I gravitate toward vertical images, but something pulls me in that direction when I am shooting. Perhaps squares eliminate that choice for me, and so I feel at home with the square; perhaps it is easier to play with symmetry in a square shot. I am not sure.
I intentionally used a variety of effects and combinations of effects to give anyone who has not used Hipstamatic an idea of what you can do with it. Given the amount of “lenses” and “films” you can choose from, there is a huge variety to what you can do to manipulate your image. Each combination produces different effects, since each individual piece has its own characteristics, and one never knows how they will interact until you’ve tried it and checked out the “prints”.
(I use these terms in quotation marks, since they are obviously just terms to describe things that we–or those who know about film photography–are used to, that have in reality nothing to do with their digital compatriots.)
Having a camera in your pocket is tremendously useful, and fun! Having a camera with me at all times allows me to capture things I might otherwise not be able to, and the fact that it’s “just a phone” lets me relax and just snap away. I don’t try to be too serious with shots on my iPhone–the format lends itself to a more whimsical approach, at least in my mind. I know there are some very serious iPhone-shooters out there, but despite the fact that I shoot with it pretty consistently, I wouldn’t say I’m incredibly serious about it. Ultimately, it’s a point-and-shoot that I can live with; there are sacrifices to image quality and resolution, and the Hipstamatic app destroys the ability to edit your photos, as the shots you get out of the app are not reversable. The effects are permanent, but thankfully it’s just anther digital image, so you can just delete it and try again.
So after denigrating the iPhone and Hipstamatic, and the photos I make with them, why do I continue? Well, like I said: it’s all about fun. It’s not serious photography, to me. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make good shots with this combination; you certainly can. People make some pretty fantastic images from Holgas, or even pinhole cameras, so you can make a great shot using any kind of equipment. My intent wasn’t to say iPhone shots don’t have value, but rather that–to me–knowing that I’m just using my phone allows me to relax and take shots I might otherwise not. The danger is using artificial analog filters (such as Hipstamatic, Vintage Camera, Instagram, etc) is that the temptation is there to say that a boring picture is made more interesting by slapping a faux-film filter on it. That is not the case, obviously. The image itself still needs something to capture the attention of the viewer.