The Apple iPhone has an app that opens the windows of creativity 24/7 with a combination of retro photography (including the app’s name) and cutting edge technology. The app is the Hipstamatic. The app’s site (http://hipstamaticapp.com) states: “Digital photography never looked so analog!” The key word connected to this app is FUN! It is reasonably priced at $1.99 and comes with stock film types, flashes and a variety of lenses – all of them virtual of course using the camera in the iPhone with engaging software magic to provide a tantalizing visual experience.
The app offers a wide range of choices in film, from Japanese color shifted, to infrared black and white, and high contrast black and white to mention only a few. Flash types run the gamut of the standard flash to the more creative and potentially very random “Dreampop” flash and the “Cherry Shine” flash. Unpredictability can be a prominent part of this app depending on the combinations chosen. Many of the lenses mimic the look of such icons of photography as the Holga and the Diana plastic cameras with the vignetted edges and soft focus as well as streaks of tinted lens flare with color film.
Camera controls include a resolution setting, a camera case choice (again virtual) and a viewfinder adjustment that allows for more precise viewing to come closer to what you see is what you get.
All of the photographs shot with the Hipstamatic can be immediately, after their virtual development in the app, shared with direct links to Facebook, Flickr and Tumblr. Photographic C prints can be ordered through the app at Hipstamatic’s worldwide service lab, Color Services, located in Santa Barbara, California (http://www.colorservices.com/)and when using an iPhone 4, with its five megapixel camera, the maximum print size is an amazing 30 inches square (the camera format is square). Smaller prints are also available in a range of sizes. Quick turnaround and delivery service worldwide for prints is one of the service’s distinctions.
The standard film, flash and lens offerings that come with the app give the photographer a wide variety of choices for their image making. The variety of standard offerings with the app is so great that the combination of image styles created is almost unlimited. However, for those striving for maximum visual uniqueness, there are Hipstapaks that offer more film, flash and lens options for 99 cents each. Just one example gives you the idea of what the Hipstamatic fun level is about, the “Shibuya” Hipstapak includes the Roboto Glitter lens, Berry Pop flash and Float film – you figure it out! Ordering for Hipstapaks is done through the app when the iPhone is connected to WiFi or a cell network.
The images accompanying this article were made during my daily walks that are a part of my lifestyle. Since I always have my iPhone in my pocket, and generally only take my larger “real” cameras with me when I am purposely going shooting, these images might have never have been recorded had I not had the iPhone in my pocket with the Hipstamatic app at the ready. The images also represent the retro look of the Diana/Holga cameras, they show sensitivity for the primary characteristic of photography, the interaction of the light with the environment – and with my aesthetic, a simple, uncluttered environment. The Hipstamatic serves as my photographic sketchbook, capturing the visual nuances encountered on my walks and throughout the day. I find that these perceptual aerobics offered by the ever-present Hipstamatic sharpens my eye and sensitizes me to my environment. This portability and omnipresence of the camera allows me to practice my exploratory sensibilities as put forth in the book “How to be an Explorer of the World” by Keri Smith. Many images from this process have risen to the level of final products.
With the Hipstamatic I am able to re-access my love of the black and white image as well as the immediacy once provided by the Polaroid process bringing me closer to my observation and interaction with my surroundings. Once I become accustomed to the nuances of a particular film and lens (sometimes flash) combination I am able to gain control to achieve results I want.