More on iPhoneography and Hipstamatic

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I wrote a while ago about whether iPhone photography, or iPhoneography as it’s often referred to is good or bad for photography in general. I was fully in support of these kinds of apps which allow anyone to really bring out their artistic flair while taking regular snap photos.

Hipstamatic is similar to Instagram in many of the things it does, but rather than you taking a photo first and then applying a filter afterwards, Hipstamatic is designed to invoke the feeling of using analogue cameras by allowing you to change your virtual lens, film and flash. Each of these things has an impact on how the picture and the frame turn out, and a lot of the fun is in trying to find your favourite combination, and seeing how making small changes effects your shot.

The interface is designed to immerse you in this feeling by actually showing a limited viewfinder and a shutter release button on the back. It’s a typically very stylish iPhone interface that really immerses you more. While the small viewfinder isn’t the most practical idea ever due to the fact that you’re wasting the large touch screen, it doesn’t really matter as long as you can frame the shot well enough. I think that losing the larger framing ability is made up for by having a large shutter button located in the top right corner. This allows you to get a much better grip of the device when shooting and is the closest we’re probably going to get to a dedicated camera button for quite a while I would imagine. We don’t know if Apple sees this as a priority and they always like to reaffirm their belief that touch controls are superior to buttons most of the time. Therefore, I wouldn’t hold your breath for a dedicated button on the iPhone 5.

The optional in-app purchases of new lenses, films and flashes in bundles known as hipstapaks is a bit  sneaky in my opinion, as each one costs about half the price of the app itself. If they could lower the prices of those by about half then I think that would be fair. Especially because you really don’t know how the effects are going to work in practise on the shots you take until after you’ve purchased them, so they may end up being big disappointments.

While I am a huge photography fan, I have to admit that without the digital revolution, I just don’t think I would have gotten into it as much as I have. Analogue is great now because it’s an extra option to play with as a novelty, but for everyday use it’s definitely a huge chore and too expensive to be viable today. This is why this kind of app is a great fun tool for everyone to be able to bring back the feel of analogue photography in a sense, but without any of the cost.

Purists will disagree of course, but even they must admit that just trying to recreate the look of those classic cameras is still a great thing, especially for young people who will have never used an analogue camera while growing up. Mine was probably the last generation to not have digital cameras readily available and cheap enough to make the old one-use and regular point-and-shoot film cameras practically obsolete.

Another benefit of this type of photography is that it really allows you to get back to basics, forgetting about complex SLR settings and just letting you focus on composing your shot and being as artistic as you can. Because the resolution of the iPod Touch camera is so low, it adds even more to the fun as you know that no matter what you do, the shots will never look even close to what you can get out of an SLR. You can let the content itself speak for the quality, and the customisable elements have an even bigger role in making the end result look good.

As I wrote in my last post on this subject, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if many young people had gotten into photography seriously as a result of playing with apps such as these, and that is of course still a brilliant thing.

The reason I decided to download Hipstamatic today was because I saw the following article linked to below on Mashable about a UK art gallery putting on an exhibition of Hipstamatic photos. It’s a modern concept and I really like the idea. It promotes pure artistic vision over technical know-how and that’s what photography should be all about at the heart of it.

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