I ♥ Hipstamatic

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012
© Margaret Mitchell Olympic Hipstamatic Photograph

© Margaret Mitchell

It’s funny all the hoo-ha about real photography and camera phone apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic. I’ve read a few pieces where people are getting very upset about these apps and what they do (and do not do) and to be honest it really confuses me, where this dislike comes from.

I recently posted a photo of mine that I took in London of Tower Bridge and the Olympic Rings to Hipstamatic Facebook page and it received over 2,700 likes and many shares. This probably makes it my most viewed photo of all time and probably my most appreciated.

The irony of this is not lost on me.

However, I love Hipstamatic. It’s a great little app. It sits there on my phone and is ready to use unlike the camera that I never carry with me (used to think I would, but never do….). I stick to a couple of “lenses” and “films” and find it quite amusing the whole “processing” aspect. Of course there are limitations but that is always the case with any chosen technique in photography, each one is chosen for aesthetics and suitability to the content.

It is nonsense to talk about “real” photography. Very tedious. Photographers have always selected equipment, processes, played about, used chemicals unconventionally, all in order to achieve image “enhancements”. Why do current day photographers use 19th century processes if not to achieve an aesthetic outcome? Some haters of Hipstamatic forget  that  photographers still have to take the photo. Some photos by Damon Winter using Hipstamatic won  third place in Pictures of the Year International and he talks sensibly about his use and approach in some detail in a piece here.

Anyway, maybe I will tire of Hipstamatic but I think its a great app, great fun and can add to the image making process. I also did cyantoypes for fun for a time too, but after a while didn’t really see the point or suitable application for that either.

Hipstamatic also has a touch of the Cartier-Bresson and his decisive moment and no cropping malarkey, so loved by some (mostly “real”) photographers. Which brings me to why my photo pains me: the composition is not right. In my defence, I was on a fairly fast moving boat, with shifting light, a flapping flag, with my kid, on my hols ….taking fun holiday snaps.

Ultimately this is for me a happy-snap that satisfies the purpose for that it was created for.  I have a nice memory of my travel up the Thames under the Olympic Rings because I had Hipstamatic’s fun little app right there on my phone. In time I might use it for more than quick snaps (or not) but presently, to all those purists (or whatever they are, I’m not quite sure), all I can say is “lighten up and ♥ Hipstamatic”.