Dissing the Hipstamatic grandaddy
I have a love-hate relationship with Hipstamatic. I found mobile photography after the big Hipsta movement and for me it was all about the post-editing. That’s post-taking the photo. With Hipstamatic it’s all about PRE-taking the photo. You have to know what you want the image to look like before you take the shot. In what struck me initially as a complete nonsense, you have to choose the “film” and the “lens”. Yeah, right. Nonsense, because all you’re really doing is applying two different types of filter. And because you have to decide which two filters you want to apply in advance, you lose the creative process of weighing up your raw material (the shot) and then deciding what you’re going to do next. People complain about how easy applying an Instagram filter is. With Hipstamatic it’s even easier. The filters get applied as soon as you take the shot!
But wait a minute. Don’t take what you’re given just because it’s Hipstamatic. You can still do some post-taking editing. I took the shot below earlier and because Hipstamatic doesn’t let you meter for a particular part of an image, the window on the bottom left was completely in the dark. But I used Filter Storm to bring the window out of the shadows.
Which isn’t to say I don’t like the filters. They’re awesome. How did those guys dream them up? They transform a drab scene into something with drama and character. They turn a street scene in a phone directory in the final chapter of a Raymond Chandler novel. But we don’t take ourselves too seriously in mobile photography and even the grandaddy of the whole movement shouldn’t get too much respect. I’d love to set my students in my next workshop the task of manually reproducing those revered “lenses” and “films”. Huh!
A Hipstamatic street in a Raymond Chandler novel