An extension of the trend to get back to shooting film has been the rise in popularity of shooting with Holgas and the like that take us back to the photos of the 1950's and '60's. That rough & ready look of the plastic cameras of the day, with pretty ordinary lenses that were prone to light leaks. Sure you got to capture images, but the quality was a bit hit & miss!
Well as smartphones have continued to develop and now come with resonable resolution, so have apps been developed that allow 'phone users to make the most of the onboard cameras as they going about their lives. An interesting extension of this has been apps like Hipstamatic that don't improve the integrity of 'phone images, but actually seek to replicate the look of the old plastic cameras that I mentioned above. If you're not familiar with the app, have a look at it here:
Once you take your photo using one of the included 'lens' and 'film' styles included (or with one of the extras that can be purchased at a small cost), the app processes the image in a way that adds random vignetting, simulates light leaks, out of focus areas, etc., and you end up with shots like the ones I've included.
Are they gimmicky? Well maybe, but I think they provide you with a simple tool to produce some very 'arty', nostalgic looking images that have a lot of visual appeal to them. Naturally, there has been plenty of debate about whether the use of these apps has a place in 'serious' photography. Some very interesting points are raised in this recent blog entry:
My own view is that products like this are simply useful tools that we photographers have at our disposal to make images that appeal to us. Sometimes we'll want to use equipment & techniques that give us the control to transform what we 'see' into the end result we envisaged, but at other times it can be exciting not to have total control over the final result. What do you think?
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