One of my favorite experiences in art school was the day I got my first cell phone. I ran to class determined to snap a photo of my teacher and creative hero Allan Sekula. “Hey Allan, I just got a cellphone, can I take your picture with it?” I asked excitedly as he was about to start class.
“Um sure, I guess.” He replied as he sat in a chair in the center of the classroom. I pointed my phone at him and took a photo using my Motorola’s one megapixel camera. As the phone’s camera went off it made a sound mimicking a shutter opening and closing. Allan’s eyes lit up in amazement. “That’s incredible, you mean the phone makes a sound to emulate an actual camera? To present itself as the technology it’s replacing?”
With that in mind, I just had my first day of shooting with Hipstamatic. It’s an iphone app that simulates various medium format films, lenses, and flash filters to create images that look like dreamily aged prints and cross-processed proofs. The main appeal is that it allows the user to create aesthetically experimental images without any post-production work in Photoshop. I’ve gotta say, the images I was able to casually create lived up to the hype that’s been going around. There’s also the appeal of discovering different combinations of the app’s interchangeable films, lenses, and flashes. Below is my photo of San Francisco legend Frank Chu shot with Ina’s 1969 film, John S lens, and the standard flash.
This past Sunday I worked SomArts’ first photowalk produced by CaliberSF. Seeing a horde of photographers with their digital SLRs in hand inspired me to finally give in and try Hipstamatic. I’ve been seeing really impressive images created by friends using Hipstamatic popping up on flickr and facebook for a hot minute. So while Lex and I worked the box office of the event and greeted photographers I whipped out my iphone and fired up Hipstamatic for its maiden voyage. The truth is that the app crashed a LOT on me so it took a while for me to actually start making images with it. Lex was kind enough to be my very first subject and I shot the image below.
I still have yet to really explore the many possible combinations of Hipstamatic but I’m off to a modestly decent start. SomArts’ photowalk was also a big hit and it was great to see Frank Chu again (my third time this summer, por favor believe it). Frank was actually the celebrity guest of the photowalk and he led the procession of photographers around the Soma area. At the post-walk dinner it was a treat to listen to him proudly tell his story of his participation in the post-Mehserle verdict marches and mayhem.
I’m off to experiment a little more with Hipstamatic. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a mother-son diptych: