For just $1, I entered the world of faux-film photography. It was a whimsical purchase after seeing several retro type shots taken by the multi-talented Dianna Agron of Glee. She used it as an off-camera camera, revealing the intimate side of the cast members on and off the set. Like the TV show, the Hipstamatic app soon became a household name infiltrating its way into the fabric of our society. Not a day went by where my Facebook wall wasn't littered with photos that looked like they were taken 50 years ago. Still, despite being overused at the peak of its popularity, there was an authenticity to the images that ordinary phone snaps were lacking. What some may have initially written off as a fad appeared to have staying power.
This shift was first evident after New York Times photographer Damon Winter used the app to document war in Afghanistan. Winter is a Pulitzer prize winning photographer whose work I've long admired for its creativity, and technical brilliance. Yet, when his photo story "A Grunt's Life" was awarded third place in the Pictures of the Year International contest, a flood of naysayers took to the Internet to bash the ethics of his camera selection. In his thoughtful response, Winter said "I will always stand behind these photographs and am confident in my decision that this was the right tool to tell this particular story." In studying the series of twelve photos, it's difficult to envision them any other way. The quiet, introspective moments he captured coupled with vintage aesthetics make for a telling look at life behind enemy lines.
Recently, an Associated Press article asked "How much longer can film hold on?" The number of users has plummeted dramatically, and declining sales numbers indicate impending doom. Ironically enough, the first Brownie sold in 1900 for just $1. Over a century later, it appears we have come full circle.
Here are some images I've recently taken using faux-film. They were all shot in Hipstamatic with the iPhone 4, John S lens, and Ina's 1969 film option. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this topic.