Hipsters Vintage

23 02 2010

Opening a drawer and finding old photos from another era is always an interesting experience. Grannies holding babies who are probably grandmothers themselves by now, Bronzed lifesavers at Bondi standing on golden sand, an almost complete Harbour Bridge. And faded colour photos of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s recording the time in which I grew up, watching myself change from a kid to an adult, laughing at my daggy clothes, watching my parents aging.

The quality of these photos is really in the eye of the beholder, they might not be the clearest, but then if you consider photos as “paintings with light”, as someone once called them, then it’s really not fair or logical to say that only photorealistic painters, like Rembrandt, were better than people like Van Gogh or Picasso.

For many years, the only cameras I had were pocket cameras, the kind which took 110 film. Yes I wish I had my Pentax DSLR back then, but the fact remains that I did, at least, have *A* Camera… which allowed me to take photos of friends, family and my many beautiful animal companions, many of them sadly long gone.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that I invested in my Realist 3D, which I’d call my first real camera. This restored 1950’s camera allowed me to take the most wonderful, irreplaceable photos of my family, in full 3D, it was worth every cent I’d spent on it.

A friend bought me my first digital, a 2.5 megapixel canon camera, which despite it’s low resolution, also played it’s part in my personal photographic history. without it, certain images I cherish, may not have existed.

Then I bought my Pentex DSLR, an *istDS, I love this camera, it takes pictures which I think are beautiful, crisp and clear. I use it often… but it has it’s drawback too, it weighs about the same as half a housebrick. it’s not a comfortable thing to have around my neck at all times. so, sadly, I often miss what could be a good photo because I’ve left my camera at home.

When visiting a blog recently, a writer suggested that the best camera, was the one you had with you… it makes a lot of sense. it’s better to have a lower quality photo, than no photo at all.

Last week I finally bought myself an iPhone.

Now it’s pretty brilliant, but the camera is, I’ll admit, a bit of a wimp. You’d think that by now all phones would come with at least a five megapixel camera. Now most people would sneer about the iphone cameras quality, I did myself, but one person decided that it was an opportunity to create something new and interesting, and make some money for himself at the same time.

He made a program which simulates a real camera, a Hipstermatic, which was produced in the US in the early 80’s, the maker only managed to sell a few hundred, so they’re quite rare these days. The camera was cheap, but unlike an instamatic, had removeable lenses… and while it wasn’t one of the best cameras around, it was fun to use.

The program itself comes with simulated removeable, interchangeable lenses, film and flashes… and you can buy
newer ones when they’re released, straight off the actual program, although the real camera never had the option of uploading pictures directly to facebook.

Admittedly I’m a bit of a purist, I must confess, and wasn’t sure that I’d appreciate a camera applying effects to my photos… this is something I’d really rather do in photoshop afterwards… and I always keep the original photo that came out of the camera unedited, while uploading edited versions to flickr, etc. , but, I’ll admit, I’m very taken with this, there’s something about these photos which are more than just a bit of a laugh, they’re warm, exotic and have a quality about them that photos from cameras such as Box Brownies had, that digitals usually lack.

On the iPhone screen, you see a picture of an old camera, and with a swipe of your finger, you can change the lenses to one of about five types which all produce their own effect on the final image. there’s also a set of virtual flashes and film.

All the photos come out looking very “analogue” as the maker of Hipstermatic says, some of the photos look very greenish and have an almost underwater quality, another format reminds me of 60’s photos, of women riding Vespas in Itally perhaps. There’s a film that produces a rich black and white, which worked beautifully on my Alaskan Malamute.

Hipstamatic comes with about three lenses and three rolls of film (which never run out), and you can buy new ones via the application itself when more are released at about a dollar a pop.

If you’ve got an iPhone, Please give Hipstamatic a go, it’s a lovely thing to play with, and it’ll only set you back $2.50 from the itunes store.

Make sure you see the Hipstermatic Pool on Flickr
And my own Hipstermatic photos, here.

More about the software and how to get it, here.





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