In 2006 my wife and I went on safari in Kenya. I took thousands of photos, mostly of animals. I did a pretty good job, too. They're not going to appear in National Geographic, but I was pretty happy with them and I'm pretty picky. When I got home from Africa, I hit a photographic wall. Nothing seemed interesting anymore because I felt I couldn't top what I had done before. I'd peaked two years into my life as an amateur photographer. So I stopped taking photos.
Then about two weeks ago, my wife asked me about buying an iPhone app called Hipstamatic, which she had seen a few of her friends use. She got it and took a few photos. Then I installed it on my phone. I got hooked.
Hipstamatic is cool for a few reasons. It looks and feels kinda like a camera, which is fun. It makes you choose how your photo will look before you take the photo, like with a film camera. Different lenses, flashes and films produce different effects. The alternative -- endlessly tweaking a photo in Photoshop, applying filter after filter -- sucks the joy out of the photo. I love the simplicity that Hipstamatic provides in this regard.
All the photos it produces have imperfections that are modeled after imperfections from real film photographic equipment. The imperfections keep me from focusing on making a technically perfect photo and instead focus on making an emotive photo. To that extent, Hipstamatic is really good at creating photos that evoke emotion, specifically nostalgia. The photos look like the ones in my parents shoe box or on my grandma's end table. The blurred edges and yellow tint of the photo of my daughter makes me remember her smile a little sweeter. I can hear my son's laugh through the blue cast and faux film frame.
This $2 app is also cool because it makes me want to buy the other lenses and flashes, just like I did on my real photography journey. Except this time, the lenses are $.99 instead of $499. Hipstamatic is the fist app that has compelled me, a total cheapskate, to make an in-app purchase.
I do hope I can transfer my renewed enthusiasm for photography from my iPhone to my DSLR. I do have quite a bit of money invested in all that equipment and it's not doing me any good sitting on a shelf when I should be using it to record memories.