Sunday, 17 April 2011

POV: Hipstamatic...OMG! It Looks So Retro!

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved (Pseudo Hipstamatic LR Preset)

I've been scratching my head at the sudden flurry of Hipstamatic and/or Instagram "photography". I've seen well-traveled photojournalists and conflict photographers featuring images made with iPhones, and simultaneously processed using Hipstamatic or Instagram apps. Images from the Yemen uprising, the Egypt's Revolution, the Afghanistan conflict and Libya's rebellion are virtually flooding photo sites and blogs.

To me, these apps spice up photographers' standard fare...that's all. Certainly, the images do represent what photographers see and what's in front of their tiny phone lenses, but unless these images are able to be presented to form coherent documentary story-telling, I view them as a fad...a sort of fashion statement...or cute postcards without the scribbled messages in their back.

While the photos made using iPhones capture the instantaneous immediacy of events, let's smile at the retro, cool and Holga-ish look...but focus on how the photographer using an iPhone is able to present compelling content for viewers...or not. That's the litmus test.

In the long run, that's what viewers of photojournalism care about...content...not whether an image looks retro or not. And so should photographers. Pretending that using an iPhone loaded with these apps is the next new "photo thing" is silly...because it's not.

The above image was processed in Lightroom using a Holgalike-preset. The original is in the post below this one.