Instagram, Hipstamatic and Camera Awesome
A few years ago, as I sat in an English pub, quaffing a pint of ale, I found myself gazing at a photo on the wall.
It was a very old photo of the pub in which I now sat.
In the photo there were no cars, people wore old fashioned clothing and I suspect the pumps hadn't been cleaned since the day the photo was taken judging by the bits floating in my beer.
Putting my photographers' hat on for a while I was drawn to the finer elements of the photo. The way it blurred at its edges, the slight bleed of the black into the white areas, and a general mottled look that only comes from years of hanging on a pub wall.
Because now it's possible to get the same look to a photo by using any number of apps for today's smartphones.
Instagram, Hipstamatic and Camera Awesome are three that spring to mind, and I know there are others.
Here's what you do - launch the app, take a photo with your smartphone, and then twiddle with the settings to give your photo a new (or old!) look.
Simple. And the best thing is that you don't have to wait a few decades for the photo you just took to become a retro classic - it already is.
And here's my worry. When I sat and looked at that photo in the pub it was clear that I was looking at a moment frozen in time.
It wasn't just the picture itself, it was the look and feel of the whole image. The bluriness, the mottled appearance.
What will happen when we look back at the photos we take today in twenty or thirty years time?
Digital photography has a look and feel about it. It's often difficult to define, but compare your digital photos with some old print photos and you'll certainly see a difference.
I love these apps, if for no other reason than I like to see people enjoying photography.
But please use them sparingly, because if we keep looking back at the past today, where will we look back to tomorrow?
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