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Hooked on the Hipstamatic

My sister, Mudmama, detests telephones. I’m not crazy about them either, but I’m not as phobic as she is. I can answer the phone, and if I really, really have to, I can make a call.

I don’t know why we have this fear of phones. Maybe it was because we had a party line when we were kids, which meant that our phone line was shared among half a dozen households. Neighbours could, if they were so inclined, eavesdrop on your phone conversations. This possibility may have piggy-backed a fear of telephones onto my fear of public speaking.

Or maybe it was because our mother insisted that girls do not call boys. Ever. Boys call girls. Girls wait to be called. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind it. Actually, I don’t even recall that there was any reasoning behind it. It was just one of those arbitrary rules that confuse you as a child and make life seem so complicated. But this rule might explain why I can receive phone calls more easily than I can make them.

Anyway, however it happened, Mudmama and I are not enthusiastic users of the telephone.

I’m enjoying my iPhone though, precisely because being a phone is just a tiny, insignificant part of its raison d’etre. I use it for email, geocaching, calendars, to-do lists, tracking stuff, listening to music, bus schedules, photography, surfing the web and much, much more.

I’m pretty sure even Mudmama would like this phone.

She says the only thing about the iPhone that appeals to her is a photography app called Hipstamatic. So I downloaded it two days ago, for $1.99 plus $5 for all the accessories. It converts the iPhone’s camera into a virtual replica of the 1960s Hipstamatic camera. There are seven interchangeable lenses, nine types of film, and six flashes. You can select one of each for each picture, or allow it to randomly throw three together for you.

So anyway, I’ve kind of gotten hooked on the Hipstamatic. It really does produce pictures just like the ones you took in the 60s or 70s or 80s with cheap plastic camera equipment and film and flash bulbs. They’re really that bad, with light leaks and streaks and odd colour casts. My thumb ends up in about a third of the pictures. It’s almost impossible to compose a photograph with any precision because the viewfinder is small and not very wysiwyg (what you see is what you get).

But the charm is that you have no idea of how your picture will turn out until after you take it, especially if you use the random feature. It’s all a big surprise. A lot of the pictures are undeniably awful, but there are some happy surprises too. And even the bad pictures are cool in their own nostalgic way.

I’ve taken over 300 photos with it in the past 48 hours. I end up taking multiple photos of the same thing, since I’m curious to see how the different effects will change the result. My usual 45 minute walk took an hour and a half today because I needed to take so many pictures of corn and geese and cows and flowers and sky and trees.

I think this camera app would be especially good for taking photos of old things – antique cars, vintage trailers, old household stuff, vintage clothing, etc. It’s even good for taking pictures of older people, since it doesn’t magnify every flaw in crisp detail.

If you’d like to see some really good Hipstamatic snapshots, check out the monthly Hipstamatic photo contests.

8 comments to Hooked on the Hipstamatic

  • I hate the phone too. I’m sure all of our friends wonder why my husband is the one who sets up all of the kids’ playdates. I would love to get an iPhone for just the same reasons as you. I would much rather text, email or tweet someone than actually dial and wait for them to answer.
    Love the photos too….so retro!

  • I adore hipstamatic. I think I have 40 pictures of the same ashtray, just to see what all the different combos do. Best $7 I ever spent.

  • I KNEW you’d love it too! I have seen such GREAT pics of kids with it. It seems IDEAl for all sorts of projects – like kitchen parties, the dumb everyone at the table cheesy family Christmas/Thanksgiving portrait, fall fairs, christmas parades, school choir recitals, documenting my vintage finds from yard sales and the garbage, my old house :-). I want to do a hipstamatic photo shoot with the Sprout in his little maritimer outfit – cap, wooly sweater, cords, and yellow rubber boots and his beat up ukelele. Another of the kids playing dress up…geez maybe I do need one!

  • Both Dave and I have a phone phobia – it’s a real pain when we want to order dinner – thank goodness for online ordering!
    The really funny part is I have spent about 1/2 of my career life in positions that rely heavily on the phone (ie receptionist – or journalist).

    That app is pretty cool!

  • Lucy

    What I dislike most about making phone calls is getting a person’s voice mail and having to leave a message. (Once I make the call and the recipient answers and we start talking I am OK; it’s just voice mail that I hate). I would feel panicked and think that my message was going to sound too silly and incoherent. 10 years ago every single time I was about to call someone and thought I might get their voice mail, I would first write a draft of what I was going to say on a scrap of paper and then read it out into their voice mail. Eventually I convinced myself to stop doing this at least with people that are not strangers, but I still do rehearse a few sentences of what I’m going to say before I make most phone calls. Needless to say, I vastly prefer email as well.

  • I hate the phone because I feel so much pressure to fill every silence. When you’re having an actual in-real-life conversation with someone, you can putter about or gaze out the window or people watch or whatever, and not have to talk, talk, talk. When you’re on the phone, every silence is uncomfortable. I always feel like I don’t have enough to say.

    On the other hand, I also dislike getting trapped on the phone with a Chatty Cathy who won’t take the hint that I need to go do something else. When I’m talking to someone in my kitchen, we can talk while I tidy or cook or sort the recycling. On the phone I have to just sit and listen, and I get fidgety. I think this is something I should probably work on.

    Love the photos, though!

  • knitty_kat

    Geez, like I needed another reason to covet an iPhone. Thanks so much. Really, I very much want the phone for the toys more than the phone itself. I’d rather not talk on it either. :)

  • Gavin

    Go to General Settings -> Hipstamatic
    Change Viewfinder mode -> Precision Framing

    Then you wont have any thumb problems :)