Tuesday, February 22, 2011

App of the Week: Hipstamatic

(oops, I missed a couple of weeks for apps.  But this one's brilliant!)

Shortly after acquiring an iPhone, I was told in no uncertain terms that I MUST buy Hipstamatic.  Essential.  Brilliant.  A mere $2.49AU for the basic app (you can add Hipstapaks for around $1.99 each).

What does it do?

It adds another camera option to your iPhone or iPod Touch.  You get a variety of lenses (I use John S the most) and films (my faves at present are Kodot and Float).  Choose a lens and a film (by clicking through your choices within the app), and take a photo.  As opposed to the plain vanilla of the iPhone's ordinary camera, Hipstamatic adds mood and a different look - vintage, textured, not at all plain vanilla.

iPhone camera image of our library's entrance:

and here's a Hipstamatic version of the same:

I was in Sydney recently, and took this Hipstamatic photo at Circular Quay (it's with a different film to the one above):
Moody, broody, and a different look without fancy photo-editing.  Walked past the head office of the Department of Education (my employer), which is one of the beautiful historic Sydney sandstone offices, and here's how it can look:

So how can you use it for education?

Take photos.  Not just for art, but for all sorts of other things.  One of our English teachers wanted to use the images from a book of fantasy landscapes to inspire his senior students in their creative writing.  Sure, we could have just scanned the images from the book for a photo slideshow; but take them with Hipstamatic, and they acquired another level of mood and inspiration:

Photo from Drawing and painting fantasy landscapes by Rob Alexander and Martin McKenna

But it's not a serious camera, is it?

How about featuring in a Visual Arts major work selected for inclusion in Art Express 2011 (click for more) and currently on display at the Art Gallery of NSW?

Yup.  All those portraits were taken with Hipstamatic.  Find these two images on the Art Express website here.

I've barely scraped the surface of what I might try with Hipstamatic, but it's an app I've been enjoying, for myself and for its educational possibilities.  If you'd like to see more images, there's a Flickr pool with thousands of Hipstamatic photos here.  Would a 'serious' photographer use Hipstamatic in preference to 'serious' camera gear?  New York Times photographer Damon Winter used it to illustrate a story about the Afghanistan war.  Read all about it by clicking here.

Find Hipstamatic in the App Store; the Hipstamatic website is here.



PS. Disclaimer: Laura Buchanan, who created that artwork, is a relation.  And she was the one who told me to get Hipstamatic.  With the evidence above, why argue?  She's clearly an expert!  We're very proud of her.

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