Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


When I was a kid, my very first camera ever was this Kodak 110 that I won at my dad’s company picnic, in maybe 1979 or 1980. The name Instamatic rings a bell, but after a bit of googling, I think it was an Ektra. Anyway, it used this 110 cartridge film, this grainy stuff that took perfectly square photos in an almost psychadelic color scheme, with tons of lens flare and the inability to take a picture in less than full daylight unless you bought those strips of flash bulbs, the kind you plug in, take a few pictures, then flip over to the other side, then throw the whole melted, short-circuited mess out. And as a kid living on allowance, my budget for this hobby was somewhat less than the average trust fund hipster swinging around a Holga and mailing off their shots to some super-OCD lab in Seattle.  In fact, I think I shot maybe four or five rolls on this thing, and except for maybe one or two of them, the exposed rolls sat in a kitchen junk drawer for years until they corroded into nothingness. But I do love the handful of images I took with it, not because they look good or are artistic in any way, but because they have such quirky size and color.

So today I discovered the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone. It’s essentially a replacement for the iPhone’s built-in camera software, but it’s also an emulator for all things hipster-esque in the camera department.  It looks on the screen like you’re holding up a freaky German plastic camera, with a little square video preview window, and another square window showing you the film “cartridge” loaded into it.  But the cool part is, you can mix and match various film, lens, and flash combinations by drag and drop in the interface.  And they have an in-app purchase system to buy other new packs of lenses and films, if you want to go B&W or get that plastic lensed Holga look.

I snapped a few shots at lunch and after work in Palo Alto, and really dug the results.  Some of these photos look like they were taken in the mid-seventies and forgotten for decades.  Maybe it’s just a gimmick, but it’s great fun, and I did not need a lick of Photoshop work to accomplish this.

Anyway, here’s a slideshow, or click on the preview picture above to go to the Flickr set.  (Note to people not reading this from https://rumored.com/journal – you might not see the embedded images – sorry.)