Thursday, February 3, 2011


I started writing this article in January of 2011, after 4 months shooting with this small Hipstamatic application with my iPhone 4.
In the beginning I thought that it was something like the 95% of these crappy apps that Apple's app store is selling. After a while I understand that it is NOT.
The Hipstamatic app is more powerful and sophisticated than I expected. It uses the iphones  camera  power, transforming and manipulating each photo to a piece of art. All of my tests were made with the last iphone model 4, but I can imagine that this app is reacting average, the same with the other iphone models. The big difference between them is the resolution of the export files.

Having in mind that the iPhone 4 has a camera with 5 MP resolution and the app is shooting square frame, the total jpg file is 10,7 MB - which means it’s  like shooting with a 4 MP camera. Pretty decent. Speaking about specifications, iPhone 4 shoots from iso 80 to iso 1000 with an impressive low noise at higher iso, when you  take under account that it has a very small CCD of 1/3,2".Shutter speeds are from 1/10000 to 1/15,which prevents you to shoot blurry pictures, giving you maximum open aperture of  f:2.8. The file is something standard and doesn't change in relation to shooting at higher ISO or lower ISO (strange!). There is always an option to receive smaller resolution photos by composing the near to lens 3 button adjustment. In real life you can easily take photos at night without using flash, but city lights only, by just placing your iphone to a brick wall or something steady.

1.0 Wise Made App
Nine different lenses and eleven different films give you totally ninety-nine different photos / different filters, without mentioning the seven different flashes. Making a small test you can easily  find out what you like to shoot, what you like more and what you like less. Let’s say you have chosen a lens and a film and you shot the photo. This little app is "developing" your photo putting two filters: one lens filter and one film filter. How does this happen In a very sophisticated way. The Hipstamatic app recognizes the subject that you are shooting and places the vignette/glow/contrast/color according to this specific subject, in a magic, retro way. So if you have more or less sky in your shot, the app is giving you different manipulated photos, making every photo unique.
Using this magic vintage looking filters, with a simple pressing of a button this app is giving you the opportunity to create good pictures, saving you a lot of time manipulating them in your personal computer. It’s as easy as a simple press of a button.

1.1 Wise Made App
Feelings. Feelings are starting with the opening. You are in front of a retro style camera (like the ones using film).There is a square viewfinder with a vignette  feature. An option to choose from classic to precision frame in the viewfinder further strengthens the whole feeling. A big yellow shutter button waits ready in your right finger. An easy way to change and play with different lenses and films.After pressing the shutter button comes the most important feeling for me. The feeling of developing the photos. The feeling of old school cameras using film. With these cameras you can’t see your photo immediately. It must first be "developed", which means all the skill, the moment, and the magic [putting in the same box but “later”] ???.
It’s funny but this Hipstamatic app makes you to think and feel like you are shooting with a film camera, and you forget about all these digital instant previews, making you  think and feel before you shoot.
These last years I think that the photographers (including myself) don't think at all We are just shooting. Thousands of pictures, and these pictures have no meaning or purpose at all. It’s because it’s easy to shoot without spending film, or spending time developing the photos. We are all used to " instantly check" the picture  in the small camera’s  LCD screen after we shoot and not think what or when it is the most appropriate time to shoot.
Here with this app, the most important thing is the idea, the "thinking" and "feeling" part of the photography, because the app is not made for shooting repeatedly fast.

1.2 Wise Made App
Checking your photos using the in app viewer is a real fun. Metadata information, share options at your favorite places like Facebook, flickr, mail, tumblr are not missing from this little app. A very nice option also is to send your photos for print using the in camera mechanism and delivered to your door after some days printed and equipped with special "Hipsta" like frame. Another nice present inside this app is the interaction with the others. I think that not many iphone applications have this option  of interaction between the company and the customers. Not only you can buy new lenses / films / outer camera cases that the app will sell in the future, but you can upload a photo and send it straight for voting to the monthly contests.
Yes, this is something new. This option means that you are not alone. The Hipstamatic people care to build a community that will interact and be alive.

1.3 Wise Made App
Thousands of people are shooting with Hipstamatic app making the community bigger and bigger every day. Thousands of photos at Flickr or at personal blogs means that there are two kinds of people that prefer to shoot with an application like this. On one hand we have the common iphone users that are impressed shooting with this app, without caring about anything else but taking a vintage good looking photo. On the other hand there are the photographers that finally can shoot like shooting with film and want to put themselves to a new photographic exploration without limits. Many photographers are buying iphones because they want to use this application and they don't care about all the other things that this smart phone can do.
The first ever Hipstamatic exhibition took place at London, showing a new world that didn’t exist before.The Hipsta shooters.

2.0 Wise Made App
In the history of photography up to now we had many inventions and technologies that changed the form of  photography as a tool of expression. From silver glass plates, to film, to digital CCDs. Now we are facing a new revolution in photography. Why? Because it’s the first time that an application replaces the camera (in fact the app is using the hardware of a phone). We have different kinds of lenses and films by using software only. Until now we didn't have the opportunity to do this. We only had traditional lenses to change on a camera or the light room, and computers to manipulate the original photo by adding some filters. Until now we had only cheap or expensive SLR or compact cameras with no in-camera manipulation, except some cheap b/w and other color filters.

2.1 Wise Made App
Hipstamatic  just opened the door to a new era in photography. Maybe we will see this or other applications preinstalled in future digital cameras. Or we may see models that allow us to install an application like this to our future cameras. Applications that will use our camera/lens hardware to make an inside correction adding some “wise” filters.
Hipstamatic gave a powerful application to people allowing them to shoot photos everywhere, without carrying an extra digital or film camera, but using only their phone.
Hipstamatic gave influence and inspiration to amateurs and professionals photographers who want fun and exploration.

Stelios Giansakidis 
professional photographer

About the author:
Born 1971 in Thessaloniki Greece.
Exhibitions 1.1994 "FIX"
                     3.1996"GLASS EYE Group Exhibition
                     4.1997"NIGHT FRIENDS"
                     5. 2000"THINGS"
                     6. 2010"YEREBATAN SARNICI"
                       2.PHOTO EIDOLO ISSUES:1,19,28