I’ve been obsession with the iPhone app called Hipstamatic, which is one of many apps (Instagram, Picplz) capitalizing on the retro photography trend made even more popular through Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr sharing of photos.
What’s different about Hipstamatic is that rather than placing treatments on photos already taken with the iPhone, it throws users back to the world of 1980s retro photography mimicking the flashes, filters, and lenses of the “Hipstmatic 100”, a camera born in 1982 with the idea that a camera should be less expensive than the film its photos are printed on. It’s rumored that the Hipstamatic 100 never really existed and that it’s part of iphone app creator Synthetic’s viral advertising campaign for the Hipstamatic app. Via Wikipedia:
According to Synthetic, the company distributing Hipstamatic, that camera was developed in the early 1980s by Bruce and Winston Dorbowski, but was a commercial failure, selling less than 200 units. Reporting on the application for pocket-lint.com, Libby Plummer remarked that this account may well be viral advertising, because she was unable to find any internet sources confirming the existence of this camera apart from material written by Synthetic.
At any rate, the application has enjoyed substantially more success than its purported plastic predecessor, selling 1.4 million times as of November 2010. It received additional publicity when New York Times photographer Damon Winter used it in 2010 to illustrate a front page story about the Afghanistan War.
Synthetic has a blog that talks about the history of the Hipstamatic 100:
Bring people a camera that cost less than the film. Bruce had a Russian plastic camera that our father gave him as a Christmas gift in 1972. The camera had since broke and was no longer being made or sold, at least anywhere he could find it. So Bruce and Winston came up with a plan…
Regardless of whether the camera existed in 1982 or not, the app produces photos that have stunning effects. I can’t seem to stop taking photos with it and it’s officially the first non-information iPhone app that I’m addicted to! It seems that Synthetic is doing something right as they have a thriving community of people uploading photos for a variety of contests, including the current one called Salvador’s Decadence. To participate in the contest, you’ve got to upload a photo taken with the Salvador Dali Museum lens for the Hipstamatic App. My entry for this contest is Fontaine Sorrento and I’m officially plugging it here. Vote for it so I could win whatever they’re giving away!
I have to say that this company has got the viral marketing down! Plus, they introduce new Hipstapak’s (combination of a new lens, flash, and film that don’t necessarily have to be used together) all the time that are available for a limited-time only. If you’re addicted like I am, you buy all of them! The app is only $2 and the Hipstapak’s are $.99 each so I think I’ve only spent about 8 dollars so far. You get a certain number of lenses, films, and flashes as part of the app.
And of course, you can share your photos on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Tumblr really easily. They allow you to upload them in stacks of up to nine photos and auto-tag them with the lens, flash, and film type. Want to print your photos? Not a problem. You can do that but for a definite price. Since they’re square (retro), they’ve got you stuck on their photo-printing service.
Enough babbling about the App, which you can download here. Let’s take a look at the photos I took from the window seat of a JetBlue A320 headed to PBI from LGA. I just kept randomizing it and taking photo after photo of the plane’s wing with some amazing fluffy clouds below and around it.