Instagram my Backyard

Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
About a month ago I went back into my backyard to continue the project I have been shooting for the past one and a half years. Some of you may already have seen pictures from the project in my previous posts Out of Comfort Zone and Challenge and Expand.

As I have written before this photo project is a way for me to push myself into doing different pictures than I usually do. First of all the subject is not my usual kind, since I tend to work more in the direction of documentary photography and prefer photographing social issues rather than doing nature photography – which backyard photography sort of could be said to be. Secondly I try to shoot in all kinds of different ways that I would not usually do or allow myself to do, simply pushing boundaries. It could be shooting with an unfocused lens, using long, handheld exposure time for blurry imagery, or it could be putting a 400 mm lens on the camera, using minimum depth of field, or something absolutely crazy. Again the point for me is to expand and challenge myself so that I don’t get stuck in my present photographic vision.

Lately I have been enjoying shooing with my cell phone and in particularly using the Instagram app. It’s nothing less that great fun. So what better than take my cell phone out in my backyard and shoot some Instagram photos for the project? The amazing thing with Instagram – and its equivalent Hipstamatic – is that it’s almost impossible to come back with boring or bad picture, no matter the subject. Being a professional photographer, it’s quite discouraging to admit to such an atrocity, because where does that leave my profession? I wrote about this dilemma in the post The Unbearable Lightness of Instagram on the blog of Blue Hour Photo Workshops – an educational organisation I am part of. My point was that although it seems like Instagram is able to create cool imagery almost but itself, with time and when we get used to the knack of it, the automatic coolness will start to fade. Then Instagram – and the likes – will only be one of many tools available for photographers.

And in the mean time I am just gonna go around and have fun with my cell phone and the little app. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

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Shots from my Hip

Lately I have been pondering about what to think of the Hipstamatic – as a professional photographer that is. Your know that fun app that makes pictures taken with the iPhone look very retro, as if they were shot with one of those cheap and technically obsolete analogue cameras such as a Lomo, a Diana, a Holga or a Polaroid instant camera. I actually love the Hipstamatic look, the skewed colours, the chromatic aberration it emulates, the vignetting, the harsh contrasts and so on, the final look of course depending on the settings when applying the app. It’s real fun to use, and it makes the photos look great. It seems like anything can be taken with the Hipstamatic app and made into a cool or interesting photo. The question I have been pondering about then is whether these are actually my pictures. Can I really claim any honour, so to speak – as a photographer and thus, can I use the Hipstamatic look as one of many tools when I decide which style I want for a given photograph, I mean when I am the «serious photographer» and not just out there having fun? The dilemma is that I feel I have no influence about the look, well, that is of course not quite true since you have a lot of variables you can tweak, but it’s still a much automated process. Point being, isn’t it still more the app than the photographer him- or herself that makes the photos? Or maybe it’s just too easy to take cool pictures? Is that it?

When I get this far in my thought-process I have to stop myself. It makes me sound like any old, conservative, stock-in-the-past, everything-was-much-better-before craftsman of a photographer, who complains about any development in the trade. Because that’s really been photography’s sword of Damocles throughout the whole history of the craft. Every new development has raised grumbles from those who knew the old way – and thus knew better, all the way back to when photography came into being. Back then is was actually painters who complained about photography, that it would destroy the painting as a craft. In modern times it was PhotoShop that destroyed the old printing craft, or the advanced digital technology that made it possible for everybody to become a photographer without knowing anything at all, or nowadays when every amateur can make his or her own video. Where will this end? It will bring the craft down and out forever. And now we even got the Hipstamatic app! Of course all those grumpy, old men (because it’s mostly been grumpy, old men) are wrong and have always been. The development of the craft has never taken away the artistic skills needed for making interesting expressions. It’s true, it’s never been as easy as today to photograph, but still it’s just as hard to make photos that speak to the viewer, that give you that deep understand of life, that bring pictures into life. And so it is with the Hipstamatic app, I must believe. Right now it’s the cool thing, that everybody wants to use, that makes every photo look interesting. But of course to make photographs that breathe and will last, you still need to bring a vision and a personal investment into the making of the pictures. It isn’t too easy, not even when using the Hipstamatic app.

Still I haven’t convinced myself completely about this even though the argument sounds like the politically right thing to say. But I don’t want to be or become and old, grumpy man, so what the heck, I am going to stop pondering about the dilemma. I am just gonna go out there and have some fun when shooting – using the Hipstamatic app.

Other blogs with fun postings about Hipstamatic:
Comforting Photograph for Tea Lovers

Hipstamatic Snail
Instagram and Hipstamatic
You gotta walk that lonesome valley, and you gotta walk, walk it by yourselfHipstamatic Week 42