Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The end of the affair?

Over the last year and a half I have found myself using my digital SLR less and less. I fell out of love with it quite suddenly when I bought myself an iPhone last year and started using the Hipstamatic app. Seduced by the romantic aura which this app lends to images and by the ever-increasing combinations of 'lenses' and 'films' available, I increasingly found the photographs taken with the SLR dull and lacking in impact. The Hipstamatic app gives images a grungy, lo-fi or dreamlike look or else heightens the colours, adding a dramatic edge, lifting the everyday to another level.  It is also highly portable - just slip the phone in your pocket and you are ready to go.  No more aching shoulders carrying camera, bag and lenses.

Some images taken with the Hipstamatic app over the last few weeks on walks near my home.

And yet......recently my love affair with the Hipstamatic has begun to pall.  Perhaps it is the ubiquity of these intense square images all over the web.  Perhaps it is the suspicion that they are a tiny bit inauthentic - just press a button and change the look.  Afficionados will tell you that it is just the digital equivalent of choosing lo-fi cameras and old film and I have certainly bought into that idea.  The very fact of selecting the film and lens combination before you shoot gives you the feeling that you have made a conscious choice about how you want your image to look, unlike apps like Instagram and countless others where you apply a selection of filters after taking the image. Or perhaps it's the feeling that it's all just too easy.

So yesterday, on a dripping and sodden country day, the sky washed out and colourless, I decided to leave my iPhone at home and took the long neglected SLR out for a walk. The pictures are straight off the camera, no adjustments in Photoshop.  The images have a quiet authenticity about them which I find strangely appealing, a bit like having a simple meal after eating too much rich food. This is how the countryside looks on a grey October day, they seem to say, take it or leave it......

Could this be the beginning of the end of the affair? Maybe these are the first faltering steps on the road to recovery. Perhaps I will learn to love my Nikon again (though I suspect I never truly loved it in the first place, but that's another story!)

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