Hipstamatic - Instagram Part 2 - The ideal photographer's sketch pad.

In my last posting on the Hipstamatic, I railed against its “art in a can” nature.  Damn, my feelings have evolved.  To start, I’m intrigued (and thrilled) that as a professional image maker, this technology has become a virtual “sketch pad” for ideas.  The iPhone is with me all the time now, so I don’t miss anything.  While I sometimes find the final product / image “neat” or “amusing” or “cool and scrappy”, the tool’s real value to me is capturing ideas

Ideas come from all kinds of places:  the mind, a visit to a gallery, inspiration from compelling looking people, etc.  But now, ideas also come from playing around with your f * * * * * *  phone, taking “snapshots”.  In other words, the actual process of shooting is an act of exploring ideas.  There are a number of “phone” images that I’m now using as blue prints to create more produced and stylized photographs.  (Examples of these will be explored in my next posting on this thought.)  But here’s a seed of an idea I got recently (boy with Cookie Monster hat and ice cream).  I’ll show you how far I’ve taken this soon. . . 

Cookie Monster Boy

Often, advertising / editorial / commercial photographers put so much pressure on themselves (to a major fault) to produce new portfolio material that they become paralyzed in their excitement and fear of the desire to create something powerful and pretty.  For me, this new tool is a major breakthrough.  There’s no risk in playing with your phone.  No time or money commitment, no post processing action, no excuses.  In the words of Frank Zappa:  “Shut up and play yer guitar”.  In this case we’d say, “Shut up and take pictures”.

Family with doll. 

Jen Freebairn's CD package in progress. 

Guardian of the castle.

Arild mirror.

Oven lady.

Goose holiday.

Now there’s something else I’m loving about Instagram in particular.  People who aren’t even pro photographers (look up midwifekim on Instagram) are creating exciting imagery – and very consistently I might add.  Here are three recent images I love by my friend Kim the widwife. (But, there are also pro photographers who are consistently creating boring mobile imagey – doh, did I just say that?)  I like surprises in life.  And to discover that a long-time friend of mine makes bitchin’ images is a true delight.

Photograph © midwifekim on Instagram

Photograph © midwifekim on Instagram

Photograph © midwifekim on Instagram

And now here’s something I’m working on.  Shooting “from the hip”.  I’m trying to get candid images of people with the phone – and getting in as close as possible – without them realizing it and punching me.  I’ve got no problem approaching just about anyone and asking if I can take their picture.  But it always changes the moment.  If they say yes, they’re all of a sudden 100% focused on the fact they’re having their portrait taken, ruining everything for me.  So I’ve been practicing taking photographs while simultaneously making it look like I’m texting or talking on the phone.  The challenge, of course, is achieving the primo composition!  Here are a few hits and amusing misses.  (I get model releases religiously, but sometimes I bypass that when it’s personal work – like here.)

Wrigley Field program guy in Chicago.

Wrigley Field cop in Chicago. 

Waiting for Milton.

Until next time.  Maybe I’ll lose interest in this technology again – but maybe not.

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