When I was a little kid, my dad shared his love of photography with me, telling stories about photographing children while stationed in Korea where he met my mom, an Army nurse. He was the guy who gave kids empty film canisters to play with. It was something I continued to do on my first newspaper jobs until my world went digital. When I was about eight years old, he bought me my first camera, a generic version of a Diana that took 120 film.
Later in high school, my mom let me shoot with her Agfa rangefinder and Dad taught me how to develop film in the kitchen sink. But when it came time to make a commitment to photography, it was to a Nikon that I pledged my devotion. When photo store dude placed that first black Nikon FM in my hands it was love at first sight. The look of it; the weight of it. It felt… serious. It felt like a commitment. It felt like we were meant for each other.
I have been a loyal Nikon shooter ever since. It was only on my last vacation; two weeks of Bermudan bliss to celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary, that I bought the Hipstamatic app for my iPhone. It had begun innocently enough. Just a few shots here and there. Just to experiment. Just a harmless fling.
I was a little nervous about succumbing to the charms of the Hipstamatic; it’s so free-spirited, willing to try anything but at the same time so… square.
I was wary of tumbling down that rabbit hole into a chintzy, gimcrack world populated with lens babies sliding down tilted horizons. What on earth would my friends and colleagues say? Would I be shunned by my village and forced to wear a red “H” on my dress? I had always been a sucker for the “bad boys” and hadn’t several “famous” photographers been seduced by cell phone camera minxes? I talked myself off the ledge with my favorite, “You are your own woman, it doesn’t mean a thing” speech.
The truth of the matter is that, the Hipstamatic is FUN. I was not on deadline or shooting for an assignment. I was actually making pictures for myself and just for the sheer, indulgence of it. I flew into Bermuda and did not pick up any other gear the whole trip. Figuring out my favorite lens/film combo and letting the creativity rip was euphoric. There was nothing that wasn’t a great subject and I lost myself in the rich color and square format.
I fluttered out of Bermuda and ate my way through Perpignan, France for the Visa Pour L’Image photojournalism festival and my Hipstamatic enchantment continued.
I was surrounded by photographers and editors, inspiration was everywhere and I soaked it all in with my Hipstamatic.
I felt somehow free, unencumbered, exempt from responsibility. The pictures flowed. The south of France was a bounty of blue water, quaint towns and captivating people and scenery. Like every other fling, it was great while it lasted but had to end sooner or later. I’ll never forget my Hipstamatic summer.