iPhoneography: Optics (Polaroid) Polarize

Optics, created in Polarize



One of the things that the iPhone does well (and one of the reasons, I think, that elevates iPhoneography above other mobile phone photography) is the platform’s ability to create digital images with analog and film effects — often with uncanny accuracy and sometimes even better than the film or device it mimics. Polaroid effects are among the more popular of these iPhone analog filters. There’s more, including my thoughts, after the click….

In case you haven’t bumped into this article, Kyle Chayka on the HyperAllergic blog has taken an intersting look at iPhone Polaroids and is definitely worth a read. What do you think about his assertions comparing digital Polaroids to forgeries?

We look at an iPhone “Polaroid” and see what would otherwise be a normal picture as more improvisatory, more candid, more fun. iPhone “Polaroids” shortcut the symbolic circuit we have built up between real Polaroids and their cultural meaning. The digitals are fakes, but no one cares — the cool factor is still there.

Click here to read the whole post on HyperAllergic.com >>>

While I appreciate some of the points and observations that Kyle makes, I have to disagree with several of his assertions. Are iPhone Polaroids fakes? Forgeries? I don’t think so. I think they’re a tribute — an homage. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I think that the number and quality of iPhone Polaroids is a testament to the format’s staying power. In creating new images and memories, digital Polaroids honor the value of the analog cameras and offer further testament to the impact that Polaroids have had over the years with both photographers and people who just take snapshots.

I think it’s unfair to compare the two. While the iPhone Polaroids are clearly inspired by their analog ancestors, they update the medium, not do it a disservice.

The digital Polaroids invoke similar visceral memories o the viewer that analog instant prints do. Rather than insult their analog ancestors, they bring the medium into the digital age and allow a new generation of photographers to shoot with the look and spirit of those analog cameras.

There are a number of iPhone Polaroid apps in the App Store. Some produce better results than others (some are simply awful). My go-to Polaroid apps are ShakeIt Photo, ClassicINSTA (actually, ClassicPOLA which never made it out of beta), and the freebie app Polarize. The venerable CameraBag has a very good Polaroid filter as well.

What Polaroid apps do you use? What are your thoughts on analog vs. digital “Polaroids”? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATED: Special thanks to Miki, whose comment below nudged me to flesh out my thoughts a little more….



Related Links: CameraBag |   ClassicINSTA |   Polarize |   ShakeIt Photo