New York Minute: Hipstamatic and The Screens of Rock

Kristi Evans
Columnist from  Money-Makin' Manhattan
| April 6, 2010

New York Minute 8

There are hundreds of photography apps for the iPhone and I certainly have not tried them all, but my friend turned me on to Hipstamatic and I think it's one of the must-have apps for any iPhone user. Hipstamatic puts a retro spin on your pictures with several different lens and flash settings, making each one look like a piece of art that has been tattered and torn over the years, telling much more of a story than a picture from the regular iPhone camera would. The app design is that of an old school toy camera with several choices of film, lens and external flash. There is a surprise element to the pictures since the low-tech feel can create blurred subjects and odd colors that result in unexpected vignettes and leaked light effects. Also, there is a beauty in the graininess that we miss out on with our super sharp, zillion-megapixel cameras.

A unique frame finishes each picture off nicely, encapsulating the desirable imperfections previously available only on the original Hipstamatic square-frame 35mm camera - now on your trusty iPhone. The app is only $1.99 and with extra lens settings available for extra cash, it makes you feel like you are the cool kid on the block with your fun new gadget. The app also has a direct link to email or upload the full-sized pictures to Facebook if you can still stand Facebook. Here are some interesting pictures of NYC I took with my new favorite app. Lo-fi is the new hi-fi!

New York Minute 9

It's not often I get to go to concerts anymore. Not for lack of interest, I'm just hard-pressed for time and money. I manage to get in a couple a year but it's not nearly as often as I'd like. Being at a live show is a truly special experience, shared with an artist as they express their greatest talents. Everyone remembers their first concert - the exhilaration of hearing your favorite singer wail and your favorite guitarist shred, shrieking and dancing uncontrollably to state-of-the-art sound, packed into a sea of energetic fans. Letting your inhibitions go and feeling that rush of emotion as pure joy fills your being. My first concert was Skid Row and Pantera at the Meadowlands when I was 12. There were no cell phones or digital cameras back then. It was 1850 and digital cameras hadn't even been invented yet! Trippy. A time when being at a concert meant a much more personal experience, a connection made between you and the artist. Back then you could enjoy a good mosh pit, get some crowd surfing in, and maybe even a take a stage dive or two. Total adulation. 

Nowadays, it's a much different vibe. The only surfing I see is on smartphones. Fans packed tightly together standing as still as they can with their iPhones or recording devices held over their heads. Instead of swaying with the music, they are staring intently at their screens trying to get the best video. It's quite depressing actually. I'm sure the artists would rather look out from the stage and see everyone getting down to their jams than an ocean of iRobots staring blankly at them. What is the point? So you can watch and listen to it later on a tiny screen with a millionth of the sound quality? Or post it on YouTube or MySpace (*snicker*) and get a million views? Why not enjoy the show while you are there? Take in the music, the beats, the energy.

I have been experiencing this for the last several years but I really took notice of it at a recent Rihanna concert. I understand that she's smokin' hot and you want to twitpic her shiny silver Daisy Dukes, but the dynamic was completely different than any concert I've ever been to. We were dancing on the mezzanine at Hammerstein Ballroom and all I could see were hundreds of LCD screens in front of the stage. It was like the iPhone had replaced the lighter. Major buzzkill. Let's make a collective effort to remember what music is about, pick up our heads, put down the phones, and just dance. 

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