I’ve been looking through my archives lately, and I came across the pictures I shot with Hipstamatic’s D series app. I didn’t recognize them at first, but one benefit of keeping a blog going this long is the ability to go back in time.

I wondered how the D series would fare on the iPhone 5. Seeing as I removed the app from the phone some years ago, I headed off to the App Store. 

I didn’t find anything in search results for ‘Hipstamatic’ or ‘D-Series’ so I turned to the Purchased section and found it back in the archive along with some other purchases from long ago.

So I installed it.

First thing I noted: it was never updated for the 5.

(Note the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.)

Not a good sign.

But maybe…

So far so good. Let’s shoot a D-Fault roll.

Since it’s a D-Fault camera, let’s just go with the default sticker.

And, no, I don’t want to add any friends…



I think the “allow _______ to use the camera” (or whatever that pop up says) causes the crash, probably because the app has not been updated in 3 years. But maybe Synthetic just included a bug in the last release to prevent use. Allahu Alim (and, probably, the Synthectic people and maybe some others).

In the long history of frivolous purchases, this is perhaps one of the more insignificant. I dropped maybe $10, $15 on it back in 2012. Allah knows how much I’ve dropped on Hipstamatic proper over the years.

But it’s still a bother. I liked (and still appreciate) some of the frames and effects in a couple of the filters.

This is one of the big problems with camera apps and digital cameras in general. An analogue camera will function as long as all the springs and whatnot last, and I can develop film in the kitchen sink with time-tested, readily available materials.

With digital cameras, I’m dependent on their internal JPEG engine, or on Adobe or the open source community to write and maintain RAW conversion software to process the images.

But with apps, I’m dependent on even more: the app developer needs to maintain the app sufficiently to operate on the hardware and the OS.

Strike against filter apps. And a strike against Synthetic for abandoning the app so quickly.

Maybe they’ll include the effects in Hipstamatic or Oggl one day; or maybe I’ll find ways to get out of the endless dependence on others to help me realize my vision.

I’m reminded of Flusser, here…

Photographers encode their concepts as photographic images so as to give others information, so as to produce models for them and thereby to become immortal in the memory of others. The camera encodes the concepts programmed into it as images in order to program society to act as a feedback mechanism in the interests of progressive camera improvement. If photographic criticism succeeds in unraveling these two intentions of photographs, then the photographic messages will be decoded. If photography critics do not succeed in this task, photographs remain undecoded and appear to be representations of things in the world out there, just as if they reflected ‘themselves’ onto a surface. Looked at uncritically like this, they accomplish their task perfectly: programming society to act as though under a magic spell for the benefit of cameras.*

Now, I’m not a photography critic, not yet anyway. But as a (hack) photographer I need to be conscious of Flusser’s critique and make every attempt to subvert the camera’s program and bend it to my will. But how to do that with a piece of abandonware?

Maybe I try to reverse engineer it? Maybe I just enjoy the pictures I have from this app and otherwise forget about it? And if I really want to pretend like I’m shooting a roll of film, maybe load up Thirty Six again—I don’t think I ever shot a whole roll with that app, maybe I should…

Anyway. Hipstamatic D is ‘D’ for Dead. Is it a shame? Maybe. But I did get a few good pictures out of it back in the day. (I’ll share my favorites tomorrow or the next day, or both.)

*Flusser, Vilém. Toward a Philosophy of Photography (London: Reaktion, 2014), 48.

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