Hipstamatic, a super-cool app designed to provide a series of custom "lenses" for the iPhone, has a new group feature that could come in handy for citizen journalists, photojournalists and protesters.
Here's how it works: using the free Hipstamatic D-Series app, available in iTunes December 15, a group of people can snap "rolls" of pictures of 24 "exposures." (The set-up is a nostalgic wink to analog photo days and cheap disposable cameras still given to guests at weddings, says Lucas Allen Buick Hipstamatic founder and CEO.)
Why would this be useful for reporting events?
Let's say you're at a public rally you expect to get hot. You have a few friends on the ground, but want to make sure no matter what happens, all of your photos make it out.
You can invite as many people as you want to participate via Facebook and anyone who accepts the invite will get the photos. You and your friends shoot the event and every "exposure" you shoot is uploaded immediately to Facebook and shared with everyone you invited.
So if you have your iPhone taken away or lose it, the photos are still safe. There are a few drawbacks: the 24-exposure limit (which may change or expand in the future, Allen Buick says) could be tricky, because you'd have to keep inviting people to participate in a new roll and those blurry or accidental shots, just like in bygone days, also count in the digital roll of film. The app is currently also only available for iPhone.
"We didn't envision it for Occupy-type situations, but I can see how it might be useful," Allen Buick told IJNet. "With cell phones there are just thousands of more cameras everywhere and that means more people documenting the same story."
Hipstamatic, launched in 2010, was an instant favorite with photojournalists. It sparked debate when Damon Winter used it to shoot these striking photos of Afghanistan, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times, and has been featured in publications ranging from Foreign Policy to Martha Stewart.
2012 will see a further commitment with grants for photojournalists, Allen Buick says. We'll keep you posted on the details.