I was searching for something on my computer tonight and for some reason, all of my digital photos from when I was in Central America in 2011 appeared. They have been floating in and out of my psyche for a while, and I decided to actually look through them. Seeing them again made me think of a friend asking where I want to go next. Cuba is on top of the list if we are going international, but after seeing these images, returning to Antigua, Guatemala in 2018 for their psychedelic holy week is high on the list.
Part of the reason I want to return is that the mobilography wonders of the Hipstamatic app have completely taken over my creative life since that time. I cannot even imagine what sort of compelling images could be captured with Hipstamatic’s innovative mix-and-match potentials on my iPhone. When I was there in 2011 I was exploring analog photography again with Lomography’s Holga and Oktomat eigh- eye camera. At the time I had no idea that a much cheaper, easier, and more immediate tool that offered revolutionary experimentation would soon be available to fulfill those adventuresome photography needs. I am old enough to know a world without digital cameras or phones, and film photography can be cool, and it can also be prohibitively expensive.
I spent about $2,000 buying film, shipping it home periodically so it would not be stolen along the way, and then developing and having it all scanned when I returned. And the kicker is I really only got about 10 great photos out of a couple of thousand images. I am in no way disparaging classic darkroom photographers who have serious skills. That is a whole different craft, and this was meant to be unorthodox and playful. They are plastic cameras. But I still thought a few more of them would work. I was also seriously into the double exposure potentials with the Holga, and I did not know I could do them on more high-end cameras at the time.
The entire photo landscape has changed since digital and mobile have taken over, and I like it. As I write this my mind drifted to the fact that if I was not chemically sensitive I would be a Tintype photographer. Those eerie, one-of-a-kind, imperfect metal or glass plates with intensely focused subjects could be unbelievable at such an interesting location. A girl can dream of Sally Mann processes, but no stinky toxins will be coming into my world. And the real miracle here is I can now get double exposures and watered-down Tintype-styled imagery on my phone. And to be fair to analog options, with mobile photography you do have to take into account the cost of the device and any services and accessories attached to it. And still, with all of that back and forth between my love of real and uncontrollable film potentials and the ranges of innovations possible in mobile explorations, Hipstamatic will still ROCK psychedelic Easter. Here are some of the photos from 2011 and the article I wrote at the time sitting in an epically slow cyber cafe (loving every minute of it). More, please.
The analog Lomography images that worked get their own album below. Enjoy them. And I am humbly noticing that I have become a better photographer over the last six years as well, how great.