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Why I love Hipstamatic

I’m 40 next year and I’ve got two young kids. So it’s no surprise I’m prone to a bit of nostalgia at the moment. Now Boy Wonder is full of conversation and questions, I find myself regularly telling him about my childhood, my likes and dislikes at his age. Football, Raleigh bikes, Tonka trucks and cartoon heroes.

He’s a bright lad but he must struggle to imagine me anything other than his Daddy: much bigger than him, salt n’ pepper hair, grumpy for no apparent reason. But I was once his age, and size, and I’ve got the photographs to prove it. Tattered at the edges, bleached, other-worldly.

So when I stumbled upon the Hipstamatic app for my phone recently, I couldn’t believe my luck. For a couple of quid, my phone camera pretends it’s stuck in the 1960s and 70s, emulating the flashes, lenses and photo films from that era to produce old school snaps worthy of my youth. Life on Mars for amateurs.

I’m no photo geek, so I shake the phone to try out the different ‘cameras’. Just like back then, a lot of the shots don’t come out right but the good ones reek of my analog past. One primary colour typically dominates the shot and there are sometimes ghostly features but they somehow seem more authentic.

Of course, I’m imposing my sepia values and tastes on the modern world. But in our digitised, CGI, airbrushed age, there’s something comforting – and beautiful – about photos that immediately look like the past. The memories in my head.

Here are a few of the kids (the first ones I’ve posted, due to some irrational paranoia – not helpful for a blog about fatherhood), so see if you agree that imperfect and quirky are best.

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