The Flats: Cleveland through a Hipstamatic

It should come as no surprise that I have a fondness of both vintage and technology. I love the nostalgia of  something that’s been seasoned by time, so when I found the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone I was all over it. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been snapping photos left and right with this thing, my cats, my office, pretty much anything. It’s even replaced the standard iPhone camera in the dock, it’s become my go to camera. It does a really nice job of replicating the unpredictability of vintage toy cameras, making everything look like a 1970 print you found in your grandparents attic. The only downfall is that most subjects you point your iPhone at aren’t that old, there’s always going to be a disconnect if you try to turn a Prius vintage.

Today while deliberately trying to get lost in the west bank of Cleveland’s Flats I realized how perfect the atmosphere was for some Hipstamatic faux vintage. The Flats are essentially abandoned and have been since the steel industry took a hit, but all the infrastructure still exist… the skeletal remains of an industry. As I was going through the photos I realized I was taking a look back forty years. They felt genuine. The way Hipstamatic processed the images combined with the aging bridges and factories, these, to me, look exactly like something you would find while going through your grandparents old snapshots. The Flats are great for this. It’s urban decay at its finest. I love wandering around just imagining what it once was, getting lost in beauty of how its aged. Some find it depressing but looking at it through a historic lens seems to make you think of it a little differently.


New York City Polaroid Project

The NYCPP is a nice collection of photos via Kent State graduate, Andrew Faris, taken back in 2003 before the recent surge/saturation of look vintage camera look. It’s a compilation of everyday snapshots seen through the eye of a curious transplant, ranging the gamut from graffiti covered streets to a lone pair of rubber boots. It artfully conveys the excitement of a first timer in NYC. I love how a good Polaroid can transport any subject straight back to the ’70s.


Puppy Love: Lo-fi animated Japanese dating game

I stumbled across this video from Justin Walls over at the Kitsune Noir blog and was struck by his challenge to watch it all the way through because it was ‘weird.’ That was enough reason for me to click it. I’ve watched it 4 times this morning.

The graphics are so lo-fi they take you straight back to the days of your first animated gif clusterfuck of a GeoCities page, all artfully tinted through a vintage 70′s lens. The soundtrack is a perfectly orchestrated trip through the 8bit laced ’90s, which I’ve managed to dig up at 8bitcollective. Don’t let the fact that it’s lo-fi fool you either, there’s a lot of attention to detail, including what would be code hiccups in the game system and subtle syncs with the soundtrack. You can tell a lot of work/time was poured into this simply for the love it, which I appreciate.

If you like his style, he has a handful of prints and, oddly enough – yet appropriate, sticker sets available on his site MILKBBI. After spending a couple minutes clicking around you’ll realize that his GameBoy was a close companion growing up. It makes me wonder if game designers in the 90′s were consciously aware of the influence they would have on a generation.


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010