Chime in on the “interesting” ethical conversation happening here.
My thoughts on the conversation:
You should know that Hipstamatic is an app that automatically applies toning etc at the time of creation, NOT after the fact. The photographer makes a decision on lens and film in the app before making a photo. In theory this is no different than choosing to shoot with a lomo, holga or leica because of the unique aesthetic quality they produce. There are no “after the fact” effects applied.
I tend to agree with Zach in this discussion. The argument that Hipstamatic’s method of processing images is somehow less ethical than shooting with the original equipment those filters are modeled after is dogmatic, pure and simple. As Zach has noted, the way that Hipstamatic’s processing is applied is key — no after-the-fact image manipulation is applied within the app. You select the lens, film and flash in the software prior to shooting the frame. If the way the software changes the image is faithful in reproducing the characteristics of the physical equipment that has been digitally modeled, where is the ethical breakdown?
The logical end of Chip’s argument is to say that digital photography as a whole is somehow illegitimate as a photojournalistic tool. Why is digitally simulating the physical and chemical process of light traveling through optics to expose a piece of film in such a way that the image resembles a photo shot on a modern SLR permitted, while replicating the idiosyncrasies of a Holga is considered anathema?
And what of converting digitally-shot color images to black-and-white? I don’t see any way this is not equivalent to Hipstamatic’s method of simulating specific types of vintage film.
Finally, the ethical considerations of photojournalism are about telling the truth.
Hipstamatic affects the image, but DSLRs often affect behavior. Why is Hipstamatic’s influence considered unethical while a DSLR’s is not?
There are dangers in accurately representing the truth with either of these tools. What is important is that photojournalists recognize those dangers and act in good faith to mitigate the possibility of deception.
(Source: drewvigal, via zachwise)