Cellphone-camera photos have been gaining cred for years now, even before the iPhone. But the genre has been exploding with the advent of apps such as Hipstamatic, Camera Bag and especially Instagram, all of which apply dramatic or even whimsical effects to what might otherwise be so-so shots.
In summer 2010, for instance – before the advent of the photo-sharing app Instagram – Dijital Fix gallery space in Manhattan's Lower East Side hosted an exhibit of Polaroid-mimicking images shot with the Hiptstamatic iPhone app.
But Instagram, which debuted on the iPhone (and is still available for only that device), has propelled cellphone photography by combining great effects with a social network based on sharing and commenting on everyone's creations.
"I just ended up using these phone applications, and I was impressed with how it's taking off — especially the ability to share, especially with Instagram," said Cliff Manspeaker, a Web developer-cum-curator who is planning an exhibit in Orlando, Florida.
The show, called Depixtions, opens on March 10 and will feature submissions from around the world. "I'm actually surprised at the number of international entries we've received so far — India, Ireland, Egypt, China," said Manspeaker. The exhibit got a boost when a tech news site, The Next Web, featured it in an article over the weekend. They wrote it based simply on materials Manspeaker had put out.
He didn't even know about the article until later when he started seeing a flood of entries coming in. The count now up to about 120, and the deadline for submissions is this Friday, Feb. 17.
Manspeaker wanted to see good come out of the show, in addition to the artistic output, so he made it a fundraiser for New Hope for Kids, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
His goals are modest. He hopes to sell each photo for just $5. " If we can get up to 300, that would be $1,500. That would be great," said Manspeaker.