App Art?


There are a lot of good apps for the iPhone. Yesterday I stumbled upon an excellent replacement for my default camera app, called Camera+. It allows you to shot photos really quickly by saving the image as a background process and not locking up the application like the Apple default camera app does.

And it has a good suite of editing functions with filters like Lomographic and Borders like Instant that can give an ordinary photo a special look (see above).

Or can’t it?

I’m actually torn regarding the functions that Camera+ and other apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic offer. Can they really make a photo special? Is the photo above on the right side better than on the left side? Can you just click on an effect and get that special Ansel Adams style? Or is a crappy photo still a crappy photo, no matter how well the effect looks?

How much is in the camera, in the App that affects the photo, and how much must be in the eye (and mind) of the photographer? Photographers like Ken Rockwell would probably argue that learning to see, learning to decide what makes a good photo cannot be delegated to a computer program. But I wonder when the first Apps appear that will analyze a photo on the fly and offer recommendations for a second or third photo from a different perspective. Or when you simply move your camera around and the camera decides when you have found a good angle to capture the scene. But who will be the artist in this case? And is it still art if you simply click on a button to “enhance” your image?

What do you think?

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