April 16th, 2010 - Posted by Human

How Hipstamatic got its groove back


My latest iphone discovery is an amazing app which turns your iphone camera into an ‘old-school’ hipstamatic – above are some examples.  I loved the end result so much I decided to do a bit more digging about the original Hipstamatic and came across this great story about the invention and reinvention of the hipstamtic …

Website Post: HIPSTAMATIC HISTORY – June 2007

In the summer of 1984 my two little brothers, Bruce and Winston were struck by a drunk driver at 4:13 PM June 21st on HWY 17 between Merrill and Wausau, WI. That day forever changed my life. I am setting up this website as a way to remember my brothers and the passion they had for art, photography, and their ability to make things happen.

bruce and winston

Just two years earlier, Bruce and Winston had been attending Art school part time and had come up with what they thought was a million dollar idea for bringing photographic art to the masses cheaply. In the winter of 1982 they had developed a camera that was made entirely of plastic, including the lens. They molded and manufactured the camera under the name Hipstamatic out of their 650 sq ft river front cabin on the waters of the mighty Wisconsin. We all referred to the molding area as the ‘Animal Room’ because the smell reminded us of burning rubber and roadkill.

The Hipstamatic was born out of a love of the Kodak Instamatic and a desire to make it something even children could afford on a small allowance. My brother Bruce once said, “It doesn’t matter if the photos aren’t prefect — as long as people are capturing memories I will be happy.” At the time I didn’t agree, but now in my fifties I finally understand what he was talking about.

When it comes to making things happen no one did it better than my brothers. Bruce was a real life Macgyver when it came to making things in shop class, and Winston never once took ‘NO’ for an answer, even if he was wrong. My brothers were two of the hardest working people I had ever known.

After Bruce and Winston got the idea to make a plastic molded camera they worked 18hr days until they figured it out. They had a small cabin on the river that they used as their studio, and from dawn til dusk they would spend the day creating plastic sculptures, photographs, and paintings. In November of 1982 they would finally make a mold for the Hipstamatic A1 lens. By the end of the month they had made their first 5 Hipstamatic 100s. Locally everyone knew them as the “Crazy Hippies on the Lake,” but that did stop the local newspaper from writing a short article on them and the Hipstamatic.


Website Post:  INTERESTING NEWS – July 2009

Today I met with two young gentlemen that want to bring back the Hipstamatic, well, sort of. They are interested in bringing it back as a digital application for Apple’s iPhone. I will be sure to keep everyone posted. They will be spending the next few weeks using two of the original Hipstamatic 100s to get an idea of how it works, and the type of images it takes. 

Website Post:  IT IS HAPPENING – September 2009

When the guys from Synthetic first approached me to turn the Hipstamatic instead an digital camera I have to admit, I was confused what that actually meant. As it turns out it is really a lot more interesting than I had thought. The iPhone application will recreate the experience of using the original Hipstamatic 100. I think that Winston and Bruce would be very proud to know that they have influenced a new generation of people that love to capture moments in time and pay tribute to what they wanted to do 25 years ago.

hipstamatic app

Ryan and Lucas gave me the news about an hour ago that they will be proceeding with the project and that the Hipstamatic should be available for download later this fall for people with iPhones.

Keep following the story here.

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