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As with fashion, we are always looking back for inspiration. This year has been no different, with the arrival of retro-esque photographs. They are instantly recognisable around Facebook by their faded, cross-processed look (remember your parents’ old photos from the 60, 70s and 80s?!) and their square shape with a vintage frame. Digital photography never looked so analogue.

This retro trend in photography has seen a rise in the popularity of cheap and technically obsolete analogue cameras (Lomography and Polaroid instant cameras), as well as Smartphone software that emulate such cameras, to create different effects. It seems we are in a mobile photography movement where applications are making it quicker and easier for us to create artistic photographs, without having to spend a fortune on editing programmes.

One app called ‘Instagram’, a free photo sharing application for iPhone, allows users to create retro-style photos by applying different effects or filters. In homage to both the Kodak Instamatic and the good old Polaroid, it reformats photos into a square shape. They are then able to share their photos through the Instagram app or through social networking sites. The concept of sharing their creations has clearly sped up the trend and enabled it to be as popular as it is. They now have worldwide ‘InstaMeets’ where app users can gather to exchange tips.

The Vaccines are even asking people to tweet their Instagram festival pictures so they can use them in their music video for ‘Wetsuit’. This app’s success has been huge. As of September 2011 it had acquired almost ten million users with a team of just six employees.

Another iPhone app called ‘Hipstamatic’ recreates the experience of using the original Hipstamatic 100 camera, for a small price. Using the iPhone’s camera to shoot square photographs, it applies a number of filters to make the images look as though they were taken with an antique film camera. The user can choose among a number of effects which are presented in the application as lenses, films and flashes.

The Hipstamatic brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past. It keeps the quirks of shooting old school but gives you the ability to swap lenses, film, and flash settings all with the swipe of a finger.

The founders of the original of the camera 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. It seems the days of buying expensive photo editing programmes and not knowing how to use them are over.

If you don’t have any of these iPhone apps but do have a photo editing program, follow this link to my step by step guide: http://www.wikinut.com/how-to-create-retro-photos/3q._vob_/1ubsu9z_/

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