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Hipsters stunned as vintage cameras fail to make them professional photographers

Posted on 15 August 2012


Morning sunshine orangely oozes from the pale fluffy clouds, cooked just right, captured within two halves of hot, freshly toasted buns and a slab of mystery meat containing possibly a dead cat.

The international hipster community is in shock this week after the purchase of a vintage Polaroid camera by a young hipster failed to bring him instant acclaim as a gritty, original, yet quirky photographer. Meanwhile, the non-profit Hipster Photographer Rescue has revealed that “this kind of tragic occurrence is happening so often now that it’s almost become mainstream”.

Leaning against the exposed brickwork in his loft-slash-studio, 28-year-old ‘creative’ and part-time barista, Zak Retrough, said that he is “like, shocked?” that his totally deck photographs of his friends looking moody next to some kitchen appliances from the 70′s have continued to be ignored by independent art galleries.

“Mainstream sellouts think that we use old cameras and only shoot in natural light because we can’t learn all that artificial strobe-flash stuff,” said Retrough. “But it’s actually because we’re shooting it the way we saw it. It’s, like, our truth,” he added, pausing to crack the plastic case of his new Lomograph camera to create light leaks.

According to a spokesman from Hipster Photographer Rescue, ever-increasing numbers of tiny-trousered, vintage-Polaroid-wielding 20-somethings are putting a strain on their limited resources.

“The problem is so much bigger than we thought” said Phil Anthropy. “Whoever it was who first told a hipster that extreme cross-processing and vignetting instantly elevates a photo of themselves looking bewilderedly off-camera through their asymmetrical fringe into art has a lot to answer for.”

He said that there was a persistent belief among the community that using old film cameras was somehow more “authentic”.

“But the sad truth is that they just can’t be bothered to learn about ISO, shutter-speed, and aperture,” explained Anthropy. “And we’re seeing a lot of injuries caused by them trying to force a spare film cartridge into the pocket of already too-tight skinny jeans.”

But, he said, there was hope.

“Here at Hipster Photographer Rescue we give these kids options, and make them see that lurking self-consciously on street corners, wearing a messenger bag filled with old cameras, cigarettes, a James Joyce novel, organic cashews and a Macbook Pro, does not make you a professional photographer.

“Still, we can only detox, de-program and re-home so many of these little guys,” he sighed.

This post was written by:

- who has written 268 posts on New Nation.

Joey is an intern at New Nation. He hopes to be as funny as Belmont one day and get laid at least twice a month.

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  • six6sixwitch

    Whatever happened to “punching upwards” in comedy?

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  • Keith Manley

    This is brilliant. I love hipsters. Always providing a constant flow of writing fodder…

  • Velove

    six6sixwitch – whatever happened to a sense of humour?

    • Benderhand

      Personally, I’ve rolled back my sense of humour to an earlier analogue version… Doesn’t make things funnier… but farts sound better.

      • L. F.

        Haha, won the internet there….

  • Vassilis D. Gonis

    Funny piece!
    Peter Folk said it best in Wings of desire: Coror in paintings is easy as pissing. The hard part is drawing. Cameras are just for amatuers, yet you have to have one. And if this doesn’t make much sense, well it is the perfect match for the article. Crack your cameas to have a full light leak and don’t use the shutter! 😉

  • Steve Wedge

    “Punching upwards”? In English, please.

    • Kim Ayres

      Mocking the powerful rather than the weak

  • RedeyeJack

    This is fantastic. Now please write one about why hipsters are pissing themselves about how good the title sequence is on Stranger Things. Or how you can hear “better” on Vinyl. Or why actual film is so much better than digital.

    Analog is so great man, you don’t even get it.

    Seriously. Please write more of these.

  • Erik

    Pure gold LOLOLOL! even funnier because I am a photographer and I HATE hipsters! :-)

    • Pathmanson

      Me too…

  • David Siqueiros

    Hopefully they will realize that to learn the craft of #photography they should assist a proven photographer. Obviously they do not know what “paying your dues” is all about. Most work today from youngsters is crap! Great article!

  • RJ Pisko

    Wonder where he gets his ancient Polaroid film packs? I’d love to get me some of that stuff for my collection of vintage Polaroids, ‘specially my XS-70 . . . 😉

  • dan690

    He could probably go to the NEA and they would give him millions.

  • Buffan Walter


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  • mark young

    The point is, for me anyway, that the retro movement is revealing of a trend toward the analog world view and away from the ever-present digital reality in which we live. I celebrate that attempt to hold on to and embellish things basically gone. But it’s apparent how people like to attach to their favorite perspective in lieu of embracing more than one.

    • Wes Putt

      I think you meant relish, not embellish.

      I also completely 100% agree with you. I’ll never be caught turning my nose up at any body of work that is done well… for instance a series of the flawless, flower adorned lady-wanderer thoughtfully gliding on a wet beach, fade filter cranked to 80% on all the shots… wow, never seen that before. But hey, a good photo is a good photo, originality notwithstanding.

      But that’s key here. It’s the difference between saying, “He took a really great series of photos of xyz.” versus “He is a well rounded, professional photographer.”

      • mark young

        embellish is an add on to, I meant it in that sense, if not only that it’s recycled, which is an embellishment. I was thinking beyond a particular photographer’s work to the general intent of the “movement”. I know what is going on in the minds of the commenters, they don’t like the idea of orthodoxy, high pixel counts, and generally technically refined images being substituted by those horrible Holgas.

    • JP

      The hipster/craft movement is so often mocked because it has become almost the antithesis of what it started life as.

      it started as a throwback to when real craft and skill was appreciated, it was to promote real skill and work. It might be Photography, film, wood work, printing etc.

      This was great and it led to a look or feel amongst it all. after a while people just wanted that look, that feel and the superficial elements of it and that is what it has become superficial, self righteous nonsense hijacked by fashion, ironic since it came about as a fightback to that.

      • PennyRobinsonFanClub
      • Denise

        Not only the hipster/craft movement had this happen to them. This is a recurring phenomena.

    • PennyRobinsonFanClub

      But when =I= do it, I’m just an aging Luddite!

      /Give me Kodachrome or give me death!!!

  • Meowsefer

    This is not funny. Obviously I see what the author is trying to do, but it’s really just not that clever. But based on the comments, it’s easy enough for most.

    • PennyRobinsonFanClub


      • Meowsefer

        This only supports my previous statement.

    • frank gorshen

      Well aren’t you special?

      • Meowsefer

        If you say so.

      • Meowsefer

        Frank are you asking if I think I’m special, or if I’m special based on someone else’s assessment?

    • Win Corduan

      Then don’t laugh.

      • Meowsefer

        You just try and stop me Corduan. “Ha ha ha”

        • Win Corduan

          I don’t get it. I’m not stopping you from laughing, just reminding you that it’s your choice if you don’t find the piece humorous. :) If it’s not funny, you’re not obligated to laugh. If you think that it’s funny that some people think it’s funny even though it isn’t, by all means laugh at them. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, “risibility” (the ability to laugh) distinguishes humans from animals. Since you’re undoubtedly human, you’re free to laugh or not to laugh as well as to choose the object of your merriment or derision. LOL! Have a great day!

          • Meowsefer

            And now you’re telling me how to be a human. When will this stop with you?

          • Win Corduan

            Consider it hypothetical, then, or heuristic if you prefer. So, assuming, just for the sake of the discussion, that you are human in the sense in which I use the term, you are free to laugh or not to laugh. That statement implies, of course, that its contrapositive is also true. If you are not free, etc., then you are not human in my sense. In that case, I shall concede that the fault must be all mine for straitjacketing you into a species according to categories that you don’t share. :)

          • Meowsefer

            Your assumption that I own a dictionary or know how to use one is insulting.

          • Win Corduan

            Wow! Is this ever weird! I just happen to have yet another solution for you. Copy my posts and paste them into “Google Translate.” Under language select “Wanton Obfuscatory Academic Jargon.” Hit the “translate” button and see what comes out in English. If English doesn’t work, try Tibetan or Klingon.

          • Meowsefer

            Ah wanton soup is great.

          • Win Corduan

            And so we have attained a point of agreement. Cheers!

  • Ryan Raz

    Would be funnier if it were not for the huge number of clueless camera toting ‘normals’ that think they are photographers.

    • Giggsy

      Give it a rest, hipster

      • Ryan Raz

        Is that lame reply the best you can do? Obviously another ignorant wannabe photographer or worse someone that hasn’t a clue!

        • luvntravln

          Take you head out of your ass! You are so full of your self you stink

          • Ryan Raz

            Ha ha ha a bit better :)

        • Erwin Anciano

          Pot calling the kettle black.

          “someone that hasn’t a clue but gets off on belittling others to feel better about his own inferiority complex”

    • PennyRobinsonFanClub

      Well at least it recognizes that it’s abnormal. Thanks for the compliment, BTW.

    • Richard Anderson

      what’s a normal?

  • Carlene Byron

    Hey! If you’re a hipster in need of a vintage camera, I have access to an estate collection of more than 300 ranging from Brownies to Rolleis. Every one used in making photos during last 3 decades. Message me!

    • David Chorley

      Carlene Byron, I am not a hipster, nor do I play one on TV, but I do appreciate fine cameras, you can contact me through facebook. Not really interested in Kodak though

    • carla xisto

      Hi Carlene, can I send you an email re the cameras or you can email me at [email protected]
      That would be great! many thanks c

    • rickybutlersays

      What up, @carlenebyron:disqus!! Are you for real about your access to tons of awesome cameras? Are you selling any? You mentioned Rolleis. Any other medium format?

      Disqus doesn’t have private messaging, or else I would have done it that way :)

      • Carlene Byron

        @rickybutlersays: look for me on Facebook and PM me there. I have the collector’s photos of his cameras, or if you want the full inventory, please let me know. Lots of medium format, both TLR and foldout.

  • Queefer Sutherland

    I’m still holding out for a hipster virus that wipes the majority of them out.

  • PennyRobinsonFanClub


  • Michael Wade

    I only hope I wasn’t as “self important” back in the sixties when I was young. I mean polyester in the seventies was embarrassing enough, but in my defense I was stoned most of the time.

    • Pathmanson

      I had several friends of this type in the eighties. I sent out one of them that was employed in our big youth summer project with a modern camera with built-in motor and fine optics. He was told to document a part of the project, take portraits of all the kids and their work, plus the building and surrounding area. He was also told to take a reel of our common friends, the young punk-rocker skaters in action. He came back six times later with my camera and six pictures. But they were Artsy photos! I had to take a couple of hours of my own work and go back there and take three reels, including one reel of the skaters in action. 3X36 pics are better than 6, even if slightly less artsy. The idiot friend is curator and boss at the county art exhibition hall in a county near ours since the late noughties… :-)

  • Mark

    I long for the good old days of Tri X film, when pushing film to 800 was revolutionary, mixing toxic chemicals in the darkroom and then pouring them down the drain. Film and grain and hand holding a 200mm telephoto at 1/15 of a second to make the blurry image was so “organic”. And that smell of Dectol developer under my finger tips. Oh, and also buying those 1000 foot cans of Kodak 5247 motion picture film (11 minutes) for $400. and having to rent the $150K Arri BL camera to shoot the film. Those were the glory days…

    • Pathmanson

      Been there, done that, except for the motion pic film part. I was on the dole and couldn’t afford that. We could buy ordinary 400 and 100ASA B/W 35 mm negative film in 100 meter length from East Germany, though, and cut and load it in empties and use it in our cameras. Fair quality and dirt cheap to boot. East German cut plastic-covered photo paper was dirt cheap, to, if a bit slow. only masochist bought thin paper in wide wallpaper-type reels and cut up in the darkroom. Wasn’t worth the pain…

    • watsdamattau

      Dectol smelled? Child’s play. I think you meant to say fixer or stop bath. Now those will knock you out.

    • Everett Engbers

      As if all the electronics that go into a digital camera are not at least five times as toxic as any of the organic compounds used in most black and white darkroom chemistry. The manufacturing process of the components to these little digital wonders are anything but “eco friendly”.

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  • Mustang

    It’s funny because it’s true!

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  • PubliusII

    Japanese artisanal paper towel dispenser: