When consumer digital photography was invented, a technological sea change occurred. The little grains of silver that had created images for 100 years were now replaced by ephemeral “bits” and “pixels.”
So why is everyone trying so damn hard to make this radically modern medium act like something from another century? Well, not everyone. Kris Collin’s Decim8 app zigs where Hipstamatic and its spawn zag, by introducing glitchy, undeniably digital artifacts to your camera photos. And the results are amazing.
Look, we’re all for nostalgia. But digital simulacra of faded film stocks are always doomed to be pale imitations at best. So why fight that losing battle? Let digital be digital. Glitches or grain, they’re both native artifacts of their natural media. And Decim8 proves that blocky pixel explosions can be just as artistic as push-processed Kodachrome.
The Flickr pool dedicated to Decim8-ed photography is — tellingly — called “Photographic Destruction.” That’s because Decim8’s filters and algorithms don’t exactly telegraph what they’re going to do to your photo ahead of time: your photo could come out looking like heaven or hell. The only way to find out is to try it and see what happens. Ironically, until the advent of instantly viewable digital pics, all photography was like this. In that way, Decim8 is truer to the medium’s roots than the latest faux-’70s filter ever will be.