Camerae Obscurae: Real Life Instagram Cameras and Film

They give us those nice bright colors
Give us the greens of summers
They make you think all the world’s a sunny day

“Kodachrome” Paul Simon

Instagram’s popularity is strange for what the app actually does. Today, 40 million photos will be shared by the 90 million users–where they go, what they see, who they went with.

In between taking the photo and posting it, however, users have the option of applying one of a dozen or filters that simulate vintage photos. These filters smooth rougher edges of unflattering lighting. Colors are saturated or faded, and imperfections like sunspots and light leaks are added. The filters have names that invoke the past–“1977”, “Lo-fi”, “Nashville”.

Is it nostalgia that drives Instagrammers? Not in the strictest sense of the word. The largest group of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-24– probably too young to remember bringing cannisters of film to a store to find out what is on them, and certainly too young to remember the real cameras and film that inspired these filters.

The blog 1000 Memories created this painstakingly researched graphic of the combinations of vintage cameras and films  that recreate the beloved filters in analog. Some of the filters mentioned are no longer with us. Perhaps we can feel nostalgic about that, too.

(click to zoom in)




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