Being Square Seeing Double

Grand Central Station, New York


Three years ago I had an exhibit of my landscape photography, and it was well received. I had large prints made on my Epson 9900, and I was quite proud of them. I sold a good number of my prints, and I felt that this was successful. On opening night, however, a journalist from the Indianapolis Arts magazine visited the exhibit and had a few words that got me thinking. I’m paraphrasing here: “Mr. Raber’s photography of spectacular large prints, made with the finest technical expertise and the finest high definition cameras, is something to behold. However, I am tired of looking at such technical perfection where I can see the shit on a sheep’s ass from a mile away.”

Wow—he had a point. Rather than go on the defensive, I took a new look at my work. And when I did, I realized that my prints were quite nice but they lacked a vision and a bit of creativity. I had mastered composition and all aspects of fine printmaking, but the images weren’t fun. Yes, they were great to look at and explore, but they were too literal. I decided, then, that I needed to try a new project.

Church Cieling in Iceland

I had been playing with my iPhone and realized I was getting terrific photos. I have over 84,000 images on my iPhone at the time of this writing, and I spend a lot of time enhancing these images and sharing them through social media. I have Facebook and Instagram accounts plus a website for my personal work. While doing so, I stumbled upon an app called Hipstamatic. It’s a clever app that, through a combination of film packs and lens sets, allows you to create images with a stylistic look. While playing with this app, I fell in love with a lens and film combo that created a double exposure look.

The Combo was Film BW A/O and Salvador lens. The double exposure effect was created from one exposure, but the effect was determined by the tilt and sway of the camera. By varying the tilt and sway, the double exposure effect would change. It was a lot of fun. So, I set out to take action of Seeing-Double images.

Pike Market, Seattle, WA

I also decided that all the images I would create would be square—thus, the Being Square – Seeing Double name. Just about everywhere I went and every place I photographed, I would end up taking my iPhone out and shooting several images with the Hipstamatic app. The cool part about this app is that it assured me I would have the same B&W look for all my images. The app made a border and a vignette around the outside edges. I became intrigued by the images, and I ended up being drawn into the image as I explored what I was eyeing, finding things in an image that I hadn’t seen in the viewfinder. Plus, it was a heck of a lot of fun.

Airport Tunnel

I have been shooting this project for several years now and continue to do so today. Many photographers dismiss the iPhone, saying that it is not a camera. I tend to disagree with them. While I still, and always will shoot with my larger cameras, I always have the iPhone with me, and it only takes a minute or two to capture the Seeing-Double effect.

Images on display at my studio space
Images on display at my studio space

Last year, I had an exhibit at my gallery and I had only the Being Square – Seeing Double images on display. I printed these images on Canson Baryta paper using my Epson P800 printer. The size of the exhibition prints were 17 x 22 inches and I used my own magnetic clip frames to display the images. The exhibit was a success, and I sold a ton of images. No one asked how the images were done and, for many, I volunteered my technique. So, it seems that photographers were the only ones who had negative comments about using an iPhone.

Hipstamatic camera has two camera views. This is the one I use most set to 1:1 aspect ratio
This is the classic camera view, it looks a lot like a regular camera and is a lot of fun to use
This is the view where you set the film, lens combination to get the desired effect. There are a lot of choices and it may be hard to find the one you like best since they are all rather fun.

My clients were more interested in the image than how it was created. I believe that, as photographers, we need to constantly challenge ourselves and to find new ways of seeing. This was a fun project, and I believe we need to find projects to work on that give our photography, as well as our vision, a direction. My next step is to turn my favorite images from this project into a book.

You can find the Hipstamatic App on the Apple iPhone App storeYou can also visit the Hipstamatic website.

Please enjoy these images

Kevin Raber
June 2019
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 50 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of picture taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can, hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through, this site, as well as Rockhopper Workshops, and other projects, as well as teaching as Artist In Residence at the Indianapolis Art Center.

Article Type: Columns, MISC

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