Nofinder iPhone app

June 2, 2012

This was the first camera app I got for my iPhone 4s. I stumbled across it a couple of weeks back while reading about the DIRE viewfinder apps for cinematographers and large format photographers. The DIRE apps let you simulate the framelines of different focal length lenses across various formats. The Nofinder app by comparison lets you take a photo with no viewfinder – the phone screen is blank, with no preview, so the framing becomes somewhat accidental.

I think the iPhone has good potential as a tool for freeing up the photo taking process. Sometimes it’s good to move away from careful framing and to see what eventuates from giving up control. The fact that each shot doesn’t cost anything also encourages experimentation. There are probably many apps that do the same but Nofinder was the first I encountered. As well as the black viewfinder I also liked the option to shoot with a square frame, something I have always done with film cameras but which is missing from most digital cameras. I suspect the square frame is a large part of the appeal of phone apps like Hipstamatic, Instagram and the like, apart from the effects. I played with a few of the effects on Nofinder and ended up mostly shooting with the hard contrast black and white look. Rather than considered photos, I was more interested in making images that were recordings of a glance- things that were looked at briefly but not paid much attention. Further to that I had the idea of putting together a montaged edit; above is from the first two days of using the app. Put together the images seem to me to imply a hidden narrative happening within the parts of the world I was moving through. Of course this is probably just a mental invention that occurs trying to make sense of images that are assembled together, but still an interesting process.

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