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Even the most casual readers of this blog will have guessed that I’m a teeny bit obsessed with iPhone photography, or to use the correct terminology, iPhoneography. Having a phone with a decent camera has allowed me to document my life in a way that I’d never have considered before. I’m now more convinced than ever that good photography is much more about capturing an interesting image than about using high-tech equipment and getting everything just so.

I started out taking pictures with the basic iPhone camera, but was quickly seduced by the charms of Hipstamatic. This iPhone app looks like an old plastic camera, and takes photos with a beautiful retro feel.

The basic app price includes (I think) three lenses, with the option to buy more to achieve different effects. Be warned, this can get addictive – I have just about every lens going and get excited when I new one becomes available to purchase. I loved Hipstamatic dearly, and used it faithfully up until Christmas, capturing some lovely images.

That is, until I discovered Instagram. Ok, so it doesn’t have the fancy interface of Hipstamatic. It doesn’t have the flexibility to be as creative: in Hipstamatic you can combine any lens with any film, plus one of several flashes, whereas Instagram has a fixed set of filters. But Instagram has two big plusses.

1. You can ‘Instagram-ise’ existing images. So you can take a photo with your iPhone’s regular camera

then play around with it afterwards, zooming in and choosing the right filter.

You don’t even have to take the original image with your iPhone camera; you can use any image stored on your phone.

2. Instagram is social. At first I didn’t get it. I was a bit sceptical about the idea of signing up to another social network. I wasn’t sure if I wanted people to see my photos, or what the point was. But I started seeing more and more people posting photos on Twitter, with these instagr.am links, and I decided to give it a go.

I linked Instagram up with my Twitter account straight away, which meant that I could see which of the people I follow were using the app. Following them on Instagram means that I see their photos in my feed. I absolutely love it – I see little works of art each day. Because the app is on your phone, people are taking photos all the time, of their day-to-day lives. My feed is full of witty, beautiful snippets of motherhood, of hectic, fascinating lives and of the world around us.

I follow a lot of brilliant people on Instagram, and I’m taking this opportunity to recommend a couple of my favourites. @tiddlyompompom takes consistently excellent images, sometimes funny and sometimes beautiful. @cosmicgirlie, as you’d expect from the talented photographer who started Silent Sunday, is always entertaining and impressive. @youngmummyuk takes some classic images of motherhood, as well as the rest of life, and @softthistle always makes me smile.

The only downside of Instagram is that once you’re public, you can’t Instagram an image without sharing it with your followers. So if I want to take something and not share it, perhaps if I’m shooting something particular for my blog, or if I want to take a lot of pictures of the same place or thing, I go back to Hipstamatic.

I’m sure there’ll be another big thing along eventually to grab my photography attention, but my love of retro iPhone photography will endure for a while yet. Oh, and I forgot to mention, a big plus for stingy iPhone-users like myself – Instagram is free. (And nobody is sponsoring me for this post, I’m just wittering about apps that I love).

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I never really thought of myself as a creative person. Maths was the subject I really excelled in at school, and my brain is built for logic and argument. Even back in primary school I knew I wasn’t an artist. In reception I was the tallest girl in class, then a new girl moved from a different town. She was taller than me, and she could draw people with their arms by their sides; the people in my drawings had arms sticking out at right angles, like chunky scarecrows. The teacher told me off for drawing a line of sky with the sun below it. I never regained confidence in my artwork and got used to the idea that drawing was something I wasn’t good at.

I wasn’t musical either. I took piano lessons aged 12 or so. There’s a section in music exams where the examiner will play a selection of notes on the piano, and you have to sing the notes back to them. My piano teacher advised me that we should work on the assumption that I’d get 0 points in this section of the exam – if I could ace the other sections, hopefully I’d still be able to pass. She said she thought I might be a genuine  case of tone deafness.

As well as maths, I loved reading. I could write too, imitating styles I’d read and sticking to the rules. Still I never saw myself as creative; I wrote assignments for school, but didn’t write for pleasure. I think one of the things putting me off was my perfectionism: the more I learned about, say, the rules of poetry, the rhyming scheme of a sonnet or the rhythm of iambic pentameter, the vast tradition and history that influences a new piece of work… the more I felt that I could never produce something right, something good enough that fit all the rules and was worthy of note.

When I met my husband, I thought we were a perfect balance of opposites. He’s an artist: a painter, a songwriter and musician, a photographer and a filmmaker. I was the philosopher, the analyser.

Given all that, why did I start blogging? Honestly, I didn’t really know what blogging would be like. I thought it would be a bit of writing about life, a bit of reviewing free stuff, maybe a way to get some writing work. I had absolutely no idea that I’d become part of this community of fabulously creative individuals. I’ve come across so many amazing photographers, writers, poets and thinkers – normal people living their lives, but living creatively and making a little mark on their little bit of the world. Penny at Alexander Residence has been writing a radio play.

The Headhuntress in Hampshire is working on a novel. I’m inspired. All over the blogosphere, people are taking photos for Tara’s Gallery and Jay’s Silent Sunday. Maybe I’m a photographer too. I’ve found people who are like me, whose ideas I agree with, who also happen to be wonderfully creative. I’m starting to think maybe I am a creative person after all.

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