If you own a smartphone and have even a remote interest in photography, you will find yourself spoilt for choice in the range of applications on offer.
Should the enormously popular Instagram not tickle your fancy then there are countless rivals doing a pretty similar job.
This means that any new photography app would have to do something pretty special to lure you away from these established brands, as Twitpic will likely be discovering following their smartphone launch earlier this week.
1000Memories has this week released the Shoebox application for Android smartphones and updated their existing iPhone app.
Shoebox sets itself apart from the better-known photography apps by placing its focus on your albums of old photos, rather than instant images, editing and social sharing.
The app works by having you gather your collections of old photo albums and ‘scanning’ them using your phone’s camera. Once on the device, you are able to crop the pictures and upload them to albums or ‘Shoeboxes’ in the 1000Memories cloud.
By scan, what they actually mean is take a standard picture of a physical picture you may have left stored away in a box or on a shelf for 20 years - this really isn’t any sort of revolutionary technology that gives you high quality scanning on a handset.
Unlike Instagram or its plethora of imitators, there are no filters available to make the picture look as though it was taken in another century. This isn’t a problem if you are using the app for capturing existing photographs as they will hopefully look fairly old anyway, although by contrast the sharpness of any digital images you upload looks pretty unforgiving.
In reality the service isn’t practically all that different from any other cloud space on which you can host images. If anything it is considerably less advanced than most. You take a picture, crop it and upload to a website. However, this really isn’t the point of the app.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of using Shoebox is the time you spend going through your old photos, adding information about each picture and remembering where you were and why you took it. Using words like “memories” and “shoeboxes”, the app places huge emphasis on the sentimental attachment to photographs, and when you are going through the process of making your shoeboxes this really hits home.
Personal photography has changed enormously over the past few years, but the major change has probably been in our attitude towards photographs. What were once a collection of cherished, personal memories which we would happily spend money on having developed are now something we take without thought, apply a suitably hipster filter to and wait for strangers to congratulate us by leaving comments.
Whilst this is all very fun, there is a lot to be said for a service which makes your photographs feel personal, worthwhile and something of real value once again, and sentimental types who like the idea of spending hours flicking through their old pictures might find Shoebox the natural photography app for them.
Shoebox is available for free in Apple’s App Store and on Google Play for Android phones.