Remember Getting Your Photos Developed?

As the selfie only continues to gain cultural traction, the app market has exploded with all kinds of self-portrait-related paraphernalia. There are Facetune, CamMe, Pixtr, and Everyday; there's Beauty Mirror; there's SkinneePix. All of them are devoted to making your photos look brighter, slimmer, artier, better. That's why new app 1-Hour Photo is such a departure from its photo app brethren. Like an old-school Polaroid, it makes you wait an hour for your pictures to "develop."

There's a reason for this: the makers of the app want users to appreciate the moment in which a photo is taken, letting it become a memory instead of worrying about uploading it as soon as it's snapped. In order to boost the app's old-timey feel, they've also implemented a feature that makes all developed photos black and white. Furthermore, the front-facing camera is disabled, meaning that selfies are all but impossible.

All these effects remind me of elementary school field trips to D.C., when my mom would furnish me with a disposable camera. I'd snap random, badly-lit shots along the way and get the roll developed when I got back. (I am and always have been a bad photographer, so the pictures were almost all terrible.) But is there any point to echoing that kind of technology? To me, the thrill was always in holding the envelope of developed photos from Kodak, or shaking the Polaroid in the air to make it develop faster — neither of which you can do on a phone.

However, 1-Hour Photo has some stellar reviews on iTunes.

"I'm a film shooter, so I was admittedly predisposed toward liking the experience of waiting for your photos, but even so I am impressed by 1-Hour Photo. It's a simple idea executed with simple design. Waiting for photos does indeed change your outlook on them, and makes you more selective," wrote one user.
"Doesn't feature a front facing camera (thank God) so for my first picture I took a selfie. I had no idea what I looked like or even if I was in frame. The results were breathtaking. So honest. I'm excited to use this more often because some things are really worth the wait and the hour process makes a world of difference," wrote another.

I admit that there is some magic in the idea of the reveal. Your perceptions of what you thought you'd taken an hour ago, compared to what you actually captured, may be entirely different. In addition, 1-Hour Photo could cause us to step away from the instant-gratification, how-many-likes-do-I-have-now nature of social media. However, I'm the kind of person who's going to forget that I have pictures "developing" more often than not. The app may be effective for some, but me? Not likely. However, if you're a hardcore photographer, or you like the novelty of waiting, you might want to check it out. It may not be life-changing, but it is fun.

Images: 1-Hour Photo/Facebook (2)