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Fotr forces you to print every iPhone photo you take


When was the last time you printed a photo? Well, Fotr is a new iPhone app that wants to turn that trend on its head, by automatically printing every photo you take. The idea is to bring back an aspect of analog photography: shoot fewer, but higher-quality photos.

This is a photo of a phone taking a photo of a phone.

This is a photo of a phone taking a photo of a phone.

Photo printing is far from dead. At Photokina, I saw a new camera from Polaroid with a printer built in. Leica launched its Sofort, a fancy Instax camera. A propos Instax, fashion designer Michael Kors got involved with a special edition of the instant-print camera aimed at the fashionista crowd. And I finally had a chance to play with the Impossible Project’s I-1, an interesting new take on the instant-print camera segment.

Fotr mimics the behavior of these instant-print images by printing your photos for you, whether you want them or not.

“Today people take near-infinite numbers of photos. They end up stored on a hard drives and nobody has enough time to go through all of them. We wanted to make them tangible,” Ondrej Loudil, Fotr’s founder explains. “You can forget about the tons of unseen photos with Fotr: the app will print all the pictures you take. No exceptions.”

Having to buy a "film" before you take photos on your iPhone will make you think twice about what and how you shoot, the app's makers believe.

Having to buy a “film” before you take photos on your iPhone will make you think twice about what and how you shoot, the app’s makers believe.

Once you’ve captured an image using the Fotr app, the images are printed and shipped to you within 10 days.

“Many professional photographers recommend getting an analogue camera to improve your photography skills,” says Ondrej. “Film is expensive, so it makes you think before you take a picture.”

The company claims that hidden in the restriction of having to pay for every print, is a creative liberation.

Within the app, you can choose whether to order the standard 6×4″ size or the slightly bigger 7×5″. You an also choose between color and black-and-white and 24 or 36 frames for a “film”. The films range from $17 to $35, which includes delivery of your photos to anywhere in the world.

So, is it a good idea? Hard to say; there’s definitely something to be said for only printing photos that are any good, and you can get prints made at a lower cost than Fotr. As someone who’s spent countless hours in a darkroom developing and printing photos, I think the theory behind the app is sound. Being forced to be more aware of your photography can do wonders for a user’s photographic output. I doubt a lot of users will make Fotr their main photography app, but maybe it’s worth to spend (up to) $35 on getting your creative juices flowing.


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