Indeed, smartphone digital photography has cured us of the dread of analog picture-taking of yesteryear: bye bye to limited film rolls, no more fear of how the pictures will turn out, and the end of waiting for your photos to develop. But if you’re feeling nostalgic for frustration-filled, anticipation-packed photography, try the WhiteAlbum app: it asks you to take 24 pictures (which you can’t do over or delete) and when you’re done gets your pics printed in a photo album for the tidy sum of $20. Metro spoke to Greg Beck, founder of WhiteAlbum, to find out the appeal of retro photograph-making.
How did the idea for this photography app come about?
— I got it when I was looking at old family photos while on a trip in Korea. I had been taking hundreds of photos of my own on my smartphone throughout the trip, but I knew it was unlikely to print any of those photos when I got back home to New York. What I wanted was an app that let me take pictures now and not have to worry about printing them later. There was also something really special about not seeing the photos until they were delivered to you. It made the idea of taking pictures more special. It’s about reliving the memory when you first see the photos in your hands rather than instantly on your phone.
And for those who didn't have the experience of analog photography before?
— For them, this means a different way to capture their photos. We want to let people enjoy the moment more and not focus so much on taking a hundred photos of one thing, never to revisit them again. WhiteAlbum encourages you to take pictures knowing they're going to be printed. And having printed photos in this digital age is becoming a rare thing.
Is there any difference on the quality of the photos this app produce?
— Absolutely. We spent months finding the perfect paper and printing partner. We selected a premium, heavy, matte paper that has a soft-touch laminate finish. Our photos are not your typical prints. They also happen to smell good. In addition to our premium paper and printing, we have also designed a custom box for your album of 24 photos. It's built to perfectly hold your photos for shipment, and also looks great in your book shelf for long-lasting storage.
What else does the app offer?
— You can also give your album a name which is printed on the back of each photo along with the date and location that photo was taken. And now we've started allowing users to "gift" an album to a friend. People love using WhiteAlbum at events like weddings and concerts.
What's the meaning behind the app's name? Is it because of the Beatles album?
— Actually, no. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to create a simple experience. I knew the end result was going to be clean, minimalist and modern. That's where "White" came from. I also wanted to deliver multiple photos so customers would have their own images to flip through years from now. Just like the ones ones I went through in Korea, I wanted to give people a real "Album" of their own.