The banks of the river Ganges is a wonderful place for a travelling photojournalist - there are seemingly endless documentary images to be made and stories to be told wherever you look. At last years Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad this was the case even more so than normal. Wherever you looked there were people - literally millions of people - doing something in or alongside the river, whether bathing, making offerings or simply trying to make a living. While people were throwing small coins into the river as offerings - children were there with their trousers rolled up towing powerful magnets through the shallow waters in the hope of catching any small coins they could attract. Coconuts bought from vendors on the banks would be gently placed in the river and prayers given by devotees as they floated away downstream - only to be netted from strategic vantage points 100 yards away and sold back to the vendors in order that they could then be sold back to worshippers at a profit. In many respects this fits perfectly with many of the beliefs of Hinduism - endless cycles of creation, preservation and reincarnation.
My new Apple Iphone 5s has a really great camera - ideal for general day to day snapping when there's no real need to carry around a big DSLR. On my recent travels to New Zealand I became fascinated by the Kiwi's personalization of their letterboxes - every one seemingly different and each showing something of the character of the owner. This was a great opportunity to just use the ever present Iphone loaded with Hipstamatic and shoot a series of images as piece of simple photojournalism. As always with these series each individual image is not necessarily great - often very quickly composed from the window of the van as we passed by - but as a piece of documentary photography they show something of New Zealand's quirky character.
Hipstamatic is a really useful app although having shot the images you are pretty much stuck with the lens and film styles you've selected. The great advantage of it is though that it's instant - the images processed and ready to go straight away. With more time available I would probably choose to shoot in something such as VSCO camera which gives the option of having easily controlled focus and exposure rather than the automatic features in Hipstamatic. Export the images from VSCO into a manipulation app such as Snapseed and suddenly you have full control of the image. To be honest though there is something very satisfying about the immediacy of Hipstamatic that is hard to beat.