The original Hipstamatic was the invention of two Wisconsin brothers, Bruce and Winston Dorbowski. In the winter of 1982 they came up with what their big brother Richard later called "a million dollar idea for bringing photographic art to the masses cheaply" — a camera inspired by the popular Kodak Instamatic (and probably by the Russian Lomo) but made entirely of plastic, right down to the lens. The brothers set up a fabricating shop in a tiny cabin on the banks of the Wisconsin River and got to work. Over the next 18 months they produced just 157 cameras, at $8.25 retail apiece. In the summer of 1984 they were on their way home from signing the lease on a new production facility when they were killed by a drunk driver. Nine years later the family lost most of the brothers' photos and work archives in a fire, and the Hipstamatic slipped into the half-light of photo history.
The story would have ended there, except for Richard Dorbowski. In the summer of 2007 he decided to set up a web site memorializing his younger brothers. The site languished for two years, until two Web developers from Minnesota contacted Dorbowski about reviving the Hipstamatic for the iPhone. Their studio, Synthetic Infatuation, released Hipstamatic 110 just before Christmas last year. It's now in the Top 5 of iPhone photo apps. And it's an absolute blast.