Best of the Bay 2012: BEST ONE-UP ON INSTAGRAM

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The square aspect ratio and grainy filters of everyone's favorite $1 billion photography app turn perfectly good shots crappy-cool with the swipe of a finger, allowing smart phone users everywhere to take photos way back. But to take photos way, way back, you have to be in the Mission for a tintype portrait at Photobooth. These old-timey sheet-steel images were once popular at carnivals and fairs; even after wet plate photography became obsolete, tintypes were deemed charmingly nostalgic — a sort of prescient irony that pre-dated hipsterism yet neatly anticipated it. Perhaps that same appreciative irony applied to the tintype's tendency — due to long exposure time — to make subjects look vaguely, yet somehow quaintly, sociopathic. Or, as the Photobooth website delicately puts it, "Traditionally, tintypes recorded the intensity of the individual personality."

1193 Valencia, SF. (415) 824-1248, www.photoboothsf.com