Friday, November 13, 2015

Confessions of a Smartphone User

About a month ago I bought the new IPhone 6S. I was leaving town for a month, and wanted to be able to take photographs that could rival, or at least compete with my 35mm. There are times when I tire of the neurosis of always feeling like I need to carry a sack of equipment with me no matter where I go. The 6S is the first smartphone that allows me to freely go about my day without worrying about leaving my 35mm at home. I have no illusions about the image-quality of my smartphone being superior to my Canon, I just want to feel like I can still be creative without the pictures completely sucking, and the new 6S is amazingly sharp and more than adequate.

Cell phone photography still has a weak reputation with serious photographers, but I think much of it has to do with the perceived threat of technology somehow taking over the comfort zones of photographers who have spent decades doing it one way, and one way only.  It took us awhile to get comfortable with the idea of going digital, but it's moving so rapidly, that the idea of shooting with a phone is still too foreign for many to jump in.

Many purists are holding on to traditional means of image making as if it were the only bastion of respectable photography left.  I'm not sure why this is so intimidating, but I don't feel like we are losing anything in the digital age. This isn't a stand against traditional methods of making photographs, as much as it's an attempt for me, as a photographer, to explore as many ways as possible to see what's at my disposal when producing work, and if a cell phone can accomplish that, then bring it on!

The cause and effect of the smartphone phenomenon, is the overabundance of cataclysmically bad imagery out there polluting the photographic landscape: which is annoying, but the flip side of that scenario, is the bounty of great photographers whose work can now be seen and shared online.

Admittedly it's overwhelming to throw your work into the vortex of selfies and vertical videos, but using a smart phone doesn't make you complicit with someone else using the same device poorly. I'm reminded, that given the chance,  you can take equally shitty photographs using a Hasselblad too. 

The adage, "anyone can take a picture," has never been more relevant, but with that in mind, not everyone can take a great photograph; and whether that's with a state of the art camera or my smartphone, who cares?

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