Cell Phone Photography - death of an artform?

May 14, 2014

A recent call for art at the StoneCrop Gallery in Ogunquit, Maine, asked photographers why they take cell phone images.  When it came to my attention, through an interview with Spotlight Magazine, I was overjoyed that a gallery was taking interest in cell phone photography.  When I saw the cover of the Spotlight that week, I squealed with glee.  A photo of cows that I had taken at Canterbury Shaker Village was on the cover!

Over the past year I had witnessed a growing number of fine art photographers posting their cell phone images to Instagram and VSCOcam, two of the most popular mobile imaging sites.  I was inspired and wanted to join in the fun.Of course, there has been a huge debate on this trend.  Some are calling it the death of photography others, like my idol Annie Leibowitz, are calling the iPhone the greatest snapshot camera.  Let's face it, this is where technology is going.  History has shown you can't fight it. What you can do, is work towards becoming really good at it.

I have been playing around with my iPhone 4S since the end of 2013.  I have learned how to use the HDR features and I am pretty impressed.  There was a time I wouldn't want to take a photo unless I had my Canon SLR on me.  Now that I know the ins and outs of the iPhone camera I have found that the white balance, spot metering, and focus are more or less under my control.  The HDR feature adds depth to shadows and a crispness to the image.  I follow it up with the HDR editing software in Snapseed.  There are HDR specific apps out there that could improve on this more.  I am sure I will venture in that direction eventually.  

So, what do I like about it?  Convenience.  That was my first excuse anyway.  Then I realized I was taking more time for each one of my shots instead of clicking away.  I had to.  I had to spend more time on composition.  I had to make adjustments in settings.  The setting adjustments are a quick tap on the screen where you want the camera to focus or adjust white balance.  I can tap the exact area that I want to adjust.  I can't do that on my SLR and that feature alone makes cell phone photography pretty cool.  I'm hooked now.  I go out a few times a week just to take cell phone photos.  I only take a few each time but I enjoy the time I have spent constructing these images.  My iPhone has made photography fun again,  not just a job.  It has changed how I work and turned it into play.   

 

 

 


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