some thoughts on cell phone photography (Part I)

Just as it seems like it’s a good time of year to clean out your closets, yesterday I spent some time scrolling through my cell phone photographs to see what was worth keeping and what could be trashed. In doing so, I was surprised to find, amongst everything else, a good many keepers. Below are some of these images.

This first set of photographs remind me of the types of photos I would often take as a photography student. They highlight lines, shape and form. These photographs typically convert nicely to black and white, although I left one in color because I liked the pink.

The warmer, golden images below are parts of light fixtures.

The next two photos are abstractions giving a hint or suggestion of a sunrise.

The cloud photo was how the sky looked above the Maryland Farms YMCA when I finished playing tennis a few weeks ago. The shinier sunburst image that I took yesterday morning is largely reflected light from the trash can at the bottom of the image.

So it seems when left on my own I take a lot of shape and form and abstract photos. Not really sure why.

Above you see more light fixtures and these have the bonus of having faces. These I found at the mall. BTW, one advantage to taking photos with your camera phone as opposed to one of your larger cameras is that it reduces the risk of being stopped by security. 🙂 

Anyway, when shooting professionally, I still rely heavily on my DSLRs and mirrorless camera, but the times are changing.  More and more professionals are incorporating cell phones into their photography and cell phone photos and video are used frequently by the media, stock agencies, and yes, law enforcement. Cell phone photos also line the walls of many fine art galleries. 

Certainly the ever-changing technology in camera phones is partly responsible for this phenomenom, but I would maintain that it’s still the photographer and not the camera who is ultimately responsible for creating powerful imagery. It is, after all, the photographer who plans, who waits, who designs, and who clicks the shutter when the moment is just right.

To bring this point home, you might go back and look at the “FIRSTS Project” in one of the September issues of Time Magazine. In that project, Luisa Dorr used her iPhone to photograph twelve covers and 46 portraits of women who “are changing the world.” In doing so, she and the powerful images which came out of her iPhone made history. Here’s a question for you: Was the iPhone responsible for the success of the FIRSTS Project or was it the vision of Luisa Dorr collaborating with the Time editors who used the iPhone as a tool to realize and/or futher their vision? I think the latter. It’s all just amazing, however.

So have you taken a look through your camera phone images lately? Where have you been putting your focus?  Do your photos track or follow your life or something you enjoy?  Is there a photograph perhaps on your phone which is more important to you than a photograph you’ve taken with a bigger or more expensive camera? My guess is maybe so.

And now the end all question which I must ask on behalf of all photographers: Is there now really a need for you ever, ever, ever to ask a professional photographer this question: “Wow! What camera were you using when you took this photograph?” As many professional photographers say time and time again, “the best camera for you and for me both is the camera we currently hold in our hands.”

Thanks as always for following my blog. May you always find joy in your photography, no matter the camera you hold.

 

 

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