What do you think of phone photography?
It’s an oft repeated cliché, but I do think there is a lot of truth to the notion that “the best camera is the one that you have with you.” Obviously a lot of really bad phone pictures are being taken every second of the day but that doesn’t mean some good work isn’t also being produced. A lot of really bad film, P&S, Polaroid, etc. pictures have and are being taken as well. I tend to like the kind of phone photography that is comfortable with itself and isn’t trying to pretend to be something else. In other words, I’m not the biggest fan of the fake film borders and the iHolga, iPolaroid, etc., types of shots. The convenience and increasingly good quality of phone photography can surely stand on its own at this point. JesseWright and MishoBaranovic are a couple of photographers who I think use this tool especially well.
It’s also important to remember that everyone takes pictures. Everyone who can afford some kind of camera in the entire world takes pictures at some point or another. The convenience of phone photography is fantastic for the vast majority of people who just want to take quick snapshots. I can get all snobby on them and talk about how my medium format camera is better, but that’s beside the point. My Yashica Mat, with 12 frames can not hold up to the mighty iphone and it doesn’t need to. They’re both cameras in the strictest sense of the word but obviously they are very different things. I know a lot of people who take photography seriously and shoot on film or with full or large frame digital sensors, but still use their iphones for convenience and creativity. There’s room for it all.
I have an ancient flip phone and haven’t done much with phone photography myself, but I think it’s a medium that shouldn’t be marginalized just because it’s popular and seemingly easy. No, you’re not going to get the same kind of thing as you would get with a Hasselblad, but 35mm photography (small format) is also a compromise for the sake of speed and convenience. Photography has been chasing the rewards of convenience ever since the beginning. I think a lot of creativity can be found within the liberties and constraints of phone photography and since it’s a relatively new thing I’m sure we’ll see more exciting applications for it in the future.
What are you listening to?
I’m a big fan of the Magnetic Fields and just about anything that Stephin Merritt is involved with. I’m also often listening to Deerhoof and Arcade Fire. Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, David Bowie and a lot of the classics of rock, folk, blues, etc. are often on my ipod. I also listen to a lot of classical music. I’ve been playing Beethoven’s 6th symphony (my favorite of his) and Rimsky Korsakov’s “Antar Symphony” a lot lately.
Where can we find you?
flickr and tumblr. I also have a webpage. Of those three I spend the most time on flickr.