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Thursday, 15 March 2018


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Always use the right tool for the job. The right tool can be a Holga, a 4x5 or even an iPhone.

The right tool also depends on who you are. My photos are scouted and staged. I leave my camera at home when I go for a walk. Obviously we are two different personality types. "That" is neither bad or good, it just is.

I use my iPhone to take a wrist shot of the watch I'm wearing for the day for Instagram, or make videos of my two kittens, Ringo and Aga, but that's about it. They get pretty noisy pretty fast.

The photo of Jim is quite wonderful.

I'm kind of obsessed with pictures of people making pictures, so there is that, but still, it's kind of transcendent.

The danger of the smartphone camera is that it might become the only camera you have with you.

I had a blog for years that was only for my large family (I have 9 siblings and their various spouses, offspring etc). I traveled a bunch for work and I would take—as my caption read—“grainy cell phone photos” and they had to guess where I was. I usually took a landmark or at least some identifiable vista so that if you’d ever been there, you would know. I stopped doing it about 5 or 6 years ago because the cell phone cameras got so good that it took some of the fun out of it. When I started the cameras were 1.something MP novelty devices in the flip phone du jour. Here is an example with no landmark: https://flic.kr/p/apirT

Last year I boiled all my photography down to about 400 photos (I know, too many) in two online albums, one a "travels" album, the other more pure photography.

About half the photos in that second album were taken with my OMD, the rest with my phone (iPhone 7 then 8). Time has now passed and I can't tell the difference in most cases without looking at the EXIF data.

I find the phone more spontaneous and of course it is always with me. While it is technically inferior it somehow seems creatively superior, at least in many cases. I can't explain this.

Cool. But it does not have to only apply to phone-cameras. It should apply to any camera you carry around, well, just to pictures. I always walk, I always have a camera, and I always take pictures. . .for fun. Some people refer to this as 'stroll photography.' This morning I went to the local post office, and because it was raining slightly, I carried the old Nikon 1 V1, with the 50mme prime. Those are being converted right now to B&W in DxO11.
Tonight I am going out to eat yaki-tori. I will take my old Canon M2 with the 35mme prime. And I will find something to shoot. Same as you guys with phones. I don't have a phone, so I can't take smart phone pictures. But I do have small cameras, so I have fun, too.

That second image reminds me of John Stanmeyer’s "Signal" which won a 2014 World Press Photo award.

It's somewhat ironic that photography, which was meant to perpetuate ephemeral moments, has become ephemeral itself.
Some people are trying to justify the rather obvious limitations of the images produced via smartphones by presenting them as "computational photography". We're supposed to be blinded with science and accept the smartphone's drawbacks as the next generation of photography. Photographs look terrible, but you know what? It's "computational photography". It's the future. You either take it or be left behind as a luddite.
No wonder more and more people are getting back to film photography...

Sometimes I'll take a smartphone shot of something I just shot with a more capable camera, simply so I can share it easier (or right away). It's my documentary phone in that way, and in many other ways. It's rare I've made a print from one of these shots, but they're the ones most people in my family see.

Smartphones are great for video also (held horizontally, everyone, pretty please?).

And as I go along, I have taken to shrinking my kit as much as possible. I have gone from Canon to M43, and recently acquired a Nikon Coolpix A that I take everywhere now, simply because it's fairly tiny for having a big sensor inside.

Some pedantic old git has to say it...

Frankenstein was the doctor. The 'monster' was called, iirc, Adam.

And Kenny looks more Dracula-ish in that picture...

"I don't want to categorize all the reasons why I might take a picture of something—I'd only leave things out."
That would be everything NOT in the picture...

Presumably Kenny thought that he looked like Frankenstein’s Monster, rather than the good doctor himself. Just sayin’ (and acknowledging that we are beyond pedantry here ;-))...

I dislike phone/tablet cameras for the sort of photography I do with real cameras.

I certainly value my smartphone as a better replacement for a notepad and memory.

However, I find there is are different sorts of photographic art at which they excel.

Here's a small gallery of images I've made with mine that I, and often others, quite like. Not your cuppa, I suspect, but tastes vary.

Samples, chosen for difference and for verticals that suit the blog format:

Formal Pose

Face in the Moon

Not a Fish

Reasons I sometimes prefer my phone over my camera:
1) Easier to share, especially to ephemeral timelines like Twitter;
2) Automatically includes location data;
3) wider zoom range than any of my lenses.

But the camera is still the only one that takes 'proper' photos. On a recent extended trip, I shot with my GX80 and transferred the JPEGs to my phone via wifi, where I edited them in Snapseed to punch up the images and then uploaded to various social media. This workflow was frighteningly effective compared to the usual long-winded RAW processing with a desktop PC. Haven't compared the outputs yet though.

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