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Monday, 02 August 2021


More categories:

Silhouettes against primary-colored backgrounds
Water flung in the air and frozen by fast shutter
Crepuscular rays over water
Black and white image of an exotic street performer
Closeup of a horse's eye
Any horse, doing anything
Long dramatic shadows in magenta sunset light

As soon as I post this, I'll think of ten more.

Big one: Food.

I'm pretty sure, in fact, that a lot of the machine learning training in the iPhone camera system is specifically designed to make food pictures taken under dodgy conditions look better.

Another interesting new category of photo is: "I took this photo because for whatever reason the camera can see this thing better than I can" ... e.g. stuff behind the TV, the spines of books/records too high on a shelf at the store, serial numbers in the dark or on the back of something that for whatever reason I can't move.


" [New book o' the week coming after my regular Monday pool morning with my friends.] "

Mike, surely you meant to write 'with my OTHER friends'

Wide-angle, shallow-focus closeup of a cow's nose.
Wide-angle, shallow-focus closeup of a dog's nose.

I like your categories a lot. They work for other kinds of cameras too, I think - even a film camera, as long as you have it with you!

For my social group, the books in the library with the atoms (or rocketships) on the spine were hugely important. Usually there weren't really other ways to find the science fiction (sometimes they were also all shelved together); but no Internet at all (never mind public websites), so while other books by the same author could be found easily, other authors doing science fiction we really had no other pointers to. So while of course assigning things to categories, especially assigning works of art to categories, is always problematic, my basic feeling towards it is positive.

Category: No Delusions- which is a sketch pad rendering via your phone's camera until you can come back with a real camera (which you swear that you'll never be without again).

You're overlooking commercial photography as category.

The current gen iPhone 12 series, for example, have excellent image quality and impressive dynamic range. And their sophisticated AI obviates the need for lights or having to do tricks in post such as "window pulls" for real estate or architectural photography.

To wit, this real estate interior shot I took with my iPhone 12S of a beautiful 1920's mansion in the Oakland hills on my way to the back patio for twilight photography.

All just add that the agent, who gave specific instruction NOT to use lights for this shoot, loved it.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION. Copyeditor's note. "Shouldn't categories by enabling and freeing,"

Either change "by" to "be" or fix the sentence some other way.

Reminds me of Borges list In "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins," taken from 'a certain Chinese Encyclopedia,' the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, in which it is written that animals are divided into:

those that belong to the Emperor,
embalmed ones,
those that are trained,
suckling pigs,
fabulous ones,
stray dogs,
those included in the present classification,
those that tremble as if they were mad,
innumerable ones,
those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
those that have just broken a flower vase,
those that from a long way off look like flies.

I share your "hate" of photographic categories. I have over the years received a lot of unsolicited emails to enter photo contests which all use these same pigeon holes that you must fit even to the extent that there was one, I can't remember which, that actually stated something along the lines of: if you choose the "wrong" category for your entry you will be automatically disqualified! I kid you not.Talk about "a thuddish, cloddish, simpleminded way to think about photographs". I admit I have entered the occasional competition out of curiosity when they have much broader categories but for a long time now only enter if they have a book category, especially fine art which is always highly ambiguous and open to interpretation and have at least received a silver and bronze "award" both times.

You're missing the most important one: "This is where my car is parked"

"I wish I had my main camera but at least I have my phone"

The best photo you ever took. This should give you a diverse selection.

I owned every Canon 1 Series through the years. Went to Nikon, back again, then to Sony. Kids all grown. Sold it all. Only use iPhone. Love taking pics of my pups. But every time I use it to take a shot of my 3 week old first grandchild, I recoil from its innate poor quality and can’t wait to get the R3 and a passel of lenses.

Iphone camera is better equipped for this subject han any camera.

I like your categories. Here are a few more possibilities:

--belong to the Emperor
--are embalmed
--are trained
--suckling pigs
--are fables
--stray dogs
--included in these categories
--subjects that tremble as if they were mad
--are innumerable
--subjects that are drawn with a very fine camel hair brush
--et cetera
--subjects that have just broken a vase
--subjects that from afar look like flies

Some inspiration.

Personally I don’t use smartphones for photography, mainly because need a proper viewfinder. But this morning I saw I nice documentary in one of my Dutch newspapers by the young Brazilian photographer Luisa Dörr who uses an iPhone for most of her work.




"The following might make a good contest: whimsical bookstore categories for famous books."
This comment caused me to think of Richard Brautigan's library for unpublished manuscripts he wrote about in his book "The Abortion". Self publishing authors shelved their books wherever they felt most appropriate. As I revisited the notion to identify which novel it was written in I note that a few lending institutions have set up Richard Brautigan libraries since the book was published in 1966 with this particular purpose in mind.

The problem is, Mike, your categories are all the same thing.

I didn't see the following which I believe are very popular:

My breakfast
My friend's breakfast

My lunch
My friend's lunch

My dinner
My friend's dinner

Gee, people love quoting that Borges list. Perhaps because it seems to destabilise the common notion of a logical list?

Bookshop category noted in a large Sydney bookshop a few years back - "Paranormal Romance".

Another popular one is the Mekon look; a selfie taken with the phone held above the head. The close viewpoint and wide lens combine to produce a portrait of someone who seems to have a huge cranium and a tiny body.

The Mekon:

I love your categories, Mike, and Ken Tanaka's categories actually made me laugh out loud (at work, no less). These are all a lovely way to look at smartphone photography. My own category would be, "Animals in places I didn't expect to see them;" this is where I'd put my shots of the sandhill cranes that hang out in the parking lot outside the building where I work.

fyi https://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/17/books/critic-s-notebook-this-click-then-this-walker-evans-a-man-of-lists.html

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