The photography industry has had its share of controversies. For contemporary photographers, it may be difficult to imagine that color photography and autofocus were both highly controversial when they were first developed. It appears that those in the photography industry have always had a difficult time dealing with change. What was true then is also true now. Today, the photography industry is dealing with many new issues. Everything from the copyright implications of Pinterest to how “shoot and burn” photographers are effecting the revenue possibilities of offering prints. However, there is no greater controversy than the rise of mobile photography and the use of the iPhone.
I freely admit it. Today, I shoot mainly with my iPhone. Now before you grab your torches and pitchforks, hear me out. I started out, like many of you, using a DSLR. My move to the iPhone was a gradual evolution as I discovered it was a tool that allowed me to use both sides of my brain simultaneously. As much as I am an artist, I have a degree in biology and I am also somewhat of a science wonk.
In the beginning, I was shooting with my Nikon D200 and I would occasionally fire off a shot here or there with my old Android phone. Then I started to notice something. I noticed that how I “saw” an image was changing. It was the viewing screen on the phone. After all those years of looking through a viewfinder, I realized that I had been looking “inside” a device. With my mobile phone, I was now looking ON a device. I could see the image in real time, on a real frame. My composition started to change. I started seeing lens distortions and new vantage points. It was as if I had a new pair of eyes.
I also enjoyed the instant gratification of being able to edit an image immediately, on the same device, without having to download or convert. Yes, there is an app for that. The availability of apps freed me up to experiment more. I saw trends. I started to mentally apply app filters to a scene before my eyes. I saw which filters blew out highlights and which ones increased shadows. I started to have favorites and figured out which apps were more my style.
My evolution was complete when I moved from an Android phone to the mack daddy of mobile photography, the iPhone. My current focus is on black and white macro images of flora.
Here’s what I use:
- iPhone 4
- Olloclip (fits over the iPhone lens; the macro lens is like looking through a microscope)
- Instagram (used mainly for sharing images)
Controversy notwithstanding, “iphoneography” is my thing. I am a trained photographer and I know the resolution limitations of mobile photography and its sometimes choppy images. DSLRs and even film cameras generally produce smoother tones. I see this as a challenge to me as I have to flex more of my photography muscles to get a great image.
To those in the industry, maybe it is time for a paradigm shift. We are seeing more top professional photographers adopting this new technology. Getty recently licensed Nick Laham’s images of the Yankees baseball team taken with an iPhone. The writing is on the wall. Mobile photography is not a passing trend. It is here to stay and its appeal can only grow.
Until Nikon or Canon can come up with a camera the size of a mobile phone with editing, sharing and WiFi capabilities built in, then…hello iPhone.
Kym Scott is the founder of Black Female Photographers and specializes in fine art photography. She lives in New England with her husband and son. You can view more of her work on her Tumblr.