Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

The best camera is the one that’s with you

It has been said many times, and I suppose it is true as you definitely can’t take a picture without a camera, that is unless you use your phone. This article by Richard Gray@rugfoot on social media, extolls the virtues of using your phone as your camera. Richard does not come down completely on the side of phone cameras nor does he damn them as is so often the case from photographers. I am conflicted about phone cameras, I think it is wonderful that everyone now has a camera in their pocket all the time and that so many people now think making pictures is a good thing to do. I also think that the myriad of applied filters, the Instagram effect, is tired and tedious and does not make art or even better pictures. Instagram filters are the tomato ketchup or brown sauce of photography, if you have no taste splurge it on and it will be better. For me a photograph of value is considered both technically and visually, of course there is the magical grabbed moment but most photographers actually think about what they are doing when they take a picture and that process of consideration is what gives an image value. It is a debate that will continue until cameras no longer exist and all pictures are taken on phones only, or whatever we will have instead of phones, Google Glass anyone?

This article is worth reading, it makes points and arguments that are thought through and to the subject, I don’t necessarily agree with them all and maybe neither will you. Interestingly I found it on the Manfrotto website, they are known for their excellent professional tripods, I wonder what they will be making when cameras are obsolete.

One of the grand claims made for mobile photography by many people is that it has democratised photography. Previously an elite pastime for those who could afford expensive camera equipment, photography is now at the fingertips – quite literally – of everyone with access to a mobile phone camera.

?????????????????????????????????????Caption: Now everyone can be a photographer.

Mobile photography, or iphoneography as it was originally called, has existed as a photography movement since around 2008*, when people first discovered that the photos that their mobile phones (they had yet to become “smart”) took were actually, if not good, then at least not too bad. And even if their pixel count and the quality of their lenses did not compare to even the most basic point-and-shoot camera at that time, the fact that the mobile phone camera was the camera that everyone had with them meant that many pictures that just wouldn’t have been captured were now coming to light thanks to these new devices. If an interesting scene suddenly presents itself unexpectedly before your eyes, you reach for your mobile phone camera. The best camera is the one that’s with you, as they say. We’ve heard this so many times it’s become a cliché. But it’s important because it gave birth to a whole new sub-genre of street photography. By its very nature, street is candid and it has been given a new lease of life by the new intimate access that mobile devices give its practitioners. And many of these practitioners are only photographers because they found a smart phone camera in their hands. For many, this is the only camera they have ever had. “We are all photographers now” is another cliché we hear a lot around mobile. And although having a camera in your hand doesn’t make you a photographer, you do need one if you want to become a photographer.….READ MORE HERE

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