It wasn’t that long ago that we all laughed at the idea of cameras built into phones. They were low resolution and hideous quality. The picture of your grandmother in the backyard looked more like a blurry shot of Big Foot running through the brush. Even with that said, phones with cameras were treated and sold like luxury items.
Pretty quickly, it seemed that it became difficult to buy a phone without a camera. I had one on mine for years that I never used. They were a joke. When I spotted a copy of National Geographic’s “The Camera Phone Book,” I bought it to have as a humorous conversation piece.
The whole time I, and many others, were laughing, the technology was rapidly evolving. These jokes were starting to become decent little pocket cameras. If nothing else, they were enabling people to make pictures of moments that were otherwise not likely to be recorded. It goes back to the fundamental idea that the most important part of making an amazing picture is having your camera with you (which I talked about in a previous post).
Fast forward to today. The phones still have limitations but in the right hands, I’ve seen some amazing work. Look at the work of San Francisco Bay Area sports photographer Brad Mangin. NOTE* You’ll need to log into your Instagram account to see his stuff. (If you want to follow my Instagram account, I’m RRS_Cameraman)
I’ve been playing around on my phone, the first generation Droid Incredible, mostly using the Retro Camera app. I’ve also recently started using Instagram on my work phone, an iPhone 4. Here are some images I’ve enjoyed.
This first one is by no means a stellar image. What it represents is the convenience to have a camera with you all the time. I’m an avid cyclist and I stumbled onto this sign in rural Winnebago county one afternoon. I obviously didn’t have my DSLR with me so my camera phone had to suffice.
And now a few images that I actually like.
Max: a tool is a tool is a tool. Some are better than others. A virtue of the phone is that anyone can use it any time. I love the idea of taking photographs for your own pleasure with a camera you always carry. I worry that spontaneously recorded photographs will be used as journalism without vetting – without the routine check for accuracy and context that is part of the working journalist’s mental tool kit. Being able to post instantly can be as much of a problem as a boon.
But a worthy discussion. Keep working. == Bob
I really like camera phones simply because it assists you take several great candid pictures.