When it comes to using the iPhone for taking creative, artsy-fartsy pictures, Instagram comes to mind, and with it, a plethora of over-exposed, oversaturated and overly contrasted images. Not that everyone’s photos are like that, but photography enthusiasts and pros alike have become more and more wary of what ‘iPhoneography’ is bringing to the table.
It kind of makes you think: is it really the ‘mobile camera revolution’ or the ‘iPhone revolution’ that’s gotten people so upset? Call it the ‘social media revolution’ while we’re at it. I don’t think there would be half as many scathing comments if it were to be called “smartphoneography” rather than “iPhoneography”. Perhaps the real issue is a deep-rooted resentment towards Apple ‘fangirls’ and ‘fanboys’ who like to call themselves photographers as soon as they take ‘creative’ shots with their iPhones. But then again, what can be seen as lack of talent could easily be a ‘difference in opinion’. Just because they use the cameras on their phones doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. If anything, aren’t they even more talented because of the limitation?
That’s the thing with art—it’s in the eye of the beholder, a massive gray area. Put a hunk of clay on a pedestal in a famous gallery and it’s suddenly worth a couple of grand. It’s “abstract”. How do you determine what constitutes a beautiful picture when even the technically ‘wrong’, such as blurry or out-of-focus photos, can turn out to be quite epic?
Here’s one example of a professional photographer who did a creative wedding shoot with only his iPhone.
Sephi Bergerson is a lifestyle and documentary photographer based in India. Last month, he opted to use his iPhone 4S for a more casual wedding shoot (he used his DSLR for the formal wedding). The couple was happy with the results, and Bergerson says he is looking forward to using the iPhone to shoot more weddings in the future. He already has a few blog posts on iPhoneography on his website.
Some might insist that the whole point in hiring a professional photographer is for his/her creative eye and the equipment he/she uses. I’ve heard so many people say that “your gear should be an extension of you and what you can do.” What if a photographer felt the most at ease with a Samsung S3? What if clients paid to have him/her shoot their wedding using a Nokia? Would that make mobile photography less of an issue?
Personally, I think it’s best to just let the hype die down. Any trend of value will later evolve into something more long-term, otherwise it’ll get old really quickly just like any other passing fancy. If mobility was the crux of the matter, why go from shooting with a DSLR to an iPhone? Why not use a smaller body or a mirrorless SLR? I’ve used iPhones for a few years now, and I’d like to think I’ve taken some semi-decent shots with it, but I would never even consider using it to shoot for paying clients even if they were to beg and plead for me to use it.
What are your thoughts on iPhoneography? Love it? Hate it? Couldn’t care less?