Friday, August 4, 2017

iPhone Photography....The Imperceptible Seduction

Go-Crow Camera
 
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away


Paul Simon: Kodachrome 

Remember the 70's? Well, if you weren't around then you will still probably be aware that all photography in those days revolved around rolls of film that had to be carefully threaded onto a camera spool- in a shaded area of course-wound on and then you could fire away. When the film had reached the end of the spool, it had to be carefully rewound back into the canister-unless it was medium format which used plastic spools and light proof paper-and unless you could develop and process the film yourself, the film had be taken to somewhere like Boots the Chemist and sent off to their processing lab. 

These days, if Paul Simon were to write a song about photography he would more likely pen..I got a iPhone camera, I love to take a photograph, So mama don't take my iPhone away
 
Although I would never describe myself as a photographer-more a happy snapper- nevertheless, I do take thousands of photographs and hours of video over a year. Traditionally using half decent cameras although certainly not top of the range models. Most recently I’ve used a Nikon  D Series DSLR, A Canon G series super compact and more recently a Sony mirrorless camera. I’ve always been somewhat sniffy about those who generally just take images with a smart phone. But in the last week something strange happened. I went to the North Yorkshire coast armed with a drone, the Sony and a Go Pro style sports cam, and ended up taking 99% of the hundreds of shots I captured, with my iPhone 6+. I hadn’t planned it this way but for some reason, it just became easier slipping the phone in my pocket and snapping away when the opportunity arose.

It appears I’m not alone. None other than Chris Bonington admitted recently that after a lifetime of using Olympus 35mm film and digital SLR’s, he too found himself taking more and more shots on his iPhone 6. I can feel the photography purists bristling with barely concealed contempt as we speak!  If the digital camera transformed photography through its instant accessibility-take photographs and download immediately- no waiting a week for your developed prints and slides to come back from Boots!- then smart phone, photography takes the instant communication element one step further.

The latest iPhones have really improved dramatically as far as capturing still and moving images,compared to the early versions. The iPhone 6S plus has a 12mp camera for example. The on board editing is pretty good too. Of course where the phone camera really comes into its own is when it comes to the social media. Particularly sites like Instagram. Although a lot of people use ‘real’ cameras to post images on Instagram, that almost feels like cheating as the original concept was created for iPhones-with Android devices added two years later. Posting images taken on a £3k Canon DSLR to a site created for the sharing of phone images, is a bit like dressing for dinner when you visit Kentucky Fried Chicken if you ask me!

The iPhone has become a part and parcel of many professional vloggers on You-Tube where by using a device like the DJI Osmo Gimbal/stabilizer, they can create smooth video footage which looks particularly good when filming action sequences like snowboarding/skiing, running, hiking etc.

 
Throw in accessories like Holga lenses, zoom clip ons, remote shutters, Gorilla mounts and tripods and all of a sudden, the humble point and click iPhone is starting to get serious.
Recent iPhone photography convert,Sir Chris Bonington: Image CB Collection

Anyway...this is starting to read like an advertising feature and that wasn’t the intention! I was more interested as an image taker in the continuing evolution of still and video capture and in my own unconscious seduction by the medium. With smart phones become ever more sophisticated and technically advanced, you can only see ‘real photography’ becoming more niche and the preserve of the professional and keen amateur. Even then, many within this latter constituency will also be shooting on phones as well. What would William Henry Fox Talbot think?



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