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The Everyday Sling might just be the perfect pack for not carrying too much gear, combining comfort with Peak Design's signature modern style.
Like millions of others, I use my iPhone to take photographs, some as part of my artistic work, and others to record my life with family and friends. I share photos on social networks: Facebook, Instagram, EyeEm, Flickr, and my website.
Some call what I do phoneography or mobilography, phone photography, iPhoneography or Androidography. To others, it’s just photography. A lot of names, and sometimes name-calling, are associated with the latest evolution of photography. The names suggest changes in what we think of as a camera, and its impact. The camera is becoming something other than a single, dedicated device designed solely to carry out one function: capture or reflect light to create a photographic image.
It’s difficult to deny the popularity of smartphone cameras and their reach into millions of lives, even as they are charged with everything from the debasement of real photography or the peril of photojournalism’s integrity. They are charged with shallowing visual culture via an influx of amateur photographers or by imposing a sameness to images through use of image filters.
We’re talking about a camera that many own whether we set out to buy one or not. The camera comes with the cell phone, after all. Mobile photography intentionally draws photography enthusiasts (pro and amateur alike) and also hooks millions who tap into their own creativity via serendipity by playing with an inexpensive, creative app or looking at others’ images on social networks like Instagram where they’re inspired or stirred to join the mix: “I can do that!” or “I can do it better!”
Whatever we call it, smartphone photography is regularly showcased around the world in exhibits, books, festivals, contests, image-sharing networks, and workshops. Mobile Journalism or Mobile Reporting courses are now offered at universities and colleges, including USC Berkley, Ball State, and elsewhere.
It can be hard to nail down just what a mobile photo is: news photo, fine art image or family vacation snapshot? Because most of us have our phones on us all of the time, photographic opportunities abound: pics at meals or of our meals, flowers in the garden, cars in parking lots, kids doing this and that, products on shelves, our happy (and sad) feet, skyscrapers, clouds, strangers on mass transit, and trees we sit under, and so on. Artists use the camera to sample images that become something else, creating in the style of bricolage and abstractionism. They alter the images expressively through digital editing, processing and painting. Others, like me, use the camera in a conventional photographic way, creating narrative or documentary photography.
Results can be stunning realistic photography or expressive visual art, harrowing visual accounts of social and cultural upheaval across the globe told by those in the midst of it all, or gallery-quality fine art. Often, the results are far less glamorous or obviously significant.
Instagram’s very public acquisition by Facebook cast new light on smartphone photography and art. Instagram didn’t invent smartphone photography, contrary to coverage in the media. It’s not a photography app as much as an image-centric, social media community. While there are many image-sharing apps, Instagram is very public and very popular now.
There are many apps available to add filters to images or edit them in any number of ways; check out Apple and Google's App Stores. Many who post to Instagram do not use the app’s filters; honestly, they’re not the best. Some who post to Instagram are posting pictures they took on DSLRs, and even scans of film photographs.
So, to describe an Instagram user can be a complex task, as is describing an "Instagram photo". Common are small, mundane moments of contemporary life told in snapshots of little apparent value except to those individuals capturing and posting them. Maybe it is these images that make us uncomfortable or uneasy for the sheer magnitude of their ordinariness, the weight of their mundaneness. They certainly stir a lot of judgments about the merits of smartphone photography. Critics take them as representative of what the entire medium and its diverse worldwide community produce. Such overgeneralization is wrong.
Until recently, smartphone photography and art was largely an underground scene: a passionate, globally active one, with lively social networks (on platforms other than Instagram), innovators and worldwide exhibits beginning as early as 2010 in New York and early adopters experimenting even earlier. Now, regrettably, to millions, Instagram has come to be the face of something much more diverse and multi-faceted than what’s often portrayed in snappy and emotional blog commentaries.
Across the web, bloggers decry the use of filters to alter an image’s color, often to mimic a film-like or nostalgic look. What is the role of such imagery in the genre of photojournalism: what is accurate and truthful, or truth altering -- and what is not? The very popularity of Instagram can be a source of consternation: too many amateurs, too many bad images, too many brands and corporate marketing, well just too many images -- period. There are fears of a shallowing effect resulting from this proliferation of images across our increasingly digitally, mediated lives. Will a consequence be our inability to critically discern a meaningful capture from the thousands of images that pass our eyes each day?
The judgments are not new. They tend to accompany each iteration of camera innovation and its impact upon photographic and visual culture. Photography historically has stepped steadily toward the masses. Each technological innovation brings cameras that increase accessibility, mobility, disposability and popular consumer adoption, along with critics who ask hard questions. A look back shows evidence of this: the Brownies, SLRs, Polaroids, point-and-shoots. Each camera in its way removed barriers, a layer of mechanical complexity, technicality, size, cost, and with them a certain sense of mystery, perhaps even seriousness. Each was expected to jeopardize photography. Maybe they have for some as they brought photography to the masses by making its tools cheap, disposable, mobile, accessible and fun.
It’s true of smartphone cameras, too, except with a twist. Smartphone cameras alter not just how we make images but how we view them. In the palm of our hands, we can look at hundreds, thousands, of images a day created nearly anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds by all kinds of people: good and bad, ridiculous and astounding images. No longer are we keeping our photos to ourselves in shoeboxes, slide organizers, or albums in the back of dark closets.
Unlike conventional SLR or DSLR photography, smartphone photography is seldom only defined through the hardware specification of the phone or camera and its features. Software is just as important, if not arguably more so. For example, iPhone photographers and artists benefit from thousands of creative, social and image-sharing apps, and creative apps for Android users are increasing.
I happen to think viewing photography solely through the lens of "hardware" is old-fashioned. Perhaps useful and valuable in its own regard, but overall, globally, it's dated. The smartphone camera is augmented by hundreds of camera apps, each offering its own features, benefits and capabilities. Swapping camera apps happens in seconds. The same is true of editing apps. Choices are many, use is easy and the cost is low enough for apps to entice consumers to experiment on a fairly regular basis.
Apps, social networks, community, connections, people: together, these fuel the engine of smartphone photography and art. Innovations in these areas let loose the ingenuity of humans to do all kinds of creative things with a combination of small camera, processor, accessible user interface and diverse third-party apps.
The ubiquity of the cell phone gives people a kind of chance. A type of democratizing of creative opportunity surfaces - not necessarily of quality or significance. The quality of a finished product is still dependent upon subjective variables: taste, timing, tenacity, a visually attuned eye for composition, culture and the rest. Still there’s potential, which is alluring and addictive to photography and visual art enthusiasts for which a shortened learning curve can lengthen creative possibility, and whole lot of fun.
Smartphone photography transmogrifies the handheld device into a conduit to creativity, community and culture. The heart of smartphone photography is that it is a connected experience. The device connects, in the palm of our hands, image capturing, editing, sharing. It connects consumer and creator in a single experience. It connects an individual photographer or artists instantly with others like her in common interest across a multicultural, multilingual world.
We forget too easily what came before our time. We lose our memory for how we adjusted ourselves, our processes, our ways of viewing, interrogating and understanding images. Ultimately, the ways in which visual culture adapts to innovation becomes invisible, absorbed into the fabric of our visual and photographic culture faster than it is possible to sort our way through the many arguments calling for the demise photography due to this or that.
Will we truly lose our abilities to discern beauty, truth, meaning, or significance amongst all the images flooding us now? I think these concepts have always been contestable, debatable, and they always will be to one degree or another. We are changing, just as our means of recording our worlds, the mundane moments of ordinary lives, and sharing them with others is changing. There are many more of us in these conversations now than ever before. More images, more perspectives, more voices in the conversation: these are good things.
Star Rush, @starrush360, is a Seattle-based photographer, writer, and educator. Her photography has been exhibited in the United States and Europe, and published in numerous publications. Rush is a founding member of Mobile Photo Group, an international collective of mobile photographers. She teaches composition and rhetoric, and literature at Cornish College of the Arts.
The Everyday Sling might just be the perfect pack for not carrying too much gear, combining comfort with Peak Design's signature modern style.
When the Fujifilm X-T2 arrived, it was more than just a modest upgrade to the already impressive X-T1. While the new X-T3 hasn't changed the overall design of the camera, this model is way more than an upgrade; rather, it's a quantum leap.
The Movie Maker is a compact, motorized slider designed for phones, action cams and small mirrorless cameras. We think it's a fun little kit and a good value proposition for the cost, provided you can work around a few of its weak points.
Nikon's Z7 is the first camera to use the all-new Z-mount, the company's first new full-frame mount since 1959. We've put together our first impressions based on quality shooting time with a pre-production camera - check out what we've found.
What's the best camera for a parent? The best cameras for shooting kids and family must have fast autofocus, good low-light image quality and great video. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for parents, and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
What’s the best camera costing over $2000? The best high-end camera costing more than $2000 should have plenty of resolution, exceptional build quality, good 4K video capture and top-notch autofocus for advanced and professional users. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing over $2000 and recommended the best.
|_ERN9064 by ernesto juarez|
from Shoot yourself ! (with your camera)
|walkersons fields by George Veltchev|
from -Waiting for Autumn- (in Full Colours Only)
Nikon's Sendai factory in the Tōhoku region North of Japan has been churning out cameras and lenses since 1971. We had the opportunity recently to visit Sendai during events to mark the launch of Nikon's new Z mount.
There's no mistaking the Nikon Coolpix P1000 – with a 24-3000mm equivalent zoom, it really is in a class of its own. It's a conspicuous-looking superzoom with one main job: getting you really close to far away subjects. We've put together a gallery showing the kind of results you can expect from it.
A new report from The Verge claims Instagram is currently testing a feature that allows users to re-share posts to their own account feeds.
GoPro has announced its HERO7 camera lineup. The updated action cameras feature new HyperSmooth and TimeWarp modes, as well as improved video and photo specs.
The latest Samsung midrange smartphone offers a super-wide-angle lens in its triple-camera setup.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 is the latest lens to join the company's premium G Master lineup. We've been shooting with one for a couple of days - here's what you need to know.
Apple released iOS 12 a few days ago and some iPhone X users are less than happy with how the new operating system has made their phones look.
Camera bag manufacturer Lowepro has introduced mark II backpacks for its ProTactic AW range with models that are said to feature an improved handling experience as well as a collection of accessories that can be attached to the outside.
Canon has announced its latest superzoom camera, the PowerShot SX70 HS. Compared to the SX60 that came before it, the SX70 has the same lens but offers a higher resolution EVF, 4K video capture and support for Canon's new CR3 Raw format.
Cosina has announced its eighth lens designed specifically for Sony's E-mount system. The Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 lens is due out October 2018.
Sony has taken the wraps off of its new 24mm F1.4 GM full-frame lens, which the company claims is the lightest in its class. Despite its fast aperture, the 24mm F1.4 is remarkably light, weighing just 445 grams (15.7 ounces). The lens will set you back $1400 when it ships next month.
In this episode of DPReview TV we take a look at Sony's brand new 24mm F1.4 GM lens, a desirable focal length for many photographers. How does it perform? Chris and Jordan give us their first impressions.
We've had a little time to shoot with Sony's new wide/fast prime, both close to home and on the water in San Francisco. Check out our initial sample images.
Fujifilm released a firmware upgrade for its X-T3 mirrorless camera that addresses issues with distortion compensation and the mechanical lock on SD cards.
The app's algorithms have been trained using using 200 million cropping data points from real photographers.
Thanks to a software update, the Loupedeck+ editing console can now be used for video editing.
British photographic engineer MTF Services is claiming the world’s first third-party lens adapters for the new Nikon Z system with a collection of four units designed to allow cinema lenses to be mounted on the mirrorless full frame bodies.
Think Tank Photo has updated its line of heavy-duty rain covers and introduced a new, compact version for emergency situations.
The X-T3 is our first opportunity to analyze what's likely to be Fujifilm's next generation image sensor. Take a look at how it performs next to the competition in our studio test scene.
Canon's new normal is seriously sharp wide open. After shooting with it for a few days, we've prepared a gallery of real-world sample images.
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.