iPhone photography

For some time I’ve been increasingly interested in photography which largely ignores expensive hardware and precise attention to settings in favour of cheap, convenient hardware and instant point-and-shoot methodology. I think this approach is, in many ways, more in the ‘proper’ spirit of photography. It’s all about capturing a passing moment and presenting it as art, as opposed to carefully attempting to visually record a specific scene in as high a level of detail as possible.

Whilst I’m not opposed to SLRs in principle (and I probably ought to get one for my landscape photography really), I dislike the assumption that you have to use one in order to produce worthwhile photos. I also don’t like the way that SLRs are bulky so that you have to designate particular periods of time as being ‘photo time’ in which you carry your camera with you. I prefer to be able to take photographs instantly at any time. You never know when inspiration is going to strike.

It’s therefore quite compelling to use cheap, light cameras which can be carried at times when you might not have a bigger camera with you. Such cameras are inevitably going to produce photographs which are less perfect and detailed than photos taken with an SLR. However, this can be an advantage; artifacts added to photos from cheap cameras such as blurring, inconsistent lighting and inaccurate colour rendering are often visually desirable and can add mood and atmosphere to a photograph. There is a form of photography called Lomography which embraces the point-and-shoot application of cheap cameras mass-produced in China and Russia to get these kinds of atmospheric photographs.

I was thinking about obtaining a low-tech camera of some kind in order to experiment more with this sort of photography, but then it occurred to me that I’m carrying a potentially suitable camera around with me all the time in the form of my iPhone. This is certainly a comparatively low-quality camera which is pure point-and-shoot and tends to add blur and artifacts to resulting photographs. Upon investigation, I discovered that I wasn’t the first to come to this conclusion: there is an increasing trend for ‘iPhoneography’, even amongst a few professional photographers, for the reasons I’ve just described. However, there is another dimension to iPhone photography in the form of third party applications from the App Store, and there are loads of available apps enabling you to directly edit photos on your iPhone. These range from the sorts of things you’d expect such as crop, rotate, contrast adjustment, etc., right through to flash and HDR simulation, emulation of Lomography cameras, and various other weird and wonderful things.

As a result of all this I’ve been exceptionally inspired by the photographic capabilities of my iPhone, and I’ve been taking and editing lots of photos as a result. Consequently I decided to create a blog for my new photographic direction, which consists of the photos I’ve taken plus thoughts and ideas surrounding the photos. I like the way this all works well together due to the often surreal or somewhat otherworldly nature of the photographs that I tend to produce with the iPhone. I chose to use Tumblr for this blog, because it enables quick, easy and very creative blogging, and there’s a great iPhone client for it. I think Tumblr is a great site generally, and it seems to encourage creativity and interesting stuff that’s very easy to submit and enjoy. It’s sort of like Twitter but with media.

So, my new blog (or ‘tumblelog’) – featuring photos and text created and processed entirely on my iPhone – is here.

Excitingly, my iPhone photography has also been featured on the excellent iPhoneography blog.