I must say with the camera phone craze began I was a bit cautious and apprehensive about jumping in. My main fear was loosing integrity not only in the quality of the final image but also in the quality of the creative process. When I first bought an iPhone I really just used the camera here and there but not with creative intentions. When I upgraded my iPhone the quality of the pictures increased quite a bit and of course with each new iPhone (holy cow, do you fell like you can never keep up with versions of this and that!) so I started giving it a little more credance. I think my other fear was for my students. I felt I was already losing their interests to Facebook, now I had camera phones to compete with? I was thinking, will they lose interest in analog processes altogether? My camera phone experience slowly grew. I increased the amount of pictures I was taking with my phone and then broke down and installed Instagram. I was even holding off on that for fear that I would Instagram everything, like: “Hey, I’m gonna take a picture of what I eat, then Instagram it, then post it to Facebook.” That’s not really me. I was also thinking I would spend way too much time fiddling around on my phone. (Maybe you think I think too much by now). My other fear was that I would make all these images and spend so much time with editing apps that they would float around on my phone and never really amount to anything.
These fears changed this year for a couple of reasons. One reason was an image I made of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City this past May. For some people, one image can totally change their minds about their beliefs, values, and even how they approach the image making process. If you have seen my work, you know that I am obsessed with church steeples. What was engaging to me about this image was the way the two steeples played off of the two American flags on the opposite side of the street. Your mind could go anywhere with this. The series of steeple images is called “Steeples for Peoples” and it is what this image is appropriately titled. Again, your mind can go a few places with this title. This is the first image exposed with my camera phone that I actually printed out. And I was pleasantly surprised at the results. I don’t think I will be printing a mural size of it or anything close to it. But it holds up, at least to a 12×12 (so far…that as big as I have printed).
Another first, was that I entered my first “camera phone” exhibit to Darkroom Gallery’s call for entries titled “Mobile-O-graphy.” One of the main reasons I entered was because of the juror, Dan Burkholder. I have been utilizing and teaching his digital negative methods for years now and was excited that he was the juror. I was excited to hear that the “Steeples for Peoples” image was selected for the exhibit. (Be sure to click on the link to look at everyone’s entries!)
One of the other things that help dissolve this fear of the camera phone craze was other the realization of how I see most of the imagery I see as well as the work of other camera phone artists (yes, there, I said it…artists). I probably see 75% (that is just a wild guess with no research to back it up) of the images I see on the Internet. So, the camera phone seems to be a great tool for sharing imagery so fluidly. And I am truly amazed at the imagery that some people are creating with their phones.
I must admit, I still have some fears and reservations. I still worry about the “instant gratification” mind set that comes with some of these camera apps. Mainly questioning if it will decrease one’s desire and ability to rely on the fundamentals of photography. However, I think one’s personal vision is really what makes an image standout above others (which is a hard thing when you consider just how many “image makers” are out there contributing so many pictures everyday).
I can’t believe how many camera phone attachments like lens, cases, tripods, filters, etc. there are. I haven’t even gotten there yet. I’m still just bare bones iPhone with a few editing apps. So, I guess the next first will be purchasing an attachment…we’ll see.