Craft and Convenience of iPhoneography

7 thoughts on “Craft and Convenience of iPhoneography”

  1. In the mid 90s an anthropologist friend recommended Susan Sontag’s “On Photography.” A fantastic look into how and why we respond to photography and essential reading for anyone who is trying to sort out what it is. Although there is some original work, it is more of an overview of then current research – research that has aged remarkably well. I re-read it last year and found it more insightful than my first reading nearly 20 years ago.

    Image quality isn’t terribly important once a threshold is reached. What is important is story telling be enabled. It is possible to have a wide variety of approaches and levels of craft cover a broad range. If we are only consumers the most artistic may be the draw, but we aren’t – all of us love to tell stories as well as listen.

    Oddly I was the digital art editor for a small fashion magazine (I have strange hobbies) towards the end of the 90s. We worked with some seriously good photographers and I found it astonishing how different their approaches to storytelling were artistically as well as the nuts and bolts of the mechanical craft. I learned that I could shoot my own low quality images, but embedded them in a story as part of direction and they just got it – no complaints about my poor photography and sometimes praise of the idea which could only be communicated that way.

    It would be fascinating to see a similar book “On Music” as music is practiced by all known cultures. The closest I’ve seen is Dan Levitin’s “This is Your Brain on Music”, but that is another rabbit trail…

  2. Have you read anything on how to take “better” pictures with an iPhone … like new models for proportion or leaving “the action” out of the bottom 1/5th of a shot because you know facebook is going to cover that with the comment/like box?

  3. These two snippets don’t make me want to read the article.

    Maybe I don’t read enough, but I have never heard or read anyone argue that digital is inherently “a place…bereft of craft.” It strikes me as a straw man argument. Digital certainly lowers the barriers to entry in such a way that individuals who are themselves “bereft of craft” can attempt to do things previously the realm of artists and artisans, but I am unaware of the argument that digital versions of tools are inherently “bereft of craft” and they quite clearly to me are not.

    1. Chris,

      Not sure how to respond to your comment, except you need to have an open mind. Read the articles and make the judgement after that.

  4. The Mona Lisa challenges your conclusion.

    i view photography as a medium of art.

    i do highly value the shift though as i think it will help those see the art of their life when they can’t make art behind a camera because they are not trying to do that. they are picture-takers or, as you put it, creating a pictorial record — an archivist.

    and everyone’s life is a work of art that should be archived.

  5. I’ve been playing with photography for a few years, learning the craft of lugging around a DSLR with multiple lenses everywhere, and I’m finding myself more and more enjoying the challenge of composing and getting shots on my phone. I definitely agree that we are only a few years away from phones having sufficient low light performance that “needing” a DSLR will be a subjective argument, if it isn’t already.

  6. Reblogged this on 35right and commented:
    “While we’ve long obsessed over the size of the film and image sensors, today we mainly view photos on networked screens—often tiny ones, regardless of how the image was captured—and networked photography provides access to forms of data that go beyond pixels.”

    Craig Mod’s article is definitely a worthwhile read on the transition in photography right now.

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