Around this time last year, I was shopping for my first DSLR camera. During my research, I received numerous good advices from helpful folks in the online photography communities. Among their advices, the best one I got was “If you wait for another month to buy that latest and greatest camera, you’d wasted another month of not taking photos.”
It’s been a year since I bought my Nikon D90. What an awesome camera it is. However, lately I find myself taking more photos with the 2 megapixel camera on my iPhone 3G. Technical spec wise, 3G camera is no comparison against the Nikon. But there’s something I love about the photos I take with the iPhone. It’s always with me, and it documents my daily life.
Last week I read photographer Chase Jarvis’s blog post promoting his new iPhone App, “The Best Camera.” Chase’s photography blog has been my favorite read, ever since I discovered his tips for taking great iPhone photos. If you’re into photography, I highly recommend his blog. Chase doesn’t talk too much about the techniques, but rather the essence of photography, and the photography profession.
In his promotion video for the iPhone app, one quote really struck a cord with me.
“The best camera is the One That’s with You. Images aren’t about dynamic ranges and megapixels. They’re about stories and moments.”
~ Chase Jarvis
I cannot agree more.
As much as I love my Nikon for its superb quality, I can’t carry it with me all the time. I can’t capture the unplanned details happening in my life. I mostly use my Nikon for photo journals I put a lot of fore-thought into. However, I always have my iPhone with me.
I’d be the first to admit, the iPhone camera isn’t the greatest. I remember how disappointed I was with it when I first bought it. But the more photos I take with it, the more aware I am about its limits and how to maximize it. Also because of its limits, I’m forced to approach the subjects in a different manner from my Nikon. I can’t do long exposure, field of depth etc; most of the time I’m at the mercy of poor lighting. So I focus on the subject matter instead. I challenge myself to make inert objects interesting, to make ordinary things extraordinary, to make moving forces hold still. Most importantly, to make photos to invoke an emotional response. After all, isn’t this what good photography is all about?
Too often, we find ourselves obsessing over the tools and techniques rather than essence of what we’re trying to do. Cameras don’t take photos, Photoshop doesn’t produce great graphic design, programming languages don’t produce great software, fancy clothes don’t make the personality.
Mobile photography is this generation’s Polaroid. It’s accessible, candid, intimate, instant gratification and timeless.
Here are some iPhone photos I’ve taken of things I see daily.
p.s. Mostly during my commute to work.
p.p.s. photos are post-processed with Camerabag and Toycamera apps.