Oct 17, 2011

TREND | iPhoneography

Chase Jarvis, Best Camera series, 2009
While reading one of my fellow bloggers post about Chase Jarvis there was a specific line that caught my attention, "The best camera is the one that's with you." From this mantra of his he created a series of photographs using only his iPhone titled, "Best Camera," it has had me thinking for a few weeks now about the importance and unimportance of "high quality" equipment and software. Often times I feel like my work could be so much better if I had the newest model camera or the new upgraded editing software, but it seems recently that there has been a significant rise in the amount of cell phone pictures used as art. What I thought was once just the average kids chance to play "photographer" with today's new photo editing applications (i.e. instagram, hipstamatic, etc.) is now a legitimate tool for many artists.

Jeremy Edwards, 2010
Photographer Jeremy Edwards, has also hopped on the iPhoneography train. Although Edwards' has a nice variety of analog and digital cameras he has gladly included his iPhone 3GS as part of his photographic tools. His cell phone series, From The Pocket, includes environmental portraits, street photography and other images that are spontaneous and discrete. To Edwards, "Mobile photography... offers a truly organic interaction with your subjects that other forms of photography cannot." He understands that many viewers will continues to see iPhoneography as a "playful activity with an inartistic stigma" but hopes that with this return of the point and shoot era we will begin to focus more on content, composition and lighting, and less on the post-processing of the images to "highlight the growing medium with artistic integrity."

Patrice Elmi, #49, 2007 
Patrice Elmi also focuses on the composition and lighting in her photographs, but unlike Jarvis and Edwards Elmi does not have or use an iPhone, she instead uses her LG8100 flip phone. Since her phone lacks some of the technologies that even the iPhone has, such as a flash and the ability to zoom in, she relies on natural lighting and works with close up crops in her images. With this style she was able to land herself a show at the Drkrm, a Los Angeles based gallery, and got to be the first show of digital pints. Gallery owner, John Matkowsky, stated "I think in two years, or ten... it'll be normal, and everyone will be doing cell-phone photography shows."

Well, it seems to me that Mr. Matkowsky couldn't have been more right. Just last week I saw a flier in my school's art building promoting a local show of photographs from students cell phones. And while looking up more information for this post I found three links advertising shows of cell phone images, two call for entry links, and a handful of contests you can enter your phone pictures in, and that was just with in the first two search pages. It is obvious that slowly but surely iPhoneography is becoming more accepted as an art form and not just a way to capture cool pictures to put on facebook. It is awesome that these photographers have captured such beautiful and well composed photographs from simply using their cell phones. They are still focusing on the important fundamentals of photography keeping a keen eye to composition and lighting, which is what I think makes them stand out from every other person you has downloaded instagram and topped their image with a gradient of unnaturally bright colors.

-Courtney Rodrigues


  1. I love this post!! This is one of the few entries that makes me kick myself and wonder why I didn't think of it! I love that you took the initiative to use a detail of a fellow bloggers post and segway in to your topic. I actually think the fact that you kinda tie it in to another post compliments our class blog as a whole. In comparison with some of the other trends this one is so accessible which makes it that much more appealing. For a post to excite and inspire me enough to research the topic definitely means a job well done. Like you mentioned, I think and hope that this trend does become its own art form and inspires people to try their hand at photography.

    - Samantha Jorgensen

  2. Your completely right about the cell phone becoming the most accessable way to take and recieve pictures but it makes me kind of sad that quality goes down when that happens. I feel like so much abour photography is about the quality of the shot as well as other things. The good thing about this is photography is going to opened to alot more people with the availability of it being next to them at all times.

    - Amanda Roland