Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The incredible power of cellphone photography

Cellphone cameras are everywhere. Combined they have solved crimes, recorded crimes in progress, aided husbands and wives in buying the right products, been used to capture barcodes enabling products to be price checked so that they don''t overpay at the checkout.

Cellphones are widely used by bloggers and the media with some publications such as the Chicago Sun Tribune using solely cellphones for their journalism. It makes so much sense. The photographs don't have to be gallery quality - they have to be acceptable quality and the resolution of most newspapers is low enough that even a small crop from an 8 megapixel iPhone image will be acceptable. The time of the cell phone really has come.

The biggest issue is that the vast majority of cellphone images are really quite banal. Take the image below as a splendid example of the utter banality of 99% of cellphone images. There is no artistry behind the image nor any relevance to anybody bar the diners. People are taking vast numbers of photographs these days - far more than were ever taken in years past. The quality control imposed by the cost of film and processing is now gone. The high quality mentality of making each shot count has been replaced by a spray and pray mentality.

Years ago, when wedding photographers were good, they had a list of a dozen or so formal poses. The random reception images were left to guests. Now on the rare occasion a wedding photographer is actually paid to take photos, they just walk around like wedding guests of old, taking snapshots of everything and hoping that one or two per hundred images will be good. Photographers have largely become scammers as per the old saying: Give an unlimited number of monkeys an unlimited number of typewriters and one will eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare. Largely they don't have a clue about photography and just leave their cameras in auto, spray and pray. The belief that bad photos become good by putting them through Photoshop is widespread.

The incredible power of cellphone photography has succeeded only in permitting people to churn out anincrediblee number of dreadfully banal images that really are not worthy of publication. Like the banal image below, they are published! This is not a great image and not a great subject. It merely goes too prove how banal photography has become.

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