Take a photo on your smart phone, open it in one of the myriad of editing applications then just keep on pressing the various presets until you find a treatment you like. Not quite enough choice ? Go and buy another application for 99 cents. Find the funky treatment, add the sloppy boarder, bingo ! Cool shot. Email to friends, upload to Flicker, post it on your blog.
You are creative.
This is the cynical side of my love/hate relationship with my iPhone. As a full time photographer for the past 35 years I am guilty of doing all of the above. And, I quite enjoyed it. Still do. Call it a guilty pleasure but the ethical dilemma remains. It’s not real photography - is it ? Other than taking the actual image someone else has done all the work for you.
Does this process not give the ability to make creative images to everyone ? Is this not the complete liberation of photography as an art form? Hell, I’d rather look at a funky Iphone image than some boring landscape shot on large format. It’s the final image that really matters. Or is the execution and presentation an intrinsic component of the creative process? And therefore should that be taken into account when assessing an image for artistic merit.
What if Ansel Adams had an Iphone?
The question here is about value. By its very nature a photograph taken with a smart phone has little perceived value. (as a art object). It’s easy to do and easy to replicate There are a lot of them and there are a lot of people doing it. A landscape photographer toiling away in the mountains with slow, cumbersome equipment and meticulously processing and printing his images is adding substantial value to his work. That’s not to say value and artistic merit necessarily follow one another.
Is it a polarized situation where the fine art photographers stand defiant against a tidal wave of disposable images? Or, are we merely expanding upon a time when ‘Kodak’ put a camera in ‘everymans’ hand?
Rather than beat myself up about whether this type of photography is valid or not I’m just going to continue having a bit of fun with my Iphone.
It’s a bit like chocolate – you can’t live on it and you shouldn’t have too much of it, but it wont kill you and it is rather enjoyable.
I have been a photographer for nearly 40 years. Photography is my passion and my vocation. My approach is from an intuitive perspective rather than an intellectual one. Consequently, my photographs tend to invite meditation rather than discourse. My projects, subject matter, materials and techniques vary with little rhyme or reason. Regardless, there is a strange harmony between each series of photos. I work introspectively, somewhat in a vacuum. This insular way of working helps me be true to myself creatively. I like to spend time with my subjects. As a result my creative output is slow, both in development and execution. Final images are often the result of months and sometimes years of experimentation, rephotographing and ‘living’ with work prints. Behind each final image are numerous photographic ‘sketches’ or references. The process is all-important. I will continue to further refine and distil my vision – to work towards interpretations that are sheer, poetic and pure. Ashley