I look at photographer Jack Hollingsworth’s Instagram feed and I really like a lot of the images -regardless of what camera they were taken with. But he posted something recently that I just don’t understand. He wrote, “iPhoneography like any other genres of photography, is a revolutionary process. Adapt or die. Evolve or vanish. Transform or fade away.”
Exactly who are we encouraging to join this revolution? Since pros and advanced amateurs already have cameras and use them all the time, I can only assume the people we are encouraging to join this revolution are more along the lines of ordinary folk. So let’s take my wife’s cousin Kwame. He’s what I call a regular guy who works a regular job (computer company) and is married to a regular girl -she doesn’t want to be a model as do most of the women I know and they have a couple of kids and they live in a nice house. He also owns an iPhone 4s.
I just imagine the following conversation:
Me: “Dude you should start doing iPhoneography with that iPhone4s.”
Kwame: “iPhoneography? What’s that?”
Me: “You start shooting more photos with your iPhone. Like if you come across a sunset you like, you take a shot of it with your iPhone. Or if you come across some red letters sprayed on a blue wall you take a photo of it. Or maybe a weather beaten barn. When you see one, you take a photo.”
Kwame: “Why would I want to do that”
Me: “Dude, it’s a revolution. You have to join in or be left behind. “
Seriously, I don’t see any benefit for him in amassing a collection of hundreds of images of things that have no relevance in his life. If i were going to encourage him to shoot, I might say, “What is the most annoying thing about your wife? Photograph her doing it. If you stay with her long enough, it won’t annoy you any more and that photo will be really amusing to the two of you. But if you instead break up with her, one day you’ll look at that photo and smile that you no longer have to accept that behavior in your life.” There are all sorts of things like this I could suggest to him to photograph that might never occur to him to photograph despite the fact that they have a relevance to his life.
But the idea of encouraging more regular people to whip out phones and shoot everything with no real purpose, just baffles me. And that’s the real problem with iPhoneography -it is so easy to shoot with your phone the temptaion is to shoot anything and everything. Am I the only person annoyed at watching people stand there and film street performers for 3 or 4 or 5 minutes straight? Who’s going to sit and watch this garbage? Who’s going to sit and look at your photo of street lights fading into the horizon? “Check out this shot of a weather beaten sign I came across back in 2009″. Who f’n cares?!?!!?
Howabout if you come across a nice sunset, you stop and look at it for a couple of minutes and then move along about your business, confident that you will find endless sights of beauty in your life forever and there is no need to capture and preserve them. They aren’t going anywhere. You may never see that particular sunset again, but rest assured, you’ll see another one tomorrow. Put down the phone and enjoy it.