For many photographers and those interested in photography there may be a bit of a bubble effect where, we are interested in cameras so we think everyone else is too, but we are in our own little world because most people have given up on single purpose photographic devices (i.e. cameras). Sure there are more people taking pictures now than there ever has been before but they are not doing it with ‘cameras’. It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted a picture of something you needed a camera, so that’s what people had hanging around their necks and in their hands at destinations like this Tulip festival. Now with the proliferation of ‘smart phones’ having a camera is no longer a necessity. Cell phones and tablets serve the function of proving you attended somewhere or something. The change hasn’t occurred to the same degree for those of us that fancy ourselves as ‘photographers’ with our cameras and lenses but for everyone else they just don’t need to go out and buy a separate camera if what they already have serves that function well enough. You can see the camera industry reacting to this, although slightly behind, by dropping the basic point and shoot camera and concentrating on niche higher end cameras for the bubble people and maybe to convince a few cellphoneographers to enter the bubble. Where will this all lead us? Leaving the social media and sharing aside for a moment I think that there is likely to continue to be different devices for different photographic purposes of which cell phones are only one. Now the survival of film that is another story.
I feel fortunate that my father took a lot of pictures during my childhood. They form a certain kind of memory cue card that allows me to recall the events surrounding the images, even the feelings associated with them. I think that that may be a part of what makes them special, that attachment to specific events and times. In contrast today we seem to be taking so many pictures of so many events that maybe each individual image looses some of it’s ability to be a mnemonic and becomes just visual noise. How long will an image be relevant if it is superficial to us now? My dad shot Kodachrome slides, at the rate of about 3 to 4 36 exposure rolls per year. This is a number and an amount of visual information that is easily retained. How can we deal though with thousands and even tens of thousand of images each year? Does it really provide us with more information or is it diminishing returns? There was a certain different social aspect to watching slides then as well. While we share many images online with our friends, families and strangers it tends to be a solitary experience lacking the immediacy of a group of people all in the same place at the same time pointing at the same thing. This was the way that those images my father took were re-enforced within my memory.
There is a degree of satisfaction though, derived from having others acknowledge your work online. I don’t believe I could have finished this piece without the online community of Mytubo photographers and their positive support. I’ve posted most of these there, all having been taken and processed on my Android phone. In case you find yourself there I’m @WallaceRoss, but the Internet generates fleeting things so who knows for how long.
These 3000+ cell phone images captured over the last 8 months do not replace my memory of that period of time and while I can recall where most if not all of them were taken for how long will that be true. It makes me wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t select 100 to 150 images a year that have meaning to me and have them printed out, after all that is an amount I can handle.
This Print is 60″ x 40″ but a lower resolution version can be zoomed into online here Cell Zoom
Well pictures of buttons taken with a cell phone anyway.
I’ve reached another milestone with my cell phone pictures on Mytubo I’ve garnered the support of 1000 people. What this means is that whenever I post an image these people have chosen to have it show up for them to see. 1000 may not seem like that much if you were using Instagram as the bench mark but within Mytubo that’s pretty good. Here is a zoomable sampling of some of my recent images. Unfortunately or not you don’t get to read my sometimes witty titles though.
Almost every piece of information that can be digitized is, however there are still a few things where nothing beats an analogue gauge for providing information. Not only do they convey the immediate value but also the sense of where that value fits within all the other possible amounts. What does this have to do with an art blog? Nothing I just like the way they look.
So I’ve managed to post 1000 cell phone pictures to Mytubo in the last 4 months. It’s been an interesting exercise made all the more fun through some friendly ribbing back in forth with Duncan Turner of DLT photographic. I’m slightly disillusioned at the same time I’ve been enlightened. In general people like pretty pictures and don’t like to be challenged. You need to visually slap people upside the head with a kitten to get attention. I’m not just lamenting the fact that some of my better images go unnoticed while formulaic pleasant ones get lots of likes and often become hot pics it’s the same for everyone. I have a better understanding of how my images are viewed and understood or misunderstood.
I think as a painter I create a lot of images that are really about the masses of colour and division of the image plane but most people there expect photographs to be about something making these images appeal to a much smaller audience. I do now have a large library of cell phone pictures all composed for the square which will fit together nicely in a mosaic. I’m not done either I may even pick up the pace.
These are all shot with the HTC Evo 3D phone, in 2 dimesions however.
This is a test of the WordPress for Android app. The main problem I see with this is I can’t type fast enough. I’m actually a pretty good typist on a regular keyboard, and can put my thoughts down as they come to me. For short posts though this may be fine. Phew I have to stop soon, right after I add a photo.
This is my second generation of smart phone and I am enjoying using it every bit as much as any of my other cameras. The ultimate image quality isn’t at the same level as a dedicated digital camera but it satisfies my need to create images. The HTC Evo 3D has one single feature that makes it very photo friendly and that is a dedicated shutter button. It means that when you get a composition you like you can just press the button rather than taking one hand to touch the screen and in the process cause shake and disturb the framing.
I suppose I am welcoming the season as well as evoking the memories of my own childhood summertimes, when everything seemed hot and dry and dusty. Maybe that’s because we played in the hot dry dust and loved it. Where I lived there were two corner stores both a mile away in either direction and that didn’t matter either because the trip there was as important as the candies inside. Taking these images I felt like I was photographing a feeling as much as any actual object.