February 4, 2013

Photography and the growing mobile movement

Alice-Cooper

Richard Gray’s photo of Alice Cooper, taken with a DSLR and processed with an iPhone editing app.

Even the pros are increasingly using smartphones & mobile editing tools

JD LasicaWill smartphones not only influence but dominate the next generation of photography?

I’ve come around to the conclusion that answer has to be a qualified yes. And although I documented last week’s Macworld | iWorld Expo 2013 with a Canon 5D — here’s my 35-photo Flickr set — I was very much in the minority among the waves of iPhone-wielding attendees.

If there’s any doubt about mobile devices’ impact on the world of professional photography, I refer you to Friday’s session at the conference titled “iPhoneography: iPhone In Education & The Mobile Movement in Photography” by British photographer Richard Gray. Gray tweets at @rugfoot, writes the iPhoneography blog iphoggy, and he shared his presentation Lessons learnt teaching iPhoneography on Google Drive.

Sessions on iPhoneography — defined as “a purely digital photographic process using Apple’s iPhone camera as the primary tool” — often focus on some of the cool if gimmicky apps (some of which I use) such as Percolator, WordFoto, TinyPlanets, ArtRage, Color Splash, Decim8, Slow Shutter Cam, AppAlchemy, ToonPaint and others.

But Gray, who teaches iPhoneography to students in Great Britain, brings a professional photographer’s eye to this fascinating emerging landscape. On a recent trip to Corsica, he supplemented his big camera with his iPhone and came away with some stunning images.

Mobile photography offers a journey down riveting side roads

Richard captured his image with his iPhone on a subway ride.

Richard Gray captured his image with his iPhone on a subway ride.

“The arrival of iPhoneography shows that people don’t always want to take a journey of perfection. Sometimes they want to take side roads and find imperfection and distortion and dirt.”

“With traditional photography, using a DSRL (digital single lens reflex camera), it’s a linear journey toward perfection,” Gray said. “The arrival of iPhoneography shows that people don’t always want to take a journey of perfection. Sometimes they want to take side roads and find imperfection and distortion and dirt.”

As has happened with music and video, with photography once again technology is disrupting cultural norms that had persisted for generations. While a great photographer still needs that ineffable quality — a good eye, a sense of how to capture movement at just the right moment — mobile technology is democratizing photography in a big way.

“I think tomorrow’s professional photos will come from those who are taking photos with the iPhone,” Gray said. “Today they’ve begun to hone their skills and sharpen their eyes, and I’m sure that’ll translate into making money with photos in the future.”

The marketplace is beginning to reflect that. On a recent magazine assignment, Gray said, 85 percent of the photos he sold were taken with an iPhone.

Mobile photography, journalism & art: A revolution in the making

A winner at the Mobile Photo Awards.

A winner at the Mobile Photo Awards.

Gray mentioned three resources for photographers who want to monetize their mobile photos:

FOAP, a mobile photo agency with a straightforward business model: You and agency get $5 each on each $10 sale.

Scoopshot, a photojournalist agency that lets you sell photos and video to local news outlets from your smartphone.

RooM, a rights-managed mobile content agency.

Last April I was drawn into iPhone and iPad art at ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco, which featured a stunning exhibit of Mobile Photography Awards from photographers, including my friend Shane Robinson. And last week’s Macworld Expo featured an iPhone Film Festival and an art gallery filled with images created on the iPad or iPhone.

If you know of other mobile photography exhibits or awards, please share in the comments. With more than a billion smartphones in the world — a number expected to double in just a few years — it’s a trend worth keeping an eye on.JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

  • KassandraFayeHudson

    Thanks for this article. I love to learn more about photography, using smartphones is just the right one for me since I travel a lot, and it is more convenient to bring around. I love to post all the images captured by me for my social media http://www.chatching.com
    Kassandra