Cell Phone Photography: An Exposé

I have lately become interested in cell phone photography.  Cell phone cameras have become astonishingly good, and it is now quite possible to make some amazing and professional work with just your phone.  Like this.  Or this.  Or this.

In fact, when my DSLR was stolen when my apartment in Bologna was broken into, my iPhone became my primary camera for a while, including during the long weekend I spent road tripping through Belgium.  The results were surprisingly impressive.

In Bruges

St Bernardus sign in Watou

Watou

Amy Beach in Blankenberge

That type of work is not what this post is about.  Cell phone photography primarily interests me because in this day and age of (relatively) affordable DSLRs, cell phone photography seems to be the new medium for the quintessential snapshot.  Almost everyone in this country has a cell phone now.  Almost all of the cell phones have cameras, and many of those cameras are fairly good.  Many of the people I know use their cell phone cameras fairly regularly and casually.  Additionally, while phone cameras are not cameras intended for serious image-making, they are intended for serious photo sharing.  Cell phone photography is incredibly social (and even has an official social network of its own with Instagram, which remains as yet uncharted territory for me [for an interesting article about Instagram’s impact on “serious” photography, look here]).

With that in mind, I have made a study of the photographs stored on my own cell phone.  There were photos snapped casually to record something I wanted to remember, to share with a friend or family member, or that I wanted accessible at any time—to reference in conversations or look back upon myself in a modern twist on traditional wallet photos.  Here are a few of the best and most revealing photographs always in my pocket.

Cherokee Street, St. Louis

Construction Site, Washington University

Whispers Café, Washington University

Benji and Claude

Wanna Banana?

Tattoo

In a Grocery Store in Göttingen, Germany

The Gator

Pi Pie

Karate + Guns + Tanning = America

I still haven’t come to appreciate iPad photography however.  There’s just no way to make a picture with an iPad without looking extremely foolish.

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