LightRumors

Snapshots

October 12th, 2010

Ever since I began to take photography seriously, over 40 years ago, I’ve lugged around important cameras, often on tripods, sometimes even view cameras. And I took important pictures. I strived for sharpness, the right exposure, careful framing and I wanted each picture to mean something. I didn’t take snapshots.

I couldn’t be happier with the digital cameras and printers I use now. I love the work I do with all of it and my prints are admired by those who see them. When I look back over these decades of striving in my photography, I regret just one thing. I didn’t take enough snapshots.

Gyalden Uthok.jpg

All these years spent with friends, and the pictures I have in my “albums” were mostly taken by others. As much as I love the serious side of photography, it’s the experience of friendships, the shared times with family and friends, that I most enjoy remembering. Yes, I love the landscape prints I have from the Grand Canyon, from the Sierra, from the Pacific coast with a splash of surf and the color of a sunset. But I miss having no more than the most occasional shot with a recognizable face. Fortunately, few of my friends were serious photographers and were therefore happy to pull out Instamatics or now point-and-shoots and happily snap away. And they share their prints and jpegs with me.

I began to loosen up with my shooting after switching to digital. With less need to conserve shots lest I run out of film, I can now snap away for casual fun and fill up my hard drive with twelve variations of a silly face or kitten pictures and do so guilt-free.

Cecilia.jpg

Oh, I still get serious on a regular basis. And I’m still amazed at the image quality available today. However, in the last year since I first bought one, I’ve taken far more pictures with my iPhone than my Canon 5D. The big camera goes with my on backpacking trips, but the iPhone is always with me. When you factor in the versatility and creativity of some of the phone apps available, it’s a liberating experience. When I shoot with the 5D, I pay attention to focus, sharpness, exposure-you know, the serious stuff. With the iPhone, maybe using the Hipstamatic app, or AutoStitch, Pro HDR or any of the other ten or so apps on my phone, pure resolution is not the highest item on the list. I feel as free to make 16×20 or larger prints with it as I do the big camera, because it’s the overall look I get that takes emotional importance. It’s hard to describe the effect. No one looks at a 16×20 from an iPhone and thinks it look sharp. But especially after running it through an app, the lack of sharpness just doesn’t matter as much. The bottom line here is that because I always have my iPhone with me, I take more snapshots. And the apps satisfy my urge to modify every damn picture I take. It’s the curse of having always done my own printing…I just can’t leave well enough alone.

Linda & Linda.jpg

I’ll bring this topic up again, as I am devoting our next gallery show at The LightRoom to phone photo app pictures and there will be a bunch pretty creative photographers involved. And now I want to go grab my iPhone and take some snapshots. Seriously.

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Random iPhone Hipstamatic Self-Portrait

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