The best camera is the one that’s with you.

Since Chase Jarvis kicked off this discussion years ago, more photographers have adopted mobile photography as a playful personal expression and a serious artistic endeavor. In fact, “Mobile Photography” is simultaneously contributing to the democratization of image making and the artistic positioning of professionals. Last week, Instagram hit 27 million users, making it one of the world’s fastest growing social networks. To top it off, Hipstamatic and Instagram unveiled a photo-sharing partnership. Clearly, mobile photography is more than a hobby; it’s serious business. 

To explore the merits of mobile photography, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who embrace the adage, “the best camera is the one that’s with you!” First in the series is a testimonial from Will Jacks, a photographer based in the Mississippi Delta.

With the click of a button, you can now…slow down.

I admit it. I was one of the folks who bought an iPhone the day it was introduced. After relishing in its newness for a few days I began to find an unexpected benefit: the camera. When I was anticipating my purchase, I had no idea that I would become so enraptured by this feature.

I reached a point where I was shooting more with my iPhone than any other camera I owned. It took me awhile to finally realize that, but once I did I wasn’t too proud of it. It’s not that I grew opposed to image making with my mobile camera. In the right situation I knew it could produce wonderful results. The problem was, I was using it for almost every situation, even when another tool would have performed the job better, or when there really wasn’t an image worth making.

Furthermore, I was using my iPhone mainly because I could easily post the images to Facebook and Twitter and get instant feedback. I didn’t like that aspect of myself at all. I was being seduced by attention. Not by photography.

So I stopped.

And then I decided to examine what the positive aspects of this new camera really were.

My iPhone was something I almost always had with me. That’s not the case with any of my other camera gear. Once I slowed down and decided not to pull my mobile camera – or any other for that matter – out at every instance, I discovered I connected more often and more deeply with the people and places around me. The moments became richer, and when I finally did bring my camera out to make an image, the images were richer as well.

What mobile photography taught me was that too often I was photographing life and only stopping to live in a few of the moments. I needed that to be reversed.

Once I realized the true benefit of practicing mobile photography – the ease of image creation and the ability to carry a camera into just about any situation – I stopped worrying so much about photographing every single moment, and instead began to better understand the moments that need to be photographed versus the ones that need to be lived.

2 Comments

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.