Straight versus multilayered photography
We alter the perception of any situation we choose to photograph.
As I use my iPhone more and more for street photography, I have been questioning its place alongside of shooting with my M9 and R-D1. No matter which camera I am using, I want the photo tell a story or be part of a story telling series of photos.
There is a difference in using the iPhone versus my rangefinders to capture images. However, does that mean that the images captured, and manipulated, on the iPhone are less valuable or true than the photos shot with my “real” cameras. Perhaps I’m over thinking the difference between using the iPhone and any other cameras…
I see work shot with the rangefinders to be straight photography. Somehow, this has given it a certain value. The story telling moment is captured, or missed, in one exposure. The goal is to capture the emotion, information and design in one compelling photo. I can’t say that I have ever achieved that, but that is the goal.
I also use my rangefinders for work photography where I want the photos to document an event. Post-processing is usually restricted to correcting exposure, etc, without significantly altering the content of the photo or moment it attempts to capture. Of course, the editing process of any group of photos, eliminating some and choosing others, does alter the perception of the story being told. We alter the perception of any situation we choose to photograph.
Although I haven’t started to use the iPhone for work photography, it is getting increasing use for personal photography. Initially, the main benefit of using the iPhone for personal work was that I always have it with me. The downside of using the iPhone camera and apps for post-processing is the form factor. I find it small and awkward to work with.
Yet, as I have become better with the camera and post-processing apps, I am making more and more images. And those images resemble my early Photoshop work, where combining images was new, fun and exciting. Taking the photo with the iPhone seems only the first step in telling stories with photos. Manipulating and combining photos creates a multilayered story within one image.
Another feature of using the iPhone is that the small size and awkward controls lead to surprising, and sometimes worthwhile, results. In this way it reminds me of using toy cameras with cheap lenses, light leaks and minimal controls.
This is the point were I started to question the relevance of the iPhone versus other cameras for photography. Well, I have decided to stop over thinking! If I can create a single or series of images with my rangefinder or a multilayered image with the iPhone that tell the stories I want to tell, then that is enough. People will get what they want from the images.
I hope that they get whatever story they want from seeing them.