Wednesday, May 16, 2012

iPhone Photography-Cracking The Code

I witnessed something this last week that confirmed all along what I've been feeling about iPhone Photography, but wasn't able to wrap the right words around it.

There's been discussion after discussion on the merits of iPhone shooting, whether its real or not,
or even a capable device for this medium. With thousands of app's available for the iPhone, crossing the line of reality, similar to those conversations about the truth in HDR effects on images, is a constant source of debate.

As a camera device, the iPhone is rock solid and indeed a camera. The usage of app's and image altering techniques is as old as the hills. Quite simply, its no different than glass plate printing in the 1800's or platinum printing at the turn of the century or making contact prints directly from negatives in 1980's.

The variety of techniques available allows the millions of photo minded people now out there to embrace a visual voice of their own. Whether it's real or not depends of the end result of how images are used. In the editorial world, manipulations are unacceptable. In the art world, commercial field, or the vein of personal artistic expression, it's natural and acceptable to push the medium as far as it can go. I love this about photography. The endless methods of how to see the world with fresh eyes is wonderfully exciting.

Teaching a one-day workshop through the MPLS PHOTO CENTER on iPhone Photography with fifteen talented folks was pure photography. Our group brought a wide range of photographic skills and interests. Some own ten's of thousands of dollars of gear while others just own the iPhone. What was so cool was everyone was a photographer that day. And that's cracking the code. We were using a real camera. It's just called the iPhone Camera and everyone was out treasure hunting for visuals.

At one point, we found an interesting brick wall & shadows in an alley. Passerby's would see fifteen people pointing iPhones up in the air as they looked down the alley. Nervous to venture down the alley, they stood there and watched. Once enough of them gathered (strength in numbers I guess) they inched their way towards us.....only to be told we lied the shadows on the wall! It was hilarious. I think they thought we had seen a grizzly bear or something.

What became evident very quickly was the absence of all the camera bags, lenses & tripods. We could walk anywhere and snap away without the label of being "photographers" which in many instances granted us access to people, places and locations. In many of these locations, permission, permits and questions would have greeted the photographer. The iPhone camera allowed to shoot instinctively and without restriction. This was a treat. And, folks felt like Bresson out there with one camera, making visual observations on the street, seeking poetry with these simple cameras. The code was intact. Indeed they were photographers.

Some of the app's being used in the Workshop include:


Some addt'l info you all may find useful:

- three lenses in one small package:
- tripod mount:
- case battery:
- learn more about my favorite app:
- fun place for iPhone and other photography accessories:
- get inspired, learn how to use some photo apps and get to know some iPhone photo artists: The Art of     iPhoneography by Stephanie C.Roberts
- blog reviewing apps and accessories:

A wonderful opportunity for these Workshop shooter is to have their works included in the NORTHERN SPARKS event for this summer. Their images will be projected on the sides of four giant grain silo's in downtown Minneapolis on the evening of June 10th, 2012 from dark to 2:00 a.m.

Theresa Link, one of the talented shooters with us this weekend created a collection of images with her iPhone. Here's a sampling of some of her images taken last weekend in the Twin Cities. Wonderful work Theresa! 

These will be projected on to the side of these giant silo's during the Northern Spark along with all others in the MPC Workshop.

Here's the link to Northern Spark 2012

It is the ease and instinctive approach from our iPhone camera's that has allowed a new breed of images to emerge in the mainstream. Aurora Photos recently opened myPhone Collection of stock images to their stock inventory. On my last submission to CORBIS, one of my agencies, they accepted several images captured with the iPhone camera. I was thrilled to see this.

There's no question that images created with these cameras are part of current cultural trends worldwide. It would be a mistake to disregard this influence. FACEBOOK must have agree'd when they recently purchased Instagram for a billion dollars. It makes sense. I asked my kids what they like most about FACEBOOK and they say, "the photos."

The code is cracked.


  1. Layne - This class was such fun! It is very freeing to roam without lugging tons of camera equipment! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and for sharing my photos in your blog. See you at another workshop soon!

  2. Thanks for sharing this information its really nice.
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  3. iPhone has also a good camera lens that why it is also use for photography and it has also high memory storage.

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