This week I discovered some beautiful photography by a guy called Kevin Russ, who travels around the US full time – snapping his gloriously evocative scenes using just an iPhone. The photography site Fstoppers.com featured his work (I highly recommend you check out their article), which in turn led me to Kevin’s tumblr.
Soaking it all in has helped me clarify a few thoughts that were already bouncing around my head concerning mobile photography.
I’ve been reluctant to embrace mobile photography in the past. It’s not that I think it’s worthless or anything like that – a great composition is a great composition, whatever the lens pointing at it – it’s more that the photos I most admire do tend to feature a certain level of fidelity. I’ve posted before about the importance of textures to me, for example, and more dedicated camera equipment tends to do a better job of conveying it.
In addition, the filter side of it all always seemed a bit gimmicky, which put me off at first. Tap screen to add nostalgia; it just feels a bit too clumsy and pre-ordained to allow that much in the way of personal expression (though simplicity’s obviously a huge part of the filter craze).
As a result, while I have an Instagram account I’ve never invested much time or effort into it.
Still, I’ve never completely dismissed using my phone’s camera more often. The thought of just how much can be done with that little oblong in my pocket excites me, and I’ve often mulled about how I might better incorporate its creative possibilities into my own efforts (such as they are).
Seeing Kevin’s work has reignited my interest, and turned idle thoughts into more active tinkering. This week I’ve started re-investigating the field via a couple of the apps he recommends – Afterglow and VSCO Cam. Happily, I find the former provides much of the freedom of editing I’d missed in previous apps I’d tried, while the latter’s mostly of interest to me for its film grains. While I’ve overdone it in the coffee photo above (my first experimentation with it), I think it can look lovely in the right circumstances (the first shot in this post, taken in Shoreditch last night, is probably a better indication).
So, while I’m not about to give up on my SLR just yet, I’ve a renewed appreciation for the camera that’s always with me – and a determination to start using it to better effect.