cell phones are fucking-over photography

 

 

From a young age, I’ve been astonished with filmmaking and photography. From a handheld video camera, a Walmart disposable camera, and more recently, our own smartphones, there are several ways to capture significant moments. The past few years, family gatherings no longer include disposable cameras, but rather, each person’s respected cellphone. This begs the question: are these mobile devices with high-tech camera abilities ruining the true essence of photography by making the activity democratized?

 

Years ago, family gatherings were captured by one camera and one person. That one person methodically made sure that the photos were successfully developed, but did so in a much different way than one does now. With the cameras on iPhone and other cell-phones, you cannot only capture a good picture, but you can take as many as you’d like and instantly have access to them. 

 

Filmmaker and YouTube phenom, Casey Neistat has touched on this very topic countless times. His belief is that it has never been easier to become a creator than it is in this day and age. A creator, in his definition, is a person who creates content for a larger audience. Neistat has been in the profession since the early 2000’s and has had his fair share of video cameras, point and shoots, and DSLR’s, as well as TV Shows and movies. The general consensus when regarding photography and filmmaking is that you need all this fancy equipment and money, but Neistat argues that the new wave is in our jean pockets and at our fingertips. The technology on these cellphones and on social media are now making it easier for people to share what they are doing at any given moment. Though some may argue that this is taking away from these professions, Neistat believes that this new wave of technology and sharing is one for everyone, not just the professionals.

 

The recent technology upgrades for his camera equipment have made his job easier and more efficient. When asked about the recent upgrades in cellphone cameras, New York Times photographer Jim Wilson had a different opinion than that of Neistat. 

 

“The smartphone has killed the lower-end camera market, and if it hasn’t killed the mid-range market, it’s sure breathing down its neck. Everyone has a camera with them now at all times, and there’s no doubt that we’re seeing images that we never before could have contemplated. As we all know, it’s not just still images, but also video. I think it’s the ultimate democratization of photography — anyone at anytime from anywhere can produce images that can affect how we think of the world around us,” Wilson said. Content with the upgrade of technology in his higher end DSLR cameras and equipment, Wilson still believes that there is a changing tide in the world of photography. He fears that one day, the powers of handheld devices and their ability to capture a moment will in turn create a negative connotation in the photography field.

 

Are the thousands of photos on camera rolls, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook feeds supporting the dismantling of the way photography used to be, making people lazy and getting away from getting one good shot rather than 15 decent shots? Or, is it simply just giving people a better opportunity to share and pursue a passion in a smaller, easier way. Professional photographers, filmmakers, and journalists all over are having this debate. Having been used abundantly, cellphone cameras have given people a way to share their experiences and have also given creators, filmmakers, and photographers a way to capture moments from the devices in their back pocket.

 

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