A couple of times every year, a new mobile phone comes out, each time seemingly packed with new superpowers. Most of the time, one of the major edits on a new model involves its camera. These days, mobile phone cameras are packing in the pixels, with lens and sensor capabilities constantly improving. As such, it becomes easier and easier to take high quality photos with a tap of the finger.
With such technologies readily available, photography also becomes more accessible to everyone. It isn’t uncommon these days to see stunning photos online looking like they were taken by a pro with his high-end gear only to find out that they were snapped by some passer-by with the latest mobile phone. At the same time, mobile phones and photography apps have been used by pros to take magazine cover photos and even used to cover big events, like with Time Magazine using Instagram to cover Hurricane Sandy a couple of years back. With technicalities being interchangeable, is the title of “photographer” now interchangeable as well? Can the layman be placed side-by-side with the pro now that they have been equalised by new technology?
Many may say yes to this, and gleefully proclaim that we are photographers now in our own right. But the truth is, as it was then, so it is now. Being a photographer has never been, and never will be, defined by the camera they use.
It’s the same situation with the consumer DSLR boom from a couple of years ago where everyone could be found touting DSLR’s, claiming their love for photography. When in reality, only a handful of those people even knew how to work the knobs on their little black box.
Being a photographer is a state of mind, not a result of gear. Photographers are conscious and conscientious. They do not take snapshots. Each shot is well thought of, planned, crafted, and waited for even. And once these shots have materialised in their head, it is a whole new process to make these photos come to life. They are composed on the LCD, their settings are carefully selected, even before the shutter is pressed and the photo is captured. It doesn’t even matter if they are using a DSLR or a mobile phone. It is the process that separates them from the rest.
Casual “photographers” on the other hand simply click and hope for the best. He may be holding a high-end full-frame camera, but if he clicks mindlessly, he isn’t a photographer either. So even if an average guy and a photographer take the exact same photo from their cell phones, they are differentiated by their mindset and their core. One works for art and the other one merely hopes to stumble upon it.
Thus, while we can all take stunning photos now, photographers are still a different breed, separate from the rest. While they can use simplistic cell phones as well, they still cannot be equated with the others simply for the thought they put into every frame.
Julia Escano – Shoot The Frame