A while back I wrote the post “Sometimes you don’t have a Camera“. The idea behind the piece was that being in the midst of life’s photographic moments doesn’t always work on your schedule. This is a problem that has bugged me ruthlessly since finding that I had an affinity for collecting those moments. My remedies have been comical at times, but nothing has worked… I once kept Nikon D300’s in my cars center consoles in case I encountered something on the road. I also picked up a Canon G10 and Nikon P7000 to have as pocket cameras for traveling, but there in lies the problem. You leave your hotel room with a “pocket” camera in hand with the intent to hunt down life and capture it for the world to see. However, as many of us know, this is never the case. As is the saying in photography, the best camera is the one you have with you.
It is with this in mind that I sat glued to my computer screen yesterday, hitting the refresh button religiously on Gizmodo and Engadget, who were both covering the announcement of the iPhone 4s. At times I was cheering like a cheerleader when I saw the focus (no pun intended) they put on the camera. It was like Apple had planned to make a camera, and midway through decided, “hmm, you know we have some extra phone parts lying around….”. So you can imagine my surprise when I heard so many people ripping the new phone for not living up to the expectations that those very same people had created for it. (a quick side note on “those people”… if you expect a 30 megapixel camera in every phone, you’ll be disappointed for a long time. This analogy applies to more than just the camera, but the concept remains true). Nonetheless, let me weigh in on the iPhone 4s from a photographer’s point of view…
I always have my phone on me, it is my job and calls don’t always wait for me to be ready to receive them. Being a firm believer that life is what we take in, my psyche doesn’t feel violated by the a phone being available for a “quick shot.” By this I mean too many photographers take their camera to a situation that should be observed. It saddens me to think of the moments that many have missed hiding behind a viewfinder. Now if it’s a job, that’s one thing, but if you are going to the beach with your friends, only to have to babysit your camera in case a whale is jumping in the distance, you have missed out on the experience altogether. The nerd in me even goes down to the basic biological function in that if life’s greatest moments account for nothing more than synapses firing and the release of serotonin and dopamine to make us happy, then even the smallest camera body could block said reaction. Which brings me to my point on the iPhone 4s… is it overpriced, that is for the market to dictate. Does it have a large enough screen… again this is for the consumer to determine. Is it a phone that I can carry around in my pocket, and that I would be comfortable with the pictures should life present itself… yes.
Now some argue that there are alternatives, and I agree. I am on my 6th phone this year, and show now signs of slowing. Many of the phones I have are great as phones, but not many are great as cameras. Being a Blackberry fan, I love the keyboard of the Bold, but the camera of the Torch, so when I travel, I take the Torch.
Closing thoughts: I worry that so many of you chase the light only to stand surprised when if finds you standing there without a camera. I also worry that so many of you chase life only to find you have missed it because you are standing there with a camera.
Pics shot with my Blackberry Torch: