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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Photography and the Mobile

Time to talk more about the eyes part of this blog. Up to now it seems like I've talked about everything but. But, I'm a photographer . . . and adding Flickr to this page has inspired me to start talking like one.

First off, a few changes. I've replaced Flicker's Daily Zeitgeist applet with a single random photo from my Flickr pages, added some photo-related links to the sidebar, and added the word "photography" to this blog's description, above. And now to the meat of the matter.

One of the things I most appreciate about digital imaging, is that it's gotten so many people interested in doing photography themselves. Especially camera phones.

In terms of my own photography, I can tell you this. At one time I had probably five or six cameras of various kinds, mostly SLRs. This is pretty much par for the course for serious photographers. But the best thing I ever did, in terms of developing my shooting skills and interest, was to buy and use a Nokia 3650.

The images I made with my 3650 are some of the best I've made period. At one third of a megapixel!

I think that's because the camera phone is more fun to use, and more spontaneous, than a conventional camera. And, because people (my preferred subject matter) are less intimidated by it.

Ultimately, the camera phone - or the converged handheld device - really changes photography in a fundamental way. Especially street photography and photojournalism. The last time photography went through such a fundamental change, was when the ur-Leica was introduced.

ur-Leica, circa 1913

Invented by Oskar Barnack and the Leitz company in 1913, the Leica revolutionized photography when it finally went into production circa 1925. (Production was delayed due to World War I and its aftermath.) For the first time, photographers, using the Leica, could proceed discreetly, taking their shots on the fly. Before this, photography generally involved large cameras, usually tripods, and was a formal, fairly expensive endeavor.

Nowadays, almost a century later, digital is even cheaper than film, and a camera phone even more discreet than a pocket camera. And, of course, you always have it with you. These facts, combined with the web, really do change everything. Now we are all photographers.

The above pics were resized and tweaked in photoshop. Here's a parting shot, straight from the phone.

Two birds with one phone :)

If you're interested in the history of Leica cameras, the history pages of Leica Camera AG are a good place to start. And if you'd like to see the rest of my 3650-made pics, you'll find them here.

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