iPhone proves its worth (again)

2 08 2012

I’m quite heartened to see Dan Chung, a former winner of the Press Photographer of the Year award, shooting the iPhone at the London Olympic Games. Though earlier this year, Dan was the focus of an article published on the  Dpreview website, headlined ‘no future in Photojournalism’. Which does make me wonder if he was half joking with the iphone pics, a wry pointer to the rise of citizen journalism.

The photos themselves are not intended to compete on a technical basis, with those shot on Nikon D4/600mm F4 type combinations. They work within the limitations of the gear, and in the framework of the media channel in which they are presented. 

No instagram-type ‘filters’ are present, though there is evidence of burning in some skies. Minor manipulations, nothing more than that. The pictures themselves are often ‘nothing special’ although some of the indoor sports pics, with their attendant slow shutter speeds, bring to mind the images of a much earlier age. Quite evocative and often beautiful. I am sure that there will be opinions expressed that the Guardian ‘wasted’ his accreditation by allowing (or commissioning??) him to shoot in this way. Well, tough shit! There always has been a group of people who are transfixed by the notion that the more your gear costs, the better your pictures will be. Perhaps these people don’t make or sell smartphones? I don’t doubt for a moment that a digital SLR can produce better quality (sharper, clearer) images than an iphone held behind a pair of binoculars. This is not the point. It’s almost like shooting digital for a living, and going back to shooting 5×4 film. Everything changes. It takes 10-15 minutes to shoot one picture. The whole limitations thing moves way along the scale.

Expectations were (I think) exceeded, in the case of Dan’s pictures. Everyone in the industry knows he’s a capable shooter, and one who has embraced change. Perhaps however the atypical Guardian reader, might not be so knowledgeable, which allows the photos to amaze and astound. 

The cynical part of me is wondering if this is Britain’s answer to ‘Klamar-gate’, the small storm of outraged indignance on the part of the photo community, after AFP shooter Joe Klamar was credited to a bunch of pix that should never have been released publicly, of the US Olympic Team.  If it is, I think we’ve done it with a lot more style, panache, and relevance.

If I were the Guardian’s picture editor, I would be perfectly happy to commission a fine art photographer, to cover the Olympics for a week. Maybe with the iphone. The reality though is that security screening means specified people had to submit applications for accreditation back in March. Which would perhaps interfere with  any spontaneity. So really we should all be quite thankful, that Dan chose to shoot the Games, in this way. 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/27/london-olympics-2012-smartphone?fb=native

 

 

 

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2 08 2012
London Olympics by iPhone

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