A well worn topic- ‘Mobile images are not really photography’

For some, mobile photography’s accessibility has given rise to a new generation of photographers. For others, the glut of images captured on an hourly basis detracts from photography as an art form.

To our view, these arguments fail to see the mobile phone as another tool in the photographer’s repertoire.
Laki Sideris, who came 3rd in the Head On Mobile Prize category in 2014, said this of his competition- ‘The finalist’s images exhibited in the mobile category were never snapshots. They were all considered works

So why do we think an instrument as seemingly ‘basic’ as the mobile camera can still yield the high-calibre of photography we expect at Head On?

It’s beauty lies in its simplicity- the quickest route between a photographer and a moment. Indeed, the simplicity of the mobile camera brings to mind a number of the quotes – ne doctrines- of photography’s early masters.

Ansel Adams is oft quoted as saying ‘The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it’ while Alfred Eisenstaedt says ‘The important thing is not the camera but the eye.”

By this logic the best camera is the one you have on you. The mobile camera gifts photographers with a streamlined means of capturing the vision of the photographer, or the ‘humanity of the moment’ as Robert Frank so deftly puts it.

To put it another way, shooting with an iPhone keeps photography all about the eye.
(Or any other phone brand, but that ruins the homonym.)

Image Credit: George Byrne and Laki Sideris

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage