I enjoyed Craig Mod’s “Goodbye, Cameras,” but his follow up “Photography, Hello” really got my brain cells jingling. I really enjoy taking photos (me on Flickr, me on Instagram). I know I’m not creating art, but I like to think that some of them come out okay.
I shot film for a few years: everything from full-on SLRs down to flea market finds that just about worked. At the moment, I have a digital SLR that I occasionally use, and the camera on my phone (an iPhone 5). Of the two, I prefer shooting with my SLR. Craig’s articles got me thinking about why, and about how much the tools I use change the process and the end result.
Phone vs SLR
I find that I’m taking quite a few pictures on my phone these days, but that’s partly to do with opportunity. When I was working from home, I would have time to go out on photo missions during the day. Now that I have regular working hours in an office, it’s only every few weekends that I manage to get together with my photo geek buddies and haul out my SLR; I always have my phone on me, though.
Posting more photos from my phone hasn’t been the result of the rise in the quality of the lenses. I don’t mind rough edges: I like lens flares, film shots with light leaks, and so on. It’s much more about being connected and therefore having greatly reduced friction of sharing and publishing.
With the phone I find myself having lower standards about what’s good enough, and I think that’s partly because it’s so easy to share. My SLR is not networked, so the process of sharing pictures is slower and more deliberate. I’m forced into having time and space to review the pictures I’ve taken before publishing them: I review them later, hopefully more objectively and with a harsher eye. I usually only post a handful of pictures from each photo outing even though I usually take a double-digit number of pictures.
Tools changing the process
Using the SLR feels physically different. Taking photos is more paced, structured, and considered. Using a different tool changes the process quite dramatically, and I think it changes the kinds of pictures I take as a result. Of course, I can do silly selfie snaps on either, but I’m much more likely to do so with my phone. A wide shot of the mountain can be taken on either, but I’m more likely to take one when I’m carrying around my SLR. Perhaps this says more about me than it does about the tools, but it's made me look at what tools I use to build sites, and how they might be influencing how and what I do.