Working in news you soon realise that pictures are about content first and art second, especially moving pictures. Grainy footage from a mobile phone of a plane crash or from a war zone that tells the story wins out every time over the crew who shoot like a dream but who weren’t there.
Henri Cartier Bresson put it as well as anyone. “Photography is not like painting,” he told the Washington Post back in 1957. “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative,” Bresson said, adding; “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”
And that is the reason that modern technology is revolutionising photography. Of course serious photographers will tell you that it’s all about the glass and your technique – and without a doubt they have a point when it comes to studio photography.
But I have a fairly ordinary digital SLR and a couple of very so-so lenses. Moreover, unlike Cartier Bresson, I don’t live with my camera. It’s too bulky to carry around all the time. I do however live with my iPhone. Of course when I see a scene that I’d really like to snap my first thought is ‘damn! I wish I had my camera with me.’ My second is to reach for my iPhone.
It’s not ideal but better a photo than no photo. And with the help of even the most simple photo editing programme, such as that built into Windows 7, you can tweak pictures enough to make them attractive in their own way.
So all the pictures in this post were taken with an iPhone 4G. The camera in the 4GS is apparently better – some of the video results have been pretty impressive. None of these pictures are great but at least, when I saw the light play on a scene in a way I thought rather beautiful, I was able to take away an image rather than no image.