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Mobile photography, do you use your mobile phone camera? Why not?

Here and there surfing on internet we can easily come across attacks to a branch of photography, the so called “mobile photography”. Roberto Cotroneo, writer and journalist, has recently formulated one of these attacks in Italy. His attack has been shared thousands (of) times over the social networks. In two words he offends the mobile phone camera users. He tells them to give up using these cameras to take pictures instead of using undefined “true cameras”.

In my opinion, a camera is a tool that is able to crystallize a moment in an image through its framing. Starting from this definition I cannot really understand why mobile phone cameras shall not be taken into consideration. How we could miss to quote “lifeframes”, the photographic exhibition held in Milan and organized by Steve Mc Curry? Why not to quote the National Geographic suggestions in order to obtain great pictures with mobile phones?

Sometime I feel like some photographer are attached to a misty glorious past, the same one that few years ago moved many photographer to consider the digital photography not at the same level of the film ones. Nowadays digital cameras are able to give impressive results. In any case this glorious past is a multiverse of techniques, school of thoughts, equipment of every type that the various authors are ignoring. As if, in the old times, there were no “tricks”. Do we forget about the classic postproduction made over the film during the dark room process?

Mobile-photography is a cheap way that can be handled by anyone not needing huge investments. Mobile phone cameras have characteristics that some time ago could have been unpredictable. Off course they cannot be used to print fine art prints but they can do a great work in many other fields. I just want to remember that these cameras have also a great role in promoting freedom as they can be used to picture what is happening in wars and regimes. Smartphones cameras have been used also by many prestigious photographer and have been used too in some National Geographic articles or to create artistic visions of the world we are living in.

A typical attack is usually reserved also to the Apps that are used in a quite raw postproduction process directly on the phone. I disagree also with this vision. We could think about the effect of the “proper” postproduction tools that used by the fashion industry to offer a model of people that do not even exist in reality forcing millions of girls around the globe to feel uneasy with themselves. Even if we could say that these mobile phone Apps are a bit “raw” I see as more logical to criticize not the Apps in itself but the abuse of the available effects. A good picture remains a good picture even if taken with a mobile phone camera. A bad picture will remain a bad picture: that’s all.

Instagram is one of those Apps that are most criticized with its filters. We have already forgotten the physical Cokin Filters? Nowadays those filters are digitalized, so there is nothing new under the sun of photography. I just see in Apps like Instagram a funny way to have good memories of everyday life moments. Who wants can print that pictures having also a long lasting memory about it.

I have been taking photos for years and I’m always open to new ways and forms of photography and art. I’m always interested in new tendencies observing and maybe criticising some time here and there. I prefer using a good Reflex but distrust the ones are teaching you the art of photography insulting an entire branch of this art. Use your mobile phone camera as much as you want and think about how far you could arrive with that tool. The only thing that I want to share of the usual attacks is the invitation to look for simplicity without over using filters and effects that could ruin the photo. Apart from that, I invite not confusing the use of a tool with its abuse.

The picture above was taken in Paris few years ago with a Camera that kicked the bucket few weeks after but, with its strange black and white effect, was able to crystallize the train station during an October grey day showing an effect of other times.

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