PHoto INSIGHT

 with camera

David Ward discusses his experiments with iPhone photography and how the medium can be used to achieve varied and interesting results

THIS image is a little different from the photographs I have had published in the past in Photo Insight, and the primary reason for this is that it s shot using my iPhone. It was taken using the Hipstamatic app, although that s not a function I tend to use any more.

I started using my iPhone as a way to produce more experimental pictures, as I felt it necessary to briefly move way from the inherent ritual you engage in when working with a 5x4 camera. I also wanted to introduce a freedom and quickness to the image-making process.

I started playing around with phone cameras and apps around October 2011. It struck me as interesting that we all carry a camera around with us these days, whether iton our phones or a little compact digital camera, and I wanted to see how that could fit into my own world of photography.

 with camera

While the freedom and unpredictability of the practice was important, I think you can tell by looking at the image that Ibeen very careful when considering the framing and composition. Yet even with those careful considerations therea level of freedom that would have been denied me had I used my 5x4. It would have been near impossible to shoot with a 5x4 camera because depth of field would have been a huge issue. With an iPhone, you have enormous depth of field because itsuch a small sensor-the focal length is very short. Looking at the whole subject area, itaround 6in-9in across, which is very small. With a 5x4 camera it would have been very difficult getting all that sharp.

I mentioned the ritual of shooting on 5x4, and what I mean by this is that when you work with that kind of camera there are a series of steps you must engage in to produce an image that s usable. This slows you down. In a way that s a good thing, because it makes you look at your subject so you canmake a quick snap.

This can help you see connections you might otherwise have missed. However, one of the things you may miss out on is the more ephemeral moments that present themselves to you. Some events, such as a patch of light or a subject moving quickly, are fleeting and you can miss them while setting up your 5x4.

There is also an expectation that goes with a format and with a camera. I ve often

PHoto INSIGHT

seen this with my workshop participants when they have bought a big expensive piece of kit. They have a great camera and they want to do that camera justice. This means the ean expectation of the kind of image that has to be produced. For them, it has to be worthwhile with no sense of play. Yet for me, playing is a big part of photography-in fact, in any kind of art. It s only through experimentation that you find your way forwa d in your chosen field.

These were the things I had to weigh up when I decided to play around with iPhoneography I wanted to produce something light-hearted and interesting. I saw something beautiful, captured it and then quickly moved on. I also wanted to experiment with things such as aspect ratio. I havenshot in square format since college, so I could experiment with how I wanted to arrange things in a square.

There are alsD all sorts of  cultural references’with this type of photography, because you re taking part in what some people call the point and hope  style that is often associated with using a Lomo or Holga camera. I used the fake filter effect that makes the image appear as if it were shot on Polaroid or expired film stock, and this leads people to view the image in a certain way.

One of the reasons that I stopped using Hipstamatic and switched to an app called Tadaa is that with Tadaa you can actually choose the filter you apply to your image after the shot has been taken. With Hipstamatic, you have to choose the filter before you take the image and then youstuck with it. Applying a filter afterwards allows you to choose a style that is sympathetic to your subject. This particular lens and filter combination are perfect for the grassy subject, and the vignetting and tonal contrast work well together

Therea nice balance in this shot between description and abstract. Most photography, including mine, is descriptive. One of the ways that a photographer can introduce a little more interest in their images is to push them a little more towards the abstract as it introduces mystery. I think therea lot going on with the folds and leaves in this photograph that makes you want to dive into it.

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