This short Washington Post article asks the question, “When is a photograph not a photograph? The exhibit that attempts to shed some light on this question is entitled, “Diverging Mediums: Photography vs. iPhoneography.” (Click on this link to get to the review of the exhibit.)
I’m glad to see the discussion about photography vs. iPhoneography taking place, especially at a venue like the Torpedo Factory. Just the fact that there are two different names for the disciplines draws a line between the two.
In my recent post of an iPhone Hipstamatic photograph of the sky I made this statement, ” The over-doing of treatments by use of various apps that mask that fact that a particular photograph is mediocre really gets under my skin.” That’s the rub for me.
Photography is a medium, like any art form, that requires one to learn history and craft to effectively express oneself. The way the iPhone is used, in many cases, is the result of the contemporary concept of instant gratification. One can snap a photo, press a few buttons and, voila! a fancy picture appears with no required understanding of light, depth of field, or the many other aspects of photography, which if studied would yield better self expression.
We live in the days where appealing to the least common denominator is the rule of the day. So, I put some of the blame on the immediate acceptance of iPhoneography as art at the feet of the gallery owner that has jumped on showing this work trying to appeal to the broadest audience thereby cheapening the entire experience.
If it seem that I am generalizing and lumping all iPhoneography into one big ball and discounting its possibility as a means of self expression, I’m not saying such a thing.
Bottom line? Using the iPhone as a tool to make photographs makes sense. Using the iPhone to make “iPhoneopgraphs,” well, that’s another thing altogether and should be kept separate from “photography.”