photography and photographs understood

Using Reluctantly Camera Phones

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: Apr 2013; revised: Oct 2017; readers past month: 512

In the past few months I have been dating a young woman, a woman who is much younger than me. There are advantages and disavantages to dating a younger woman. One advantage is that she pushes me to do things that I would not do normally. She has gotten me to use my mobile telephone to take photographs. As an advanced photographer, I have always disdained this idea. In my opinion, mobile telephones are not meant to be cameras. They can take pictures, but one should use a camera, not a telephone for photography. Still, women and romance can change a man’s perspective on things.

Since the new girlfriend likes to communicate sometimes with images, she sends me photos of things that she sees. It’s her way of includng me in her daily life when I am not with her. She lives in a city over one hundred miles from me. After many times of asking me to send her photos on my phone to show her what I am seeing, I have relented and have begun to use my telephone as a handy camera for impromptu photos of daily life.

I still prefer a normal camera, but I have to admit that the new telephones do well now. I’ve been learning how to use my telephone to take decent shots. It has been said many times by others that a good photographer can take good photos with any camera. So this is a test of my abilities as a photographer, by limiting me to simple equipment. Below are a few photos I took over the past couple of months for the girlfriend.

aperture: 2.4; shutter: 1/110 sec; iso: 50 focal length: 4.48mm date: feb 24, 2013; location: milan, italy

I took the photo above while waiting at a tram stop in Milan, to show the girlfriend that it had begun to snow. It was at the end of February and the snow days were thought to be finished. However, on this day there was an unexpected, heavy snow fall. Being an admirer of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, I tried to position myself to make a photo with interesting lines and angles.

aperture: 2.4; shutter: 1/140 sec; iso: 50 focal length: 4.48mm date: feb 24, 2013; location: milan, italy

This is also in Milan. Hundreds of years ago, there used to be a wall that surrounded and protected the city—you can see part of it on the left in this shot. At various points there were gates with roads that flowed through them. This is one of those gates; it’s called, Porta Romana (i.e., Roman Gate). The road for it was originally the road which one would travel to get to Rome. This photo was taken a short time after the previous photo. It has unfortunately a bit of a blurr caused by snow melted on the lens.

aperture: 2.4; shutter: 1/320 sec; iso: 50 focal length: 4.48mm date: march 31, 2013; location: recca, italy

For Easter this year, I went to a coastal town called, Recca with some friends. The girlfriend couldn’t go with me. The town is on the Liguria sea, near Genoa. It was a sunny day and nice to see the water for a change—Milan is land locked. This photo would have been better if at least one person in the shot had been facing the camera—or rather, the telephone. The one in blue is a friend of mine. I could have called her on my mobile phone—she had hers in her pocket—and asked her to turn around before taking the photo. That would have justified using the device. Or I could have yelled to her to turn around since she was close. But that may have been too old fashion of me.

aperture: 2.4; shutter: 1/320 sec; iso: 50 focal length: 4.48mm date: march 31, 2013; location: recca, italy

I found this graffito to be interesting and sent it to the girlfriend since it had an applicable, romantic sentiment to it. It says basically, “[My] love, excuse [me]. Remember that I love you! — your little baby” I added some punctuation and pronouns, and removed one pronoun to translate properly the sentiment.

Again, I prefer using a device that is dedicated to photography (i.e., a camera) and not one which has the primary function of verbal communication (i.e., a telephone). Nevertheless, I don’t always bring a camera with me wherever I go. I did to Recca, but not to a tram stop, as shown in these photos. And sometimes I may want to create a photo to send rapidly to someone like the girlfriend. So there is a convenience and an immediacy available with mobile telephone cameras. And the results are not bad, albeit not as good as my cameras.