by Mike McNamee Published 01/12/2015
Readers of a professional magazine such as ours might legitimately ask what a book on iPhone photography is doing on the pages! Well it pays to keep abreast of what all those people holding up their phones to impede your shot of the confetti throwing are up to. Like it or not, their images of the happy couple will be on Facebook before you have even taken the CompactFlash out of the camera!
The ubiquity of the iPhone was wonderfully demonstrated by a cartoon that flashed up on my own iPhone the other day. A waiter is standing beside a restaurant table saying to the couple 'Was everything OK with your meal, I notice you have not taken any photographs!'
This book could provide a humorous diversion for a professional who is not working on Boxing Day. I cannot for the life of me think why a photographer would go to the trouble of setting up lights and a backdrop and then not bother to take out a proper camera. The opening discussion suggests that an iPhone is great for 'capturing "day in the life" photos' and then goes on to illustrate just how naff the dynamic range of such shots are. In one of his iPhone portraits Morrissey admits that he 'may have gone too far with the retouching' of an iPhone shot of his wife - you can say that again! You get the impression that he has used the iPhone because he was writing a book about using the iPhone, surely he can see the difference?
What some of the images demonstrate, though, is that a good shot is a good shot regardless of the technology employed to capture it. The girl on the front cover, for example, looks attractive (other than the rather drippy 'far way' look) although, even there, the image is a bit soft in places. However, the smart phone is something that you are likely to have on you at all times other than when swimming and if it captures a dramatic moment, and is the only device in the vicinity to do so, then you have a scoop. You only have to look at some of the images in newspapers to realise that content triumphs over quality for some types of shot.
Should you buy this book? Well as professionals we should keep a diligent watch on iPhone technology in case something creeps up on us (eg multi-lens, multi-chip phone cameras). Nothing shown on the pages of this book leads me to worry that phone cameras will take over from the DSLR but that, of course, is just what Kodak said about digital over film and look where that got them! Phone technology today does wonderful things even at Editor Towers, the last bastion of conservative technology. Our iPhones keep us in touch, bring us the football scores as they happen, play the radio on demand, they turn our 14 dining room lights to 'dinner party mood' with a single tap, they show us who is burgling our house, who is calling at the door, they warn us that the power has gone down so as to protect the contents of the freezer, they warn us that the washing machine is flooding, the house is on fire, we can watch the dog while we are out, they track how far your editor's limpy leg is walking him today and at what speed, they show Mrs Editor where he is stuck on the M6 - oh the list goes on, ignore all this at your peril - remember Kodak!
IPhoneography PRO by Robert Morrissey. Soft back 128 pages. ISBN 978-1608957118. Published by Amherst Media at $34.95.
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