Before getting into mobile photos, I sometimes used a Nikon D90 DSLR camera to shoot my kids. Always with the little dial in “Green”. Which is another way of saying that I am no professional photographer. Then my brother started bombing me with Instagram photos and nagging me to play along, which I finally did. Started out using the camera function inside Instagram to shoot, what else, photos of my food. Obviously I stopped using it after a couple of days, bored out of my mind with it.
Totally bored until 2011, when I found a person in the city center who had drawn an amazing Frida Kahlo portrait using chalk on the pavement. I took my iPhone, clicked and uploaded it and added the hashtag #frida. That is when the first component of addiction started to draw me in, yes the ego-building Likes. I started getting comments and more likes from total strangers in my little iPhone screen which was utterly amazing to me.
The interaction with other people drew me in to see their feeds, where I found interesting hashtags and above all a couple of impressive photographs. Which in turn led me to ask, how do these people achieve this with a smart phone? I was hooked and I wanted more. More likes, more followers and better photos.
I discovered two feeds that immediately grabbed my attention for their precise shots and minimalistic approach: @cimek and @catherinesomething. Minimal pastels is what they were doing at the time and I knew that I wanted to achieve calm, uncluttered and simple looking photos using as well, using my ever present-in-my-pocket camera, no longer just a phone.
Mobile photography allows an almost immediate reaction to what you see around yourself. It is an ability to sufficiently match your vision in 10 seconds, without dragging a bulky camera that needs to be adjusted with f-stops, aperture, shutter speeds and ISO settings. (I still don’t know most of these terms!). Mobile photography allows the images everyday life to transcend into quite millions of other people’s screens in a couple of moments, literally. It is a visual lingua franca that requires little explanation.
In my case it started out almost as a videogame, trying to get more likes and to be noticed like a 15 year old looking at other girls at his first dance. It quickly developed into a deeper appreciation of what other people could achieve, people like the magical @jasonmpeterson and @brahmino, whose iPhone images are simply out of this world. It developed further into friendships through comments and interactions on the love of the quality of photography, of the beauty seen through a lens and shared through an app that opened hundreds of daily windows into talented people.
One can find beautiful printed photography books in any bookstore, excellent shots in any National Geographic magazine, but it is a passive experience, like watching TV. Mobile photography on the other hand is an active experience that allows for immediate feedback from the artist itself, like talking to Picasso on his feelings after drawing his Guernica. It opens up a two way street to raw, powerful and sensible talent that speaks back to you. It allows a collaboration, a sharing of images that can communicate emotions, passions on both sides of the screen as well as beauty in an instant. And it allows friendships to be built, way above and beyond any number of likes or followers.
Which is why I am so passionate about this medium. And a new fan of mobile photography as an art form.
“Less is more” dominates Hans Kritzler’s minimalistic photographs (@macroe in Instagram). Born and raised in Mexico City but living in Munich, Germany, this business manager by day and photo fanatic by night is followed by more than 450,000 people. Shoots and edits 100% on iPhone.