Shot in Minneapolis with an iPhone 4s and Instagram.
A few days ago, Roger Ebert posted on his blog that he didn’t think that the ubiquitousness of Internet-armed cameras was a good thing:
I find this news concerning because it results in a degradation of the art of photography. … [Camera users] are performing a social ritual, and little of what results is worth saving or seeing.
The infographic he provides is very interesting, but I think Mr. Ebert’s opinion is extremely short-sighted.
A camera is a tool. A computer is a tool. PhotoShop, 3D modeling software, and mobile phones are all tools. The quality of the tool might slightly alter the results the wielder gets from it, but there is nothing inherently bad or good about any of these items. Those cheapo plastic paintbrushes that come with kids’ watercolor sets are ubiquitous and pretty horrible as far as paintbrushes go, but I’m guessing that you’d still get a decent painting back if you handed one of those brushes to Michelangelo.
In my opinion, about 80% of all art created is crap. It’s not necessarily invaluable crap, but still… crap. It’s amateur or poorly conceived or banal or badly executed… whatever. We can quibble about the number before the percent sign, but the number isn’t the point. The point is that, whatever that percentile is, it’s constant. You could have 100 photographers in the world or 1 million, but regardless, 80% of what they make will be crap. Will 1 million photographers make more crap than 100 photographers? Absolutely. They can drown the world in crap photos. But if there’s even just one Ansel Adams in the group of 100 photographers, there could be 10,000 Ansel Adamses in the group of 1 million.
There are 7 billion people on this planet, and now more people than ever have easy, cheap access to a camera. Sure, there’s a lot of bad photography going on, but there’s also more good photography than ever before. That’s just a question of volume and scaling.
Here are some other reasons why I think camera phones are a great thing: Continue Reading →