A shot of a protest rally on the streets of my neighborhood in S. Korea.
Pulitzer Prize winning Photojournalist Barry Staver once famously said, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” There is an obvious truth to that, and these days almost everyone is equipped with a camera. Famous photo sharing websites like Flickr grew in popularity and eventually culminated in Instagram, the easiest (and hippest!) photo sharing app out there that has been worming its way into seemingly everywhere. Of course now that it’s owned by internet giant Facebook it has significant weight behind it, but still I think the fact that this WordPress’s weekly Photo challenge has been replaced with a Phone-ography challenge is very telling of its influence.
For me personally I felt that “the line” that legitimized Instagram as a means of photography was crossed when Time magazine used an Instagram photo of hurricane Sandy on its cover. I can’t say I like the direction it’s going. I often debate film photography vs. digital (with analog advocate Patrick), but now I feel the debate will soon shift to “real” photography vs Phoneography. The problem with that is, how one defines “real” is arbitrary. It’s the same idea that digital editing is “cheating” but then you can make the argument that toy cameras, like the Lomo, probably at one point suffered the same stigma of being labeled as “not real photography.”
Although it is, and will be, up for discussion for years to come. I personally feel that it will just be that, a discussion, and that the outcome of said discussion has already been determined for us. Phoneography is already a reality and will eventually and assuredly reach the same level as our most sophisticated DSLRs. So it is with reluctant acceptance of a foregone conclusion that I submit my entry into this week “Phoneography” challenge.
I live in Cheonan S. Korea, and coming home from work the other day the street (MY street) was blocked off by this protest briefly, until it was diverted by the police. My Korean ability ranges from weak to very weak so the chances of me interpreting a public speaker ranting through a bull horn from on top of a moving van were slim. Intuition tells me that it has something to do with N. Korea, as it was on the same day that the tyrants to the North announced their intentions to not honor the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. There is really a mixed feeling about N. Korea in the country, with the oldest generation of people, who actually experienced the war first hand, believing that you can never trust the back stabbing Communists, and then their sons and daughters who were taught in school that it is their duty to send aid and to love and help with the humanitarian crisis across the border to the North, and finally the youngest generation who are too busy staring at their phones to care. Whatever the message the protest was quickly kettled, within 15 minutes, and everyone I’ve asked to shed light on the issue has not heard of it. Still, I was lucky enough to have my phone on me to capture the moment, so props to Staver for being right again.
*Taken on an iPhone 4s, X-process filter added with Instagram