Endless Frame Photography

Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

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.


cheonan protestAbout the photo:

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

This entry was published on March 13, 2013 at 6:15 am. It’s filed under Phoneography, Urban, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

82 thoughts on “Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

  1. Maybe one day in the future your country won’t be seperated any more. Think 24 years back. Within a few month Germany was united again 😉

    • Well I am American, I am just working abroad, but I do share your sentiment. The difference between the two is that the people in Germany as well as the world community wanted the wall to come down. From my perspective Korea is pretty indifferent and if the DMZ (their “wall”) came down the brass on both sides would be hurt by it. The South in the fact they’re be flooded with millions of starving and uneducated immigrants, and the North in that the ruling elite, wouldn’t be ruling elite anymore. So neither sides leader’s have much incentive unfortunately.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge (Phoneography Challenge): My Neighborhood | Woven Decor

  3. Pingback: Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood | Flickr Comments

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  5. I love the lighting, looks almost ‘instagramish’ in color. The blues tend to off set the yellows. Nice context.

    • It IS an Instagram! The challenge this week was to post a picture you’ve taken from your phone, and luckily I had interesting subjects this week. If you compare it to any of my other shots, you’ll notice the difference right away

  6. lazybill on said:

    It’s simply progress but it makes photographs photography so much more accessible

    • Thats the same thing people are/were saying about digital photography when it came along. I also love music, and its the same thing sound engineers said when digital recording came along. no more cutting tape and splicing reels. Same with photography, I wouldn’t know what to do if I stepped into a darkroom.
      I agree with you, progress is inevitable so why not embrace. It’ll just make even more of the world visible!

  7. william wallace on said:

    The courage of the people of N Korea to stand against USA terrorist Govt’s
    as USA terrorist military forces /earns the respect of all the worlds peoples.

    While many through bribes as threats accept the USA as their master / the
    people’s of N Korea as others have said NO to the tyrant USA even though
    standing against the USA has brought them great destruction /where a USA
    has slaughtered millions / man /woman / child / butchered shown no mercy.

    • 내 북한 동무여!

      • william wallace…aren’t you one of the guys that hung their ass out in “Braveheart”??? your insight is very important especially considering you wear no underpants….you ought to consider writing a book with all your knowledge about the civil unrest in the world…plus…i noticed that that little flap of skin that runs between your butt crack and your scrotum is hand shaved….well played william wallace…well played

  8. Oh, great shot!! And I like the filter choice you made…does wonderful things with the light. I took photos of my hood in Koreatown, Toronto, but nothing as exciting as yours 🙂

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  10. Love the photo! Great work. The instagram app definitely created an almost historic look.

    • yeah! I didn’t think about that, but you’re absolutely right. The 60’s were such a time of protest (in America at least) that most of the protest pictures we see have that sort of “filtered looked” (except its just the actual film)

  11. Reblogged this on Pinkpodster Ponders and commented:
    Cool take on the Phoneography Challenge using Instagram. I like how it looks like a protest from “waay back in the day.”

  12. Hi Frank. Stumbled across your site. Like it very much. Following. Like your approach – check out mine. V.

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  15. I can’t believe this was taken with your iPhone. Things are sure active in S. Korea right now. Thanks for taking the time to blog.

  16. This reminds me of when I lived in Budapest a few years ago and there were several months of demonstrations and riots. I lived near the Parliament and a couple of times my road was also closed off!
    Your photo is great.

    • Thanks so much! I just always want to point out that at no point in time did I feel threatened or in danger, it was always very orderly and safe which Im sure isnt the case with all protests. Especially if they’re ongoing for several months

  17. Nice shot! I agree with Staver’s comment. Any camera is better than none! Would you stop by my blog? I’m not participating in this “Phonegraphy” challenge but I would love to hear your feedback on my photos!

  18. Awesome! I got an iPhone myself last July, and I really didn’t think it would become my most used camera. Intuitively, this makes sense – it’s always with me. Often, I find it more discreet, too, than my Nikon.

    Also, I find myself pleasantly surprised that the camera on my phone is actually quite good, and with a good photo editing app it can actually be pretty powerful indeed.

    Congrats on freshly pressed!

  19. Pingback: Freshly Pressed | Endless Frame Photography

  20. Great photo!

  21. Great shot to capture the moment!

  22. Hi, just came to your blog via freshly pressed. Have had an increasing appreciation of photography and have just bought a new camera. I am excited about all that I have to learn and future photography experiments. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. It really is interesting how phoneography has grown to be so popular. The funny part is that most people that take pictures on their phone never look at them again. I know this is the case for some of my phone pictures. I always mean to to move them, but I never seem to get around to doing it. however, every photo taken on my camera is looked at, and is used or deleted. I guess the fact that it was was taken on a phone makes it less appealable to the person and other people unless it is for Instagram or another photo sharing site/app.

    • Well probably two things: first traditionally phone pictures were (are?) not as good quality as say film or a DSL so people tend to discount them. Also, people who invest in a camera do so because they are serious about photography but EVERYONE has a phone. I agree with you that phone pictures tend to get overlooked or forgotten about.

      • I know! For example, some of my pictures were taken with a phone if I did not have a camera handy. Most of my phone pics turn out terrible, but some are actually fairly good.

  24. Reblogged this on varunalwaysvarun and commented:
    hii i am varun mahajan. i am such a loser n junk. always thinking .pessimistic n loser n coward

  25. I live in India..this kind of suituition is fun for us

    • Fun?! I maybe not be following the news as closely as I would like to, but I know enough to know that your country has been mired by protests recently. I know the girl who was raped eventually died, and that one of the accused was killed in prison recently as well. And many protests feel that your country’s new “rape laws” did even go far enough.

      I sure you know about these things much more than I do, I just can’t image such a grave situation being fun!

      • william wallace on said:

        endlessframe / The comment from “chithungkhashim” in describing seeing
        protests in INDIA as “fun” was not flippant as disrespectful in any way in
        regard to injustice in INDIA (such as the event you brought unto attention)
        the word “fun”was used as a means of light hearted humour / thus to ease
        common events of injustice taking place constantly in INDIA where pollice
        corruption is rampant / injustice is as common as rice / political corruption
        in matching police corruption / the poor having no rights no representation
        thus surviving people have found it best to take a light hearted view to life.

      • ah sorry man, I wasn’t offended its just tough to read sarcasm on the internet….my bad

  26. I often take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge, but the results of my phone photography didn’t seem worth posting. (They looked way too much like the photos that came from my 110 film camera in the 1970’s…)
    I can appreciate your situation in Korea. We lived in the Middle East during 9/11.

  27. It’s the moment that counts not the equipment that captures it-that’s my philosophy anyway

  28. Great shot and write up.

  29. Reblogged this on blogagaini and commented:
    When the Weekly Photo Challenge: My Neighborhood came out, I remember seeing this image. This photo, a moment frozen in one click. It’s just a photo, but it’s impact is strong. I grew up in 60’s, the era of rallies, protests, freedom and love. So this image brings back memories I wash out.
    Today, a week later after the start of this challenge, I revisit this photo. I just happen to see it on the “Freshly Pressed” page and clicked on it, not knowing or not remembering anything about it. Today, I don’t “wash out” this image from my mind. I stay with it and got past the emotion. Today, Frank and I have a victory. Congratulations Frank Cademartori.

    • Well Im glad I was able to help you re-visit your youth, and inspire you towards victory. I was really fortunate to be featured on Freshly Pressed, but I’m glad you found your way here on your own.

  30. A very artistic image this is. As Life in Motion, or shall I just say ‘Slice of Life’; the business and the inherent ‘fog’ will make this photograph a clear and inspiring reference for artists… I shall say, this image has ignited a part of me that wants to paint impressionist scenes..

  31. Its a great shot and I share your views on ‘phoneography’.
    But I cant help but think that filters/processing etc. is a passing. There are too many pics out there which completely change the mood and atmosphere of the scene being captured.

    • Thats true, and while for the most part I agree with you. The thing is that these filters and processing are meant to emulate development techniques that at one point or another were used with film. So, they’re not exactly new but with the advent of digital photograph it was sort of an art that was waning. While I don’t think they’ll be able to sustain anything NEAR their current popularity levels, I believe that at least on some level they’ll always be around.

  32. Chicken Fried Comics on said:

    Small world! I work in Cheonan, but live in Seoul.

  33. Hey buddy, congrats on being freshly pressed and kudos for the tag here : ) I know I’m a huge fan of shooting film but that just boils down to preference. In reality, I find that cameras are just tools. Lackluster and breathtaking photos can be taken on both top of the line digital gear as well as basic, toy or analog cameras. It’s not important what you shoot with, but what and how you’re shooting.

  34. I like your idea of the phoneography, for people on the go, and people can’t afford a overpriced camera.

    • Oh dear,

      Well flattered though I am I can’t take credit for neither the idea of nor the coining of the phrase “phoneography.”

      But you are interested in a cheap on the go option there are plenty cheap than an iPhone! Still I agree sometimes pricing can get way out of hand, and there are some models I could only ever dream of affording.

  35. thanks for the visit. nice images you have here.

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