Out and About: Austin on an iPhone
Back in March, The New York Times Lens blog featured iPhone photos by Todd Heisler, the excellent photojournalist behind the Times’ 1 in 8 million multimedia series. The post surfaced an interesting question – how much does the camera matter?
Todd had just landed in Russia after an intense post-earthquake stint in Haiti, and the last thing he wanted to do was carry his gear. But he still saw moments worth capturing, so he used ShakeItPhoto, a Polaroid app complete with shaking motion.
To my surprise, many commenters tore into the post, telling Todd his photos would be better with his real camera. That’s true, of course – he has a Pulitzer to prove it.
But it kind of missed the point. For Todd, as for me on this week’s short trip to Austin, using an iPhone shook up routines and encouraged a more spontaneous approach. “The less I worked a situation, the more unconscious the photos became, and ultimately, better,” Todd said in the post.
Food photography can feel like an exercise in OCD, manipulating minutia to create a “perfect” shot. On the iPhone, it’s just point, click, shake – an easygoing approach for an easygoing town.
Could the shots have been better with my real camera? Possibly. But making photos on the fly freed me to enjoy Austin’s awesome food and shimmering light in a new way. It sparked photos I never normally would have taken and, most of all, was a great deal of fun.