Are you an iPhoneographer?
Any lover of photography knows that better equipment doesn’t always make a better photographer. But what if the little devices we take for granted can actually do more for us as artists than that shiny $2,000 lens? What if there is a way for us to embrace our inner storytellers where DSLR’s fall short? When we’re walking down the street and find a photogenic moment, do we ever think for a second about the tiny camera that’s always by our side?
Zack DeClerk is a photojournalist living in Boston, MA where he currently works as a Multimedia Coordinator for Partners in Health, using visual media to document and combat social injustice and inequality. Street photography isn’t necessarily a hobby or pastime for Zack, it’s a compelling contribution to his skills as a visual storyteller that allows him to be spontaneous and remove himself from the checklist of shooting an assignment or editing a story.
Street photography is one of the most democratic forms of photography that can be practiced as a hobby or developed as a fine art. Beautiful photos can come from anyone of any skill level and there is no class or workshop that evolves your craft more so than simply doing. The raw authenticity of capturing real people, places, and moments can be intimate but also incredibly genuine and truthful. The next time you’re out and about, consider these helpful points and how you approach your own iphoneography…
1. IT’S NOT A DSLR!
Let your phone be a phone. It’s not a DSLR, don’t try and make it one. If you want something to be more prominent in your frame, GET CLOSER! and avoid that digital zoom. Use your flash wisely. It’s a terrible little flash with a very specific aesthetic so use it with purpose when applicable. If you want to reduce camera shake in your images, don’t touch the screen as your shutter. Press the volume buttons on the side so you can use both hands to steady your camera.
“I think as photography has become more and more accessible to non-photographers over time, it’s an interesting challenge to limit yourself with a phone. It pushes you to get creative without worrying about needing more gear.”
2. CHALLENGE YOURSELF!
Use your phone’s practicality to your advantage. Explore new places and meet new faces using just your phone! It may leave you with far less control than your DSLR but it’s good practice for you to work with less. The limitations can make you rethink the way you look at something on the street through angles, perspective, and framing. Photographing subjects with a smartphone makes you less noticeable in public verses a lumbering camera with an attached 24-70mm. Street photography is all about capturing moments in their most natural, undeterred state and nothing makes people more anxious than someone pointing a large lens in their face!
“Just because I don’t carry a professional camera around all the time, doesn’t mean I’m not always seeing the world from a photographer’s eye. I see potential frames everywhere I look. The phone gallery helps me show that side.”
3. FOLLOW YOUR INTERESTS!
To get more meaningful or interesting imagery, follow the things that intrigue you personally. Whether it’s visual or conceptual, nobody can teach that to you. Learn from other photographers but don’t try to be them. Your eye is unique so trust it! and don’t be obsessed with perfection. Understand the moment you’re trying to capture and let the composition and perspective come to you naturally.
“With street photography, I’m mostly concerned with things that strike me as interesting, sometimes it’s light or a simple composition, sometimes it’s the subject matter. I take the shot and move on with my day. It’s like my note pad.”
As a photographer, Zack captures his images in the moment anywhere, anytime, and even in the most mundane and common situations. Whether its passengers sleeping on the metro, the shadow of a pedestrian walking down the street, or the one man in the crowd making eye contact with your lens. There’s no secret to shooting with an iphone and there’s no need for you to buy a bunch of accessories that mimic professional lenses. Treat your phone like a phone and learn from your experiences.
“I can only be so far removed from the things that interest me. When I find myself in a given environment, I see that environment through the lens of my experiences, beliefs, prejudices, emotions. I don’t do this consciously. These are just things that I carry with me; my take on what “good light” is, my interest in social issues and social justice, or just some quirky situation or juxtaposition. I think anything that goes through my mind while making street photography would have gone through my mind regardless. I just chose to make a photo with that.”
You can follow more of Zack’s documentary and personal work here!