Thursday, April 24, 2014


As i continue the exploration of my new "space phone" as a viable tool for expression i have also maintained a respectful distance from the hype of instagram, its social implications and flurry of filtrations. It is not that i am opposed to instagram in theory or even the use of filters per se, but i think i need to see if this phone camera is fully capable of straight picture making first before i venture into the fray…then again, i might never jump on the insta-wagon. So far i can say that i am enjoying the "camera at hand" concept even if i am not always satisfied with the results. It does push me to make more images, good or bad. Sometimes the camera surprises me with the quality of its output. Other times i just can't convince its automatic functions to do what i am thinking or seeing. But isn't that often the case? Still, it is the camera at hand. I just wish the damn thing would stop ringing when i'm trying to make pictures? ;-)   

 Collapse of Western Civilization ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

Though i am committed to the straight photo for the time being that doesn't mean that i am always looking at straight subjects. You've probably figured out this is shot through the glass block windows of my basement. I've always loved spacial distortion they cause. 

Shadow-Selfie ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

OK, so maybe not completely straight photography…I suppose one might consider B&W conversation as a kind of filter. Both the camera in the phone as well as instagram offer B&W filters, but there is certainly an advantage to doing it in photoshop where you can control the percent levels in each of the color channels and subtly effect the tonal range of the final image as well as endlessly adjustment the tint. 
I've been doing a lot of these shadow-selflies of late, which kind of feel like a throw back to earlier days in my photography. Maybe it's because i am working with a new camera format here that i feel drawn back to make these primal, neophyte images.  

Easter Sunday Avenue ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

If you have seen much of my work you know that i often like to work in a polyptych format. Nothing about the functions of the iPhone camera is going to change that. The camera recorded nice saturated color on my later afternoon walk on Easter Sunday. Certainly this is one of those times when i ordinarily would not have had a camera and saw something i wanted to capture. 

Cellar Door ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

I toyed with this in both color and B& W and this won. Since i shot this at home i could easily have gone inside for the DSLR, but instead took the lazy option. And i suppose that is a question which nags me about all this. Is this really the lazy option? If i shot this with my big camera would it be better? Would it be different? Will i find myself re-shooting these ideas later on a larger format? 

Picit & Friend ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

I have to say that the image quality even under less than ideal lighting conditions is better than one might expect with a tiny lens and sensor. Remember that megapixel count alone does not guarantee good resolution and the size of the iPhone sensor is not nearly as large as a full-frame DSLR. I'm not making large prints here, but it certainly doesn't look too bad on the web.

Daffodils for the Dead ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

Part of the trick with getting the sharpest results with this particle camera is shooting the right subject in the right light. While the camera may handle questionable light well, it excels in particularly good light. The late afternoon sun on these daffodils in Spring Grove Cemetery was just right for bringing out the optimum sharpness and color the camera can provide. Though i'm sure i will still be packing my D4 for my next trip to Nova Scotia. 

The Baron's Razors ~ ©David Sorcher 2014

When i think about it, this close-up still life of antique straight razors might actually be best approached with a large format camera. That certainly would have been the accepted fashion of thinking amongst photographers back in the day when it was all film and wet work and one of our most important practical choices was negative size. A 4x5 approach would have also offered me the options of swings and tilts to control prospect and depth of field as well as a much finer resolution in the resulting negative. Large format was the preferred choice of the still life photographer. One might argue that the quality gap between making an an iPhone photo instead of a DSLR image is similar to that of 35mm vs. 4x5. Frankly, i'm pretty sure that a 4x5 negative in this case would be far superior to the DSLR in terms of quality and control. But of course, i don't own a 4x5, so i defaulted to the camera at hand. Not too shoddy after all, i think. :-)   

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