Looking back, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, in fact those closest to me say they saw it coming... Almost accidentally I've fallen in love with my iPhone camera and this has led to a difficult breakup with my expensive, bulky, DSLR equipment.
What started as a fanciful fling advanced to an obsessive need to increase the device's involvement in my life; resulting in shunning the gear that had faithfully partnered me for many years. The ultimate split happened recently when I took my new shiny, lightweight iPhone 6Plus on a trip to Florida and left my DSLR equipment to spend the next two weeks home alone. "It will never last" some have said, others add that I'll "come to my senses soon enough", hurtfully some even express the view that my DSLR will be better off as it was too good for me anyway!
The maxim that "The best camera is the one that's available' maybe over-used but is nonetheless true. I've always believed that it's the photographer that takes the picture, not the equipment. This works the same in many other walks of life; the most expensive golf equipment will not make you the best golfer, the flashiest guitar will not guarantee you Rock-God status, the latest and greatest football boots do not make the next Messi or Ronaldo.
Now don't get me wrong, there is always a need to have the right tool for the job and for the professional or serious photographer having the best equipment to adequately capture huge amounts of image data to fill billboards, or capturing fast-moving sports action or wildlife at great distances requires specialist kit. On the other hand it doesn't matter one jot if the largest, sharpest, most detailed, noise-free image doesn't capture and hold the viewer's attention.
Smart phone cameras have evolved into serious image capture devices and the opportunities for creative postproduction through inexpensive apps is constantly increasing. For me, the iPhone has changed the way I approach photography. It is very liberating to lose the bulky DSLR equipment and challenge myself to create images without long zoom lens and the insurance of a RAW format. Combined with the portability of a digital darkroom that can now sit on my mobile device, I can create, edit and share from within the very scene I am portraying.
In January 2013 I decided to embark on a 365 photo project. In addition to the challenge of taking a shot per day, I decided use my iPhone 4S to create the images, that way I'd have no excuse as the device was always in my pocket. In all honesty I expected that my enthusiasm and commitment, like most New Year resolutions, would fade within the first few weeks. How wrong could I have been?
The ease of taking impromptu pictures whilst going about my everyday business proved both energising and addictive. Spontaneous creative editing through various apps was entirely inspiring. I completed the yearlong challenge without missing a single day; my opinion of mobile photography had been formed, I was hooked.
Images from the project won competitions, sold and were exhibited. My image "Daylight Through The Backstreets" (shown below) was chosen for inclusion in a book of alternative Manchester photographs. Brewery JW Lees teamed up with North West photographer Kevin Cummins to find photographs that illustrated alternative Manchester in 2013. The final selection appeared in a book distributed by JW Lees.
Significant improvements have been made to the iPhone's camera in recent years, these advancements have not gone unnoticed by the photography community. I'm not the first to favour a mobile camera above higher-end equipment and I certainly wont be the last. I now use Apple's latest iPhone 6Plus, this has replaced my 4S and the improvements are quickly noticeable. Better noise control in low-light images is evident, optical image stabilisation is a big bonus, the faster AF is vasty improved and the large sized screen is great for making editing decisions. On top of these improvements the latest iOS delivers amazing quality time-lapse and slow-motion videos. I am experimenting with various apps for both image capture and editing in addition to hardware add-ons.