Are Phone-cameras only good for casual photography?

Last week, on two separate occasions, I, irritatingly, watched two videos, both from respected, well-known photographers, tell their respective tribes and fans, that phone cameras were good for “causal” photography but not for “serious” photography.

They both believed, at some level, that phone cameras were good but not good enough for “serious” photography or “serious” photographers. Arghhh. Sigh.

Are you fucking kidding me?

What hole did these two shooters just crawl out of?

This might have been a discussion from a decade ago, but not for the present age. Stop it.

Are phone-camera pictures only good for disposable, throw-away, social-media snapshots, while big-camera pictures are better and more suited and suitable for more lasting photography?

Again, sorry, fuck no!

Phone-camera photos, when done well, especially those done really well, just like big-camera photos, can be used for both “casual” and “serious” photography.

The truth of the matter is, that most exceptional, even astounding, photography, has so much more to do with the eyes of a photographer than the technology of a device. Please.

You can take below-average photos on above-average hardware. Or above-average photos on below-average hardware.

The choice is in the heart and eye, not the hand and fingers.

I wish we would stop making these misguided and naive comparisons between “casual” and “serious”.

Stop. Right. Now.

Casual or serious photography, in a narrowly defined sense, doesn’t really have anything to do with the device a photographer is using, but their approach, attitudes, and advances in the way they go about taking and making pictures.

Sometimes photography, very often in my own case, is “casual”-impromptu, offhand, carefree, hit-or-miss, flippant, done without artistic or journalistic intent. I can do this with a phone camera or a dedicated camera.

Other times, again, in my own case, photography is “serious”-intentional, planned, deliberate, thoughtful, earnest. Again, I can do this with a phone camera or a big camera.

But again, I ask you, what does being “casual” or “serious” have to do with the hardware I’m using? Nothing at all!

I can be “casual” with a big camera and “serious” with a phone camera. Or, conversely, I can be “serious” with a big camera and “casual” with a phone camera. Or I can be “casual” or “serious” with both types of cameras.

To even remotely suggest that phone cameras are not capable of “serious” photography is plain foolishness, rashness, even madness.

In my own observations about this topic, I find the critics who make these false comparisons are, more often than not, the least qualified and least experienced to make exaggerated and misinformed claims like this. Stop, please.

Let’s go back for a quick minute on how photos, from any camera, from any camera manufacturer, in any part of the world, are being used today-the social web and printing under 16×20. Period.

Are phone-camera photos “serious” enough for these? Of course they are? Duh.

The proof is in the photos themselves.



Jack Hollingsworth