Smart phone - smart art?

I have loved and lived with a series of film and digital cameras for more than thirty years. Whether doing a commissioned shoot or a personal project, holding my camera transports me to a mindful “present” that helps me see the world with a heightened intensity.

When I recall my photographic journey I started with a fabulous film SLR a Canon FTb and one 50m lens. As I moved into paid photography my equipment luggage grew to a size and weight I needed a personal porter to follow me around. SLRs, medium format SLRs, lots of lenses, flashes, filters, tripods, and then DSLRs and all the rest – I could not travel or go out without some pro gear at hand. Always having a camera at hand lead to getting some extraordinary images.

Then something happened. I got sick of carrying heavy backpacks. Being seen with the ubiquitous white Canon pro lenses flagged my presence like a brass band. While sometimes high tech digital gear is needed for technical reasons, for example, when photographing in available light in near darkness, the march of technology has given me alternatives. Those alternatives brought me closer to my subjects. Looking at my at my late father’s pics taken using simple film cameras in the 1940s, the message started to get through – do not be a hostage to complexity and equipment.

Composition, timing, lighting, movement, contrast, emotion, natural beauty, relationships, and fun – all of these can be found via the simplest camera.

That brings me to sitting on a train in suburban Sydney recently Two teenage girls about fourteen or fifteen were glued to their smartphones – texting and playing. One of the girls suddenly leapt towards one side of the train. Glued to the window she photographed the sunset and dark clouds through the jumble of the inner city. Her joy was evident – “wow”, “that’s so pretty”, and silence as she tried to get the best angle. Then, she bounced to the other side of the train where she photographed a different vista – bright blue sky, white clouds, and same inner city looking so different. She was in love with different views of the sky from the train. She could see the possibilities of these contrasting images.

I was so excited to see a young person energised by images and finding creative possibilities.

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