Little Creek (no more retro styled cellphone images)

I just pulled the plug (2014 is the year of cleaning up, it seems), and removed the “Mobile Art” gallery from my photography page – it was dedicated to cellphone images, and that’s just not something that I want to showcase as a regular/separate body of my photographic work, anymore.

Cellphone photo of a creek at Mount Si, WA by Alexander S. Kunz
Little Creek — Mount Si, Washington. May 2013.

I have two problems with this type of photography:

  1. Data Quality. Cellphones simply don’t capture adequate amounts of data with their shitty and resolution-wise hopelessly overloaded tiny sensors. That data is then crudely processed (for noise and whatnot, because the stuff looks terrible at ISO400 already) and crammed into a limited and lossy JPEG file. For my type of photography, and the way how I process my images and what expectations I have, it’s just not adequate, 95% of the time.
  2. Filters. Do I actually need to say more? It seems that every mediocre cellphone photo evolves into a piece of retro-art by being pressed into a square crop and having some Hipstamatic/Instagram/Retrocam filter slapped onto it. That is actually so cheap, compared to developing one’s own images according to a personal vision and style. But if it’s named “Sutro” or “Retrolux”, it has none of that. It doesn’t matter if you have 5 filters, or 10, or 50 (and the ability to randomize your textures and scratches and light leaks whatnot): in the end, no matter what you photograph, as soon as you slap one of those filters on it, it’s going to look just like the million or so other photos that are using the same filter.* Why would you go for that uniform look? It’s ridiculous.

I’m not saying that it’s not possible to make great photos with cellphones. The image above is a cellphone photo, and it’s one of my personal favorites (I’m not saying it’s great – I just like it). And if you’re having fun with it, that’s perfectly fine. I just don’t see myself adding to that craze any longer, and be mislead and distracted by it. And the very few images that I still really like may just as well be part of my “normal” galleries.

*) and on top of that, the lack of attention that I can spend to detail (simply because that screen is so small) is bothering me all the time.

8 thoughts on “Little Creek (no more retro styled cellphone images)

  1. Is the method you use to create an image important to your viewer? Should it be? Are we to precious about how we create our images? Having said that, I have separated out my black and white film work and my work with churches. I think we have to do what we want to do at the time, it’s part of the ‘Art’ process?


    1. No Stephen, the method is absolutely not important. But I was grouping a set of images in a gallery by just that however – because this method also implied a certain style (the filters, see above). I chose the wrong criteria, and got distracted and carried away by that. That’s the difficulty with this “art process”… 🙂


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