Jan 8, 2013

Why Mobile Photography?

On a forum over at AMPT Community, I was asked why I choose to shoot with my iPhone rather than a SLR camera.  The answer for me is simple – it’s compact, it goes with me everywhere and I like the rather imperfect nature of a photograph captured with my iPhone.  I also like the fact that I can be discreet and therefore catch a glimpse of a person before they go into their “posing” mode.

©Geri Centonze

…a little grainy, slightly out of focus – these are the things I love about my iPhone photos! (above)

Over at The App Whisperer Dilshad Corleone (@italianbrother) penned an article on his photographic journey and one particular comment on the article caught my eye.  It was posted by my Instagram “brother” Ian Garrington.  I thought that the comment along with a few of his latest images were worth sharing (I also added them to the feature I already posted on Ian). 

Ian says of his own photographic journey:

“My love of photography started back in the mid 90′s when treading the backpacker trail through Africa and Asia. The brand new camera I’d saved for and took with me, perished within the first week during a storm sailing to Zanzibar on a dhow. As with you I then resorted to cheap plastic cameras and disposables for the rest of my year long journey, but just could not stop snapping away at the amazing sights, scenes and people along the way. The results and quality were mixed and mainly still sit in an old box in the garage, but what was for sure was that I had become addicted to capturing images of street life and people.

Late 90′s I ended up in San Francisco where I purchased my first SLR and signed up for a correspondence course with New York Institute of Photography. It was enlightening but I started losing interest when it became more focused on the technicalities of studio lighting and the business of photography. I just wanted to be out on the streets snapping away which I continued to do. SF is an amazing place for capturing weird and wonderful characters who don’t mind having a big SLR pointed in their direction.

Kids then appeared and my time available for wandering the backstreets of the tenderloin and Mission became limited and my photo focus was directed towards cute pics of the little ones. I’ve got 1000′s of pics of them which I love but my photo bug slowly started fading away until 6 months ago when a friend showed me this new iPhone app called Instagram where people post their mobile phone pics. I was highly skeptical even though I’d owned an iPhone for a while, I’d never even considered using the piddly little ‘novelty’ camera that was built in for people who didn’t have or know how to use a ‘proper’ camera. How misguided I was!

What I’ve come to realize is that mobile photography is the enabler for me to capture the type of images I’ve always wanted to and typically been unable to due to the nature of a traditional SLR camera where anonymity is not straight forward if your looking for candid street shots. It allows me to focus on what’s really important which is the image and capturing the moment, rather than the quality of the camera and lens.

I’m now a born-again photography enthusiast thanks to my little phone and the inspiration of mobile artists such as yourself who validate this art form and show the possibilities.”

© Ian Garrington

“...just remember, darling, it is pain that changes our lives.” ― Steve Martin, Shop girl (above)

© Ian Garrington

Queen of all she surveys (above)

© Ian Garrington

"I dressed and went for a walk - determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer." - Raymond Carver (above)

© Ian Garrington

"Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon." ~ Woody Allen. (above)


  1. Wow! Thanks Geri. I didn't expect my ramblings to Dilshad to end up featured on your blog! Thanks though and so glad it resonated with you.

  2. I love that photography can take each of us on a personal journey, Geri. You do such a great job processing your iPhone photos. Dilshad's journey has clearly taken him in a wonderful captivating adventure resulting in fabulous images. ;->

  3. I do like the spontenaneoust nature of your photos and that top one is a killer. Love, love. xox

  4. My goodness, Geri, I just "landed" here, and after some looking around, realized that it was yours. What an amazing site you have built here. Definitely adding this to my read list, and so glad to have found you here!

  5. Great reading your photography story Ian!


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