“The best camera is the one you have on you right now” – Chase Jarvis
The beauty with street photography is in its rawness and simplicity. You don’t need a $3,000 professional camera with a ton of lenses you don’t know how to use to achieve some great results, and sometimes, you don’t even need a basic DSLR. How so? Read the first sentence in this post again and think about this: Which camera do you always have with you?
Your mobile phone’s camera, of course! (well, if it has a camera that is) Granted, what it offers doesn’t come nearly as close to what a DSLR or more professional cameras can offer by ways of depth, settings control and technical proficiency, but what it lacks in that respect, it makes up for with its most basic functionality: it takes photographs.
Not to mention you never leave home without it, it’s easily accessible and discreet. People don’t tend to pay much attention to someone shooting with their phone (they might assume you’re a silly tourist) and you’re more likely to get a particular shot with your mobile that you wouldn’t be able to get with your DSLR. Like any camera though, you need to understand how to use it, even with all its limitations. Limitations can actually lead to some really creative results because rather than focussing your attention on adjusting your camera’s settings, you’re focusing on what’s beyond that: the subject, the shot, what’s IN the shot, what angle to shoot it at, etc. The results might actually be better than you expected.
Speaking of results, I was flattered this week when the BSP team voted for my photograph to represent this week’s “Mobile Photography” theme (thanks guys!):
This shot is a good example for how you might achieve a shot by phone that you probably couldn’t by DSLR. Within an instant I’d spotted this guy, pulled out my phone and gotten close enough to take my shot. Had I pulled out my DSLR, I’m positive he would have heard the shutter click and there goes my shot. Not to mention, risking the consequence of having woken him up this way.
I still don’t understand how he could look so comfortable sleeping on something that looks that uncomfortable – and this was in a public square bustling with people. This guy obviously lives on the edge! It was pure luck that I found such an interesting subject in such a calm “zen” moment and was able to get that close for the shot. Sometimes you just have to go for it, even if it means using your phone’s camera. What’s more important – the shot, the quality of the photograph or the regret of having missed a great shot? It’s your call.
Share your thoughts about this photograph – and remember: always keep your camera close, but if that’s not close enough, grab your phone!