Read the following short articles that deal with citizen journalism, combat photography and smartphone images.
- Damon Winter talking about his series A Grunt’s Life on Poynter.org: http://www.poynter.org/2011/damon-winter-explains-process-philosophy-behind-award-winning-hipstamatic-photos/119117/ (Links to an external site.)
- Stephen Bull ‘Digital Photography never looked so Analogue’ in Photoworks (Spring/Summer 2012) Available at: http://frameandreference.com/digital-photography-never-looked-so-analogue-retro-camera-apps-nostalgia-and-the-hauntological-photograph/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Write a short response to these articles in the forum below (max 250 words). Identify one or two questions or challenges that citizen journalism and its related aesthetics raise, and critically articulate your own conclusions.
There’s no issue with using an app to edit a photograph that is already taken or using a smartphone to take photographs. I swapped from a DSLR (2012) to a compact camera (2017), and yet it hasn’t changed my practice dramatically and it’s just as good spec wise. If a photographer captured the decisive moment on a toy camera it would still be a better photograph than a random snapshot on a £4k DSLR. The issue is with the thought of traditional photography to many photographers, using ‘proper’ camera gear. The smartphone, including its name of phone, isn’t going to beat a good DSLR but finds itself as a suitable backup/main with todays technology for many e.g. Julian Calverley’s Iphone Only series.
As for the app Hipstamatic, I agree with Winter’s defence of using it, no content has been altered, nothing hidden or added from the situation. Ultimately the phone app can’t replace a photographer in it’s entirety, that would be when real AI and robots come around! The effects added to a photo are determined by the photographer, they have the choice to remove, add or leave the photo alone (I believe). Using editing software is just a modern version of the darkroom to an extent, look at Ansel Adams, there’s nothing ethically wrong with enhancing a photograph to improve it in my eyes (unedited left, edited right). Replacing parts of a photograph is a very different matter but that’s another discussion!
Reading the articles I believe the photographs are simply seen in the wrong context, being an issue with citizen journalism but the main focal point is now on apps and the smartphone instead of the photo itself. Looking past that and regaining focus on the intended context itself could be a solution.