Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Years from now my compatriots will still claim that the term truly originates from the Greek. Definitely the '-ography' part does. I guess, the Phone part as well. From the Greek noun φωνη, meaning 'human voice'. Only the "i" is less of a Greek, but I guess the Big Fat Wedding dad would have come up with a plausible explanation about this too. In fact, iPhoneography, like nostalgia, are not originally Greek, but they are compound names built upon parts of Greek provenance.

In any case, iPhoneography was invented in the US. It's the contemporary 'artistic' endeavor of shooting pictures with a cell-phone (preferably an iPhone) and posting them to some kind of online social club (FB, Flickr, Twitter, Instagram,...). You witness a scene of interest, you pull-out your cell-phone and shoot to capture the moment, enthused and directed by your inner feelings,  popping out from your 'creative' unconscious. And if your photographic work seems pretty cool, you might be even elevated to the ranks of the talented pioneers of the craft.

Such a gifted iPhoneographer is Sion Fullana, and I happen to 'follow' him on Instagram. He originates from Spain, but he currently resides with his friend in New York. The remaining of his profile you can read here.

Apparently Fullana is considered as one of the 'fathers' of iPhoneography. Judging by the level of his Instagram activity, it seems that he does quite a bit of walking in the streets of Manhattan, and shooting of unsuspecting passers-by with his iPhone 4.0. Most of his pictures are rather good, I have to give him that, albeit slightly déjà-vu. I mean, Cartier Bresson tried that sort of thing ages ago, right? Given his former artistic background, Fullana does a lot of the right stuff in terms of composition, although the square format he is forced into by Instagram renders his feat quite challenging.

Fullana posts monochrome shots most of the time to add more drama. Dark shadows with scarce detail or blown highlights seem to rule his world. I believe someone once noticed, if color does not add any worthwhile information to a composition, then go B/W! On the other hand, shooting pictures in mega-cities like Paris, London, New York, makes it 'easier' to stand out as a popular photographer, regardless of the equipment used. Two reasons: First, most people I know are in awe about life in the large metropoles, and second, you can easily find plenty of freaks to pick and shoot.

Fullana shoots a lot of couples, with the intent to explore relationships and penetrate a subject's thought process. He often focuses his iPhone on bitter loners too. I believe he's definitely interested in interpersonal relationships and feelings. He also goes in great lengths to comment his photographs and the subjects shown, mainly about what he thought or felt while shooting. Little ephemeral stories and speculations that he's been struggling to invent about what went thru his subjects's minds at the very moment he's been capturing them on his CCD.  I believe this thing is a bit of an overkill on his part. Had he been a pur-sang artistic photographer, he'd leave his pictures uncommented. That's what today's artists mostly do. Create an impression that triggers the viewer into thousands of thoughts. Like a Rochard test. And viewers, or art lovers adore doing exactly that. Interpret an artist's intentions hidden behind an artwork, and they often read stories and plots that most of the time are quite far from the true intentions of the artist, but it still feels like fun. I kid you not. I recently learned that from a close friend and field expert on subjects of art; I went thru some sort of epiphany, when I realized how true her thesis on the subject was indeed. It's so true that you can almost consider 'logical' gaps and 'unexplained' or 'irrational' space in works of art as the discriminant elements that separate them from the fakes or look-alikes. Can you believe that? I do now!

In yesterday's WWDC keynote Apple Senior VP Scott Forstall used the Flickr stats shown here to claim that the iPhone is becoming the most popular camera on the planet. Per the Flickr stats, at least. It is true that iPhone (especially its latest reincarnation, version 4.0) shoots very good photographs, with acceptable color balance, especially when the ambient light is of good quality. I had recently an iPhone 4.0 in some gardening venue as my only camera and shot flowers and gardens for about 3 hrs. The result was almost comparable to an average quality DSLR, and far better than many point-'n-shoots that I know. I've even printed a Blurb book with those pictures.

In other words, iPhoneography seems to be the new rage, and it's definitely here to stay. Your chance to artistic fame knocks at your door, folks. Stay alert to the opportunity.
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