After five years of intense street photography with different cameras I chose to shoot some time with my mobile phone. The reason for that is simple. First of all, I had not always been carrying a camera and also got bored using it. It seemed to me that my subject was repetitive and redundant. I didn’t see a lot of new things and thought about stopping street photography. After purchasing a new mobile phone, I signed up for Instagram again after years of inactivity there. The decision was clear. I wanted to shoot Instagram only for 50 days and built up a community there.
At the beginning you get confused by all the filters and frames you have available in the app and it takes a minute until you find your preferred filter leading to your own style. I’m only utilizing the INKWELL black and white filter. By the way, there are only 2 non-color filters in the current Instagram app. For me it was important to show the same kind of work in Instagram, but all shot with the mobile phone. I don’t like people showing photos taken by a real camera on this platform. So I left my camera at home and started walking with my phone, which is on me all the time.
There may be people thinking that you cannot do a good street photo with a mobile phone. I would even say that you even can build up a whole street photography portfolio based on mobile phone photography. Most of the kids today prefer Instagram and they don’t know anything else. It’s the “older” generation and the pixel peepers who still believe that a mobile phone photo is not good enough from a quality perspective. For me, the quality is not relevant as long as the content and the composition is right. A lot of people are still technically driven instead of content based.
The longer I shoot with the phone, the more I like it. There is somehow less pressure, but I don’t really know which pressure. I feel that you can shoot more easily and everybody thinks that you just take a snapshot. You could even apologise after you flashed someone in his face that you have chosen the wrong camera. You can pretend listening to music, texting, reading and still can take a lot of shots from your surroundings. Of course, there are also some disadvantages. Next to the quality there is also a shutter lag which is much worse than on any other camera. Nonetheless, as you get used to it, it will also slow down your photography.
As a conclusion, I can say that it is a very personal decision and it might change the way you see this world. It will also change your community. Maybe some people will stop following you. There may be new people joining. Nevertheless, in the end it’s your decision and you shoot only for yourself. I have decided to go this way and I like going it. So I don’t really care what other people think. I will do my thing and will see where is leads. I know that it’s just a phase of developing my personal photography. Sometimes minimalism is a bigger step forward than you think. Now take your mobile phone and go out to try it out.