Mobile Photography

By Alex Markovich.

March 2017.

It is so obvious that our smartphones have become, first and foremost, instruments for taking pictures and surfing the net, rather than tools for making calls. As a photographer who has been playing with the camera since kindergarten, I can say that I have switched from DSLR camera photography to mobile photography. If it’s a professional photo shoot I give the advantage to a decent DSLR camera, but as for daily walks, trips, concerts, reportage photography or even theater performances I use my camera phone.

There are several reasons for that.

First, the camera phone is always with you. It helps you to capture the moment you enjoy. (I also carry a portable charger with me).

Second, the camera phone is compact and small. Quality of the camera of modern smartphones is more than enough to take a decent photo of sunlight on the surface, a leaf in the snow or even do a quick mobile photo shoot.

Third, you can immediately share your photos via your social networks.

Fourth, there are dozens of decent mobile applications which you can use to process your images. I personally like vintage and monochrome filters. After taking a photo you can immediately process it and upload it to Instagram or to your favorite social network.

I used to utilize various DSLR cameras as well as camera phones. For the past three years or so I had taken thousands of pictures with NOKIA LUMIA 1020 and SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 ZOOM. With the latest one (I bought it in August 2014) I have been taking videos of various concerts or theater performances to which I am invited.

Below is the picture taken in May 2013. In the picture is a good friend of mine – Tatiana, she is a professional artist.

That was a regular walk which led us to this beautiful meadow. Tatiana took dozens of images of this beautiful spot. I did too.

Here is an abstract from the interview I gave in December 2015 to the Indian journalist Dimple Meera Jom who is pursuing post graduation in Great Britain.

Dimple Meera Jom: Nowadays, anyone with a mobile phone can capture everything around them. Possession of a smartphone makes one a passionate photographer, the art of photography is diminishing. What is your opinion about this comment!

Alex Markovich: I always viewed art as something auxiliary rather than independent. The purpose of the artists who painted portraits of kings and queens was to “capture” them. Nowadays every schoolgirl can take dozens of selfies. The purpose is the same. Of course, one might say that the paintings of the royal families are masterpieces. Maybe. For me, they are just boring pictures with sour faces. But some techniques are great.

Let’s switch to smartphones. I love the saying that “the best camera is the one you have with you at the moment”. If you want to market yourself, it depends on what pictures you take with your smartphone. If you do a travel blog, the quality of your smartphone is more than enough. I’ve got two camera phones: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and Nokia Lumia 1020. Both have immediate Internet access. But if you want your photos to be printed on canvas or in top magazines, you should have a decent DSLR camera.

Photography for me personally is capturing the moment I enjoyed. That’s it. The only exception is when I do serious reportage photography. Smartphones helped me many times.

One more thing. It depends on what you take pictures of. Everyone can take a photo of an icicle but not so many flew on hot-air balloons, helicopters, and the like; so the one who had a chance to fly in a hot air balloon can boast with his/her unique photos. And if he did that in every season he has a cool portfolio.

A photo of an icicle taken with Hasselblad camera can be very cool, but dozens of photos from the bird’s eye view taken with a camera phone will attract thousands of people. So the point is not about the camera but more important, the places where a photographer has access to.

The Lost Adventures

When new technologies were slowly coming into our lives, we were gradually losing our daily adventures. Here is an example.

In March of 1992 the German group “U96” released their first album “Das Boot”, which became very popular in Russia. My classmate had a cassette with this album – so almost every boy from our class wanted to have his own copy. I had to wait for a few days to get the tape and copy it for myself on my dual cassette recorder.

I remember it very clearly how my classmate and I were laying on the floor (at the classmate’s apartment) and listening to “U96”.

In 1996 (it was one year after I finished school) I bought a stereo system “AIWA 999” – you can search the Internet to see the pictures and videos of it.

I was buying cassettes and compact discs, including all the albums of “U96”: “Das Boot”, “Replugged”, “Club Bizarre”, and “Heaven”. I had a decent collection of Eurodance and Techno music.

A few years later I bought my first PC on which I could play CD’s, mp3’s and watch movies in mpeg-4 format. All the stuff I enjoyed, I could easily burn onto a CD or DVD. But I still had to go to my friends to borrow a DVD with a new movie.

But one day I realized that there was no more need to visit my friends with the purpose of lending DVD’s. Just to have a cup of tea (or vodka) and to chat.

Today I can get immediately all the stuff I want. And there is no need to download it – I can listen and watch it online. And not only on my laptop, but on my smartphone, even in the forest.

I really miss those days when we could meet and watch together on a video cassette recorder (and later on DVD) “Home Alone”, “Baby’s Day Out”, “Problem Child”, “Weekend at Bernie’s”, “Dennis The Menace”, and so on.

It takes you 15-30 seconds to type the name of your favorite band and start listening to it online. But you will never be able to bring back the feelings and impressions you had, when you were listening (with your classmate) on an old Soviet tape recorder to “U96”.

Alex Markovich.