I love using the phone to take photos of my world. It’s convenient, quick and as I usually post to Instagram only in square format, it has some great limiting parameters which are good for my eye.

I’ve been stopped in the street by one or two people; Hasselblad slung over my shoulder whilst taking a picture with my phone. It’s an odd scene, I’ll grant you. The question usually goes like this:

“Why TF are you shooting with an iPhone when you have a Hasselblad?”

There are sometimes other suffixes to the question:

“….you f**king idiot.”

“…you don’t deserve that Hasselblad.”

etc etc

There are several answers I give, depending on how the question has been asked:

“Typically I am walking around with the 80mm lens on my Hasselblad H4D-40. So there’s one reason for you: the Hassie’s 80mm [50mm equivalent] compared to the phone’s 28mm.”

“The Hassie isn’t connected to the Internet.”

“I choose to use whatever camera I want, whenever I want to.”

“Piss off.”

I was off Instagram for a couple of years. It was a ‘throwing my toys out of the play-pen’ thing. I’ve been back for a year and I’m enjoying it.

Apart from Instagram, I’m using the iPhone every day to collect things I want to remember for another day:

  • good light
  • interesting locations
  • spots to shoot with models
  • location-scouting pics of stuff I need to put on a map for clients

The latter is helped greatly by a superb free app called ‘Koredoko‘, which puts your pics on a map and from which you can outboard everything to KML and Google Maps.

So, enjoy your photography, enjoy your city and don’t let people give you shit about using the phone not being ‘real photography’.

The pages from the magazine

Feature on mobile phone photography for InTokyo magazineHere’s the piece I wrote to go with the pics in the recent InTokyo magazine:

As photography has become increasingly popular, so has photo gear. With a daily bag that could contain anything from a digital Hasselblad, three Nikon DSLR bodies and ten lenses, I might be considered the last person to be saying ‘it’s not all about the gear’. But it isn’t. Sure, great gear on top of a great eye can make for an amazing mix. But it really depends what you want to shoot, how and when. There are many times I’m out with the Hasselblad and I’ll go to the iPhone for a shot. Typically I have either an 80mm, 210 or 300mm on the Hassie. If I see something I want to shoot and need 28mm, then it’s the phone I reach for.

I also use the phone for all my location-scouting trips as, combined with a free app called ‘Koredoko’, I can record all the locations of the photos and outboard them to a Google Map. Great for showing clients the spots we’ll be shooting in or where we’ll be parking the van for the models hair and makeup people. I also use the phone to remember great spots that I want to go back to and shoot with other gear. I use it to record the light at certain time in specific places. I use Instagram and I love to shoot in squares as it takes me back to shooting with my old twin-lens Rolleicord and film Hasselblads. The phone is great for learning composition, too: a small piece of the world on the screen, easy to see how it looks when cut out from the rest of the world around.

The main thing is that taking pictures should be fun. So, get out there and enjoy Tokyo with your camera, whether it be a phone or a Hasselblad. The big thing is learning to stop great moments, frame up chunks of the world and to enjoy seeing the world frozen for a split-second. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that shooting with a phone is not ‘real photography’. It’s never all about any one thing, especially not the gear.

A gallery of all the shots featured in the article [and a few others], all made with the iPhone and mainly processed in Instagram