While recently reading an edition of Australian Photography, one article posed the question "if we removed Photoshop from the world, how many good photos would we actually see".
Of course the intent here is to suggest that too many people rely on post processing, "fx" and manipulation and there would not be too many "good photographic eyes" in this world.
Personally I think that opinion is overly judgemental and possibly completely incorrect. Looking at things a little differently, would it be possible that the actual quality of photography might improve? Given the propensity of so many digital photographers to "over Photoshop" an image, is it not possible that without that reliance on manipulation we would see more pure, raw genuine shots relying more on the eye of the artist to create something unique and captivating purely from the strength of the image?
Who knows. However I have had a few conversations recently with fellow photographers in which we have discussed elite expensive camera equipment and the quality of image they can provide.
I have also, during these conversations, recounted the story of a young girl in the USA who won a major photographic prize using a $10.00 throwaway camera from Wal Mart. That got me to thinking of what could we potentially photograph around us, on a daily basis, using whatever we had on us at the time. Be it a mobile phone camera, a small compact or even a webcam.
I have taken a few shots recently with an iPhone 4, using only that phone and it's software to create the final picture. I will share a couple of them here.
This shot above was taken on my mobile as I was leaving Adelaide recently. I added a vignette effect and obviously turned it into black and white. Apart from that, as shot. Personally I like this shot a lot. It reminds me of a WW2 style documentary photograph of a bomber, and I have a real love of photos that provide a feel of nostalgia. I particularly like the engine being in the shot, it gives the shot a feeling of dimension and reality.
The colour version I also liked a lot, but the drama of the black and white just did it for me.
The Escalator. Taken in the arcade next door to The Hilton in Adelaide. The sight of a lone man surrounded by shining steel, light and structure interested me. Again, shot on the mobile with a frame and desaturation added via the phone's software.
The Adelaide Wine Centre. I like this shot, reminds me of the silver gelatin style photo. Added FX and frame in the phone's software.
So what's the verdict? Feel free to love, loathe or have complete indifference to the shots above, it's all about artistic opinion.
Personally, I think the production of a good photographic always has and always will emanate from the eye of the artist, sometimes in spite of all the expensive equipment available.
Just take photographs with whatever you have at your disposal, I want to see your art.