Thursday, June 18, 2009

Everybody has a camera...

Reading the NY Times Photojournalism blog "Lens," I came across an interview with Iranian Photojournalist Newsha Tavakolian, who has been covering Iran since 2001.
[link to the interview and her photos]
One answer particularly intrigued me. She says:

"Also what really surprises me: everybody is taking pictures these days with their cellphones and amateur cameras. This is good because it means that people have grown accustomed to having their pictures taken, which makes my work easier. Cameras play such a normal role in peoples’ lives here now that they are just user products — like a fridge or a stove."

Here, I agree and disagree. Cameras have definitely become a huge part of everyday life and I think people ARE used to having their pictures taken... until the professional body and glass comes out, at which point a lot of people freak out. Much like the constant battle waged by private security officers at certain train stations, if you own "professional" photo gear, you instantly become a threat, where as if you're mucking around with a Point and Shoot, your pictures couldn't possibly be good enough to be a problem.

I think it would be very interesting to cover an event using what is now considered to be archaic technology. Perhaps a P&S or even a camera phone. When the Nikon D1 came out, it had a whopping 2.74 megapixel CCD sensor, and pictures from that camera ran front page on newspapers. I see no reason why any P&S camera can't do the same thing (except for sports and low-light stuff, where you really do need a fast camera).

If I don't do it over the summer, when I get back to school and my beloved Lumberjack Newspaper, I'll cover something with my camera phone and see what happens. I bet I'll get better pictures and people will be way less awkward if I'm shooting with my phone just like everyone else.