Friday, December 17, 2010
The iPhone as a tool to tell a war story
Here's an interesting photojournalism discussion. A New York Times photographer in Afghanistan used his iPhone to make a series of photographs of soldiers as they trudge through their daily lives at war. Damon Winter believed that his iPhone could not only do the job, but do it in a much less intrusive way than if he'd used his typical D-SLR gear. The photographs are amazing and they offer a glimpse into life at war quite unlike most we've seen before. But there is some controversy around this body of work, and it's got to do with the iPhone app's propensity for post-processing wizardry (which is done automatically, much like a Photoshop filter you don't even have to click). The Times has very high standards in terms of non-manipulation of documentary images. Does this Hipstamatic iPhone app, which applies significant post-production special effects automatically, violate those strict standards? Some commenters believe so, and in my opinion they make a good point. When we start seeing style in front of substance, we may not be seeing the right things. It's an interesting debate, either way, and well worth a look.