Photo Friday with Mobile Photo Paris
Last week, the Paris Bastille Design Center’s photography exhibition was reserved exclusively for artists who could fit their gear into the palm of their hand. With the ever increasing allure of smaller, faster, and lighter technologies, it should not come as a surprise that some artists are trading in SLRs, multiple lenses, and flashes for a single tool. But it does.
At Mobile Photo Paris, eighteen photographers, amateurs and professionals, showcased their work in a new genre of art: cellphone photography. Some of the most notable pieces are Nadine Bénichou’s dizzying architectural perspectives and Loic Le Rumeur’s rainy day snapshots.
On the website, the Mobile Photo Paris statement reads:
"Cet événement est emblématique d’un mouvement qui bouleverse les dogmes techniques et artistiques. C’est une manière de redéfinir ce qu’est la photographie, dans le contexte du bouleversement numérique. [This event symbolizes a movement that challenges technical and artistic rules. It is a way to redefine photography in the context of the digital revolution.]" (Translation is my own.)
Many of the photographs are stunning, and for those that don’t use popular iPhone applications and filters, it wouldn’t even be possible to know that they were taken on a cellphone. Although the photographs are undoubtedly capable of evoking emotion, ideas, and acting as a vehicle for artistic expression like their film and digital predecessors, the medium creates contention.
As noted in The New York Times Photography Blog, the development has its critics. Many of them believe that photography loses something without a more conscientious focus, manual decisions, and an understanding of aperture, shutter, and exposure. It’s a reaction that may be comparable to film masters watching the ushering in of digital photography several years ago.
While technological advancement is inevitable and some of us may be inclined to write this off as people needing to ‘get with the times,’ it raises an interesting question. Is there a point at which technology and art can be so closely paired that something of the latter is lost or diminished? Or is this simply a question of sentimentality, not unlike how we may feel about a written letter in comparison to an email?
The Art & Science Journal would like to hear your thoughts!
Find the rest of the exhibition here.