the pearl


I’ve been shooting a lot with the iPhone lately, and have largely been posting results to my Instagram feed (I’m bigbuckaroo over there, if you’re interested). I’ve been treating these as different shots than the ones I upload here, but I need to remind myself that it’s a camera like any other. It has strengths and weaknesses, and I can get good work out of it.

I love the iPhone because of its camera. It lets me be quick and spontaneous, and it demands that I share. I don’t have to take photos back to my Mac, sort through them, think about processing, cropping, and other editing tasks: I can just shoot with one of the 10 or so apps that I’ve come to rely on, share, and be done with it. It brings back some of the spontaneity and creativity that I had when shooting with film, especially with Polaroid cameras.[1. My friend Terri turned me on to the work of Dan Marcolina, which I hadn’t heard about before. You can see a gallery of his iPhone shots on Flickr, and, if you’re intrigued further, check out the (very busy) site dedicated to his iPhone Obsessed book and app.]

This image is a case in point. One of the things that I loved with film cameras was the capability to create multiple exposures, and I’ve wished that I could create that effect inside a digital camera. I have that now on the iPhone, with an app called Slow Shutter Cam, and it reminds me of my Holga multiple-exposure experiments from a few years ago. I spent one summer shooting almost exclusively with a Holga, generating plenty of failures, some “interesting” results, and at least one image that I really love.

That whole time, it was a blast going to the processor to pick up my developed film and contact sheets; I never knew what I was going to get. Slow Shutter Cam is a lot like that. I have a slew of stuff that I’ve shot that gets deleted immediately, and I’m still not sure whether it’s an app with “legs,” but it’s tons of fun to play with.[2. If you’d like to see some great stuff shot with this app, check out this blog post by Julieanne Kost; she’s one of the most creative iPhoneographers out there, and wonderful photographer and teacher in general.]

Anyway, I love the painterly effect I got shooting a multiple exposure of this street in the Pearl district, early in the morning before most folks were heading to work.[3. A highly processed version of this photo was posted on Instagram, but I prefer this image.] I know it’s not an effect that will resonate with everyone, but I love it, and I think it will make a lovely print.

[where is this?]