Opinion

SHOCKING News About The iPhone! by James Shanks

A client just sent me a photo that was taken with their iPhone 5s, they want some "help" to make the image OK to print. Basically, the image, on a technical level, is crap. It was taken handheld in low light and has a lot of noise, is blurry and underexposed. I'll do what I can but it reminds me of a huge secret that people don't seem to be aware of and are shocked when I tell them. Many refuse to accept this fact and argue with me but the truth is: iPHONES ARE NOT CAMERAS! It's true that they have cameras (plural - one in front and one in back) but that's not what they are. They are not phones either, although I wish they were. There is an old expression, "Jack of all trades and master of none." This very aptly describes the iPhone (or any "smart" phone.) They can do all kinds of amazing things but people seem to think that the camera is as good or better than any other camera - stupid me, why am I hauling around all this gear all the time?! How can the camera on this phone which is like 1/4" thick and 1/8" wide take photos as good as a "real" camera that is several times bigger than the entire iPhone itself? Well, it can't. My wife and I have a lot of friends and family with children and all I ever see them do is take snapshots with their iPhones or iPads and these images (which are almost never printed or downloaded by the way) are the only record they have of the kids growing up. It's sad. Ten years from now most of them will be scratching their heads wondering why they have no pictures of little Johnnie at age 3. People would be better off with an old 35mm film camera that would have pictures of a whole years worth of holidays on a single roll of film that ended up in a shoe box under the bed, really! So what is my point besides acting like a cranky old grandpa telling all you kids to get off my photo-lawn? Well, I'm just hoping that people will understand that if an event is important enough to record that maybe you should at least consider doing it properly AND that you don't need to be taking pictures and video all the damn time. Last few times I was in MoMA I was sickened by all the people experiencing the entire museum via the little screen on their phone. Put the phone away, open your eyes and try actually looking once and a while.

Take Pictures For Me Or I will Sue You? by James Shanks

I just read about this disturbing ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court that said a photographer that refused to take pictures at a same-sex ceremony had violated the couple's rights and that they could not refuse the work and had to pay the couple's legal fees (even though they hired someone else to photograph the wedding. Duh, why on earth would you want to hire a person that is opposed to the very event taking place?!) I find this disturbing on two levels - one, that there are so many people opposed to same sex marriage (but that we knew) and two, that this photographer could have lost this case meaning that they were legally obligated to take the pictures even if they didn't want to!

I am all for same sex rights. I think it's a no-brainer. As the ad I once saw said, "If you are opposed to gay marriage then don't get gay married." If you are opposed to it for religious reasons then fine, but you can't impose those reasons on other people that don't share your beliefs (not in the United States at least.) Now the reason why I don't think these sentiments are applicable in this case is that you are asking a person to actively participate in your ceremony against their will. If this photographer had a storefront and accepted walk-ins for portraits and then refused you would have a case and I would be all for it (similar to how the ridiculous bill that Arizona passed is an embarrassment to this country and all it stands for) but that is not the situation here.

As a photographer, don't I have a right to not take work from organizations that I am opposed to or from people that I find abhorrent? If a white supremacist group contacted me wanting me to do work for them I can tell you right now I would not do so (an unlikely scenario to be sure but just to make a point.) So, according to this ruling, could that group then sue me?! I can see the westboro babtist church getting dollar signs in their eyes now at all the people they can sue who refuse to do business with them. I shudder at the precedent...