iPhonoegraphy: images created and edited using an Apple iOS device, most often an iPhone.

A new genre of photography or ingenious marketing by Apple? ‘Mobile’ photography has been around a while, as most other mobile phones have photographic capabilities. What they don’t have is the app support of the iPhone that make this niche genre unique to iPhones. It seems that it is the apps that define it; the ability to take a shot, edit and upload it on the one device is what makes it great and unique, allowing each user to show their own creative spin, whether it is heavy editing or just a little crop and a colour change. It is wonderful to see how two images, by two different people can become completely different, so quickly and easily, without slogging away and (still) getting to grips with Photoshop’s mutli-dimensions.

As professional photographers with a huge investment in equipment and skill, it seems incredible that all this can be replaced by a small device and its owner. But, we don’t think that is so: not because we are sticking our head in the sand but because it is a brilliant new development that can be used to broaden photographers’ scope and skill base, as well as inform other work. It has a place where its unique qualities are important and can be exploited. Tim Hetherington’s final images recording the conflict in Libya were captured in this way. Used in conjunction with other digital, or non-digital, media it can create a rich tapestry of multi media with depth, texture and diversity that is unique. Equally, used to deliver ideas, roughs and concepts to clients, or as a visual diary or log, it has been a valuable asset to our arsenal of equipment.

Its unobtrusiveness has helped to develop traditional (!) digital photography, for example ‘street’ photography, where it has become even easier to capture images without the self-consciousness of the subject or photographer. For each benefit there is of course a corresponding negative. Many think this application is an invasion of privacy or a less welcome form of voyeurism, but we think it is important to embrace the positive – there’ll always be weirdoes out there. For me, the approximate 1 second delay between pressing the button and the image being recorded is irritating, and not actually capturing the moment, rather recording what the camera sees a second later. However, that delay factor could become an exciting feature of the images. For example if a person usually blinks when having their photo taken, then according to Ask Jeeves who states that a blink takes 50 milliseconds, the blink will be over by the time the image is captured.


A bit like an ‘ology’, iPhonography resonates with credibility and intrigue, and is often embedded in media courses at Further and Higher education. Like an ‘ology’, it is an important cultural indicator of what is happening, and how that changes our ways of seeing will unfold in time.

What is iPhoneography? Addictive – at the moment.