This feature on the BBC website about a news photographer who was forced to shoot reportage pictures from the London riots with his mobile phone (to avoid getting lynched) got me thinking about the changing nature of the camera.
My wife takes some amazing pictures, sometimes with a digital SLR and at other times with her iPhone. We have lots of cameras in the house, from a medium format AgiFlex, that dates from the early 1950s to the achingly high tech Nikon D200 that I use for most of my pictures.
All these cameras are different to use, with advantages and drawbacks. The analogue film cameras don’t get much use, but that’s more financial than aesthetic. Probably the best pictures I’ve ever taken were with my enormous Nikon F5 and a manual focus 55mm prime lens. I’d use it much more if it didn’t cost so much to develop the pictures
And yet the medium continues to matter, to some. Tacita Dean’s call to arms at the Tate, a pean to the fading age of 35mm movie film and even my experiments with ‘new’ polaroid style film show that analogue photography continues to be part of the photographic conversation.
Yet, for most people these days camera is synonymous with phone. Maybe this debate about the format doesn’t matter so much as the fact that people continue to be passionate about photography - both the process and the pictures.