New York Times photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Damon Winter used an iphone camera app to tell a story this year, “A Grunt’s Life.” And won some awards for the work. The website Gizmodo blasted Winter’s use of an application that automatically “slathers photos with moody effects” as simply “the death of photojournalism.” Winter defended his use of the app as simply an aesthetic decision, like the decision any photographer makes when deciding f-stop or lighting, or whether or not to remove color. Winter said that was one reason. Another reason for his use of the app was that he wanted to use his phone because it allowed him to get closer to the soldiers because it was less intimidating.
I get that.
Before I read about Damon Winter and his Hipstamatic award winning controversy making story I was driving in Portsmouth, Ohio wondering about using an iphone for a story I want to do. It’s a story that will require I go into a lot of dangerous places where people don’t like journalists and cameras. I was thinking that my experience has been that people are far less alarmed by my phone than my giant Canon cameras, so maybe I would try to begin the shooting with an iphone. Then I read the debate and thought, well, why not test it myself, see how authentic the story can feel.
So I downloaded the app and decided not only to give the phone some work but to also try the app.
Lets see where this leads.