There is a continuing blurring of lines between taking photographs with a mobile phone versus a stand-alone digital camera.
In an exhibition at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, what can be accomplished with a mobile phone as a camera is front and center when Mobile Works opens Friday.
“Technology has played a huge role in the way people approach taking pictures. It’s no longer about getting that one perfect shot, and all the prep work that goes into that. With digital cameras and a vast array of post-production software, any image can become that “one perfect shot,” said Amy Lust, curator of Mobile Works. Today a mobile phone “is essentially a camera, an editing device and computer all in one.”
For both casual and more accomplished photographers, the mobile phone may be overtaking the more traditional single-use camera as a means to make, take and share images, especially in unplanned or unexpected situations. Lust, who works with both traditional cameras and mobile phone cameras, noted, “I have my phone always with me; I can take pictures anytime.”
Lust said the Mobile Works exhibit “will show a viewer what cell phone photography looks like when approached with an artist’s mind. These photos go beyond a quick snapshot and display what the modern cell phone camera can do.”
“In curating the exhibit, I kept the subject matter broad but put the restriction on the photographer that the images had to be taken and edited with only their cell phone,” Lust said. “The process of completing a photograph with a traditional camera, or even a digital SLR, involves many different steps and locations. With a cell phone many of those steps are combined to take place right in your hand.”
The juror for the show is Keith Lane, a freelance photographer and multimedia producer based in Washington, D.C. He also is an adjunct professor of photography at American University in Cairo, Egypt. His work has appeared in multiple venues, including FotoWeekDC and Hillyer Arts Space in the District. He began his photography career in Southeast Asia.
The images displayed at the “Mobile Works” exhibit are meant to have a viewer do a double-take, suggested Lust — to see an “extraordinary photograph” and then to remember it was created with a cell phone. With a mobile phone serendipitous photography is alive.
Lust hopes people will be inspired by what is possible with a cell phone. And to think of their cell phones as a means to make artistry and go well beyond just a quick snapshot and a phone call or text.