The members here on 1x don't do snapshots. Their images are, usually I would say, carefully considered, appraised and created over time rather than simply quickly snapped images. Even the term itself, “snapshot”, is generally held to be a derogatory one. But is that unfair?
When you stop to think about it, the snapshot in essence, is fundamentally what photography is all about.
'Homeless' by Peter Davidson
'Old Guard' by Peter Davidson
Capturing that moment in time. Would you label Robert Capa or HCB a snap shooter for instance? Or any photographer covering an event where they have to capture the moment in a split second without much time for thought or preparation? Taking a snap shot in other words. The trick, I guess, is all about anticipation and observation and being prepared for that 'decisive moment' that transforms a snapshot into something of enduring worth. However, 'enduring worth' often also comes with the passage of time. Mundane images, can in due time, become just as valuable as any decisive moment.
With the camera phone revolution, everyone is a snap-shooter today. The best camera is the one you have with you and the humble camera in your phone is now probably that camera. And the images they take are becoming increasingly acceptable as regards quality. Certainly if all you do is view them on a phone. Which is probably what 90% of people do.
'Mobile phones and loneliness' by The Jar – Geir Jartveit
So, taking all of this on board, I decided that I would ditch my main camera and use only a phone camera to snap some shots of the recent celebrations that were held in the UK to celebrate the Queens reign. In true snapshot style, I would simply wander around and snap whatever came along and see what resulted.
Well, the first thing I noticed was the freedom. I was no longer concerned with technical problems, or in choosing the right lens, or the problems that come from carrying a bulky or expensive camera. No, all I had to do was observe and snap away. And I wasn't alone.
Everyone was doing the same thing. In fact, during the whole time, I only saw three other people using a 'real' camera. One was an official female photographer jumping about being very professional with a big zoom, and the other two were rather elderly gentlemen with heavy DSLR cameras drooping limply around their necks and otherwise not doing anything much at all. The demographical change in photography use was there to see. Big cameras suddenly looked very anachronistic indeed.
The other lasting impression to me was that people were relaxed with phone cameras in a way they are not with big and intimidating cameras. (or perhaps that suspicion is linked with the popular idea of the people who use them?) Either way, I enjoyed the ease and freedom and lack of 'push back' or suspicion, from all the people I snapped.
Did I capture anything of enduring worth? Nope. Not even close. You certainly won't be seeing them published here in 1x. But maybe in time they could be valued as historical, who knows? What was captured, in a very small and humble way, is simply the story of those days in images from my perspective. Snapshots of a time and place. Which as I mentioned at the beginning of this tale, is perhaps the fundamental essence of photography. So yes, I'm quite happy for these images to be called snapshots, because that's what they are.
Let me know your thoughts. Apart from the two images at the beginning of this article, all the images are intentionally straight out of camera with no manipulations. The phone did all the work... Happy snapping!
Your thoughts are so true Peter, I personally take more interesting i and memorable images with my iPhone, a "visual journal" of sorts than ever with all that expensive gear and long lenses I have amassed for wildlife and surfing photography. It is quite freeing as you say to put all that aside and just take in what's around you. I enjoyed reading your views on this very much. Nice experiment as well to capture these colourful, in the moment shots of London, I very much enjoyed seeing the festivities through your eyes. Kim
Many thanks Kim, glad you liked it!
Al Pakulat PRO
Nice shots. The first three a great. Snapshots rely on photo content, realism and not tech quality, hence they would not pass 1x scrutiny., which is too bad. Sometimes the "drive" to perfection misses the point.
Al, you said: "Sometimes the 'drive ' to perfection misses the point". Which is, of course, one of the main thrusts of the article. Very nicely put!
Thanks for this article and submitted photographs. In snapshots you really catch the moment that runs away in speed, if you start framing, looking for the best photo is no longer a snapshot, you lose the captured moment that never comes back. Thank you
Francesca, thank you for such a kind comment!
Vladimir Funtak PRO
What a nice presentation of UK, I like it a lot, I like your way telling the truth...
Very kind Vladimir, thank you.
Miro Susta CREW
Peter you brought a subject I love so much. In my gallery I have plenty of snapshots. Many thank for your interesting photos as well for the introduction write up. Well done indeed.
I love seeing these pictures. I think that in snapshots one can see the photographer skills behind them. We can see what different photographers consider interesting or unique. They have value. The picture with the table and the flags is well composed for a snapshot and not all would have captured it this way. Thank you for this article.
Thanks Marie, it was an interesting experiment.