You can do virtually anything, solve any feat, reach any person, and capture any moment with your average iPhone, but I think it’s too soon for journalists to hang up their DSLRs in lieu of the popular Apple product.
So maybe the Chicago Sun-Times jumped the gun a little this summer when the company fired all of its photojournalists and replaced them with iPhone ‘trained’ reporters – yes, that really happened and yeah, it’s as bad as you think.
The photos used by the Sun-Times are average at best, shoddy at worst. The iPhone is many things, but a professional-grade camera it is not. These photos do the bare minimum – most of the time the photos effectively provide visuals to enhance the story, but they could not stand alone nor pique the reader’s interest in their own right.
Speaking of iPhone photography masters, New York Times photojournalist Damon Winter won third place in Pictures of the Year International contest with his photo gallery, ‘A Grunt’s Life,’ snapped, you guessed it, with an iPhone. But Winter took it a step further and edited his pics with Hipstamatic, the pre-cursor of sorts to the now ubiquitous Instagram.
Is this journalism? I think not. While the subjects of his photos are perfectly reasonable and even admirable, Winter went a bit filter-happy with his photos and used obscene amounts of vignette-ing for photos to the extent that scenes have arguably been altered.
Photojournalism is supposed to focus on interesting people and events, not on interesting textures and filters. So while Winter’s Hipstamatic-aided photos may be considered to be decent photography, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it journalism. Call me conventional, but Instagram, Hipstamatic, or what have you, are not proper medium for newsgathering.