The art of taking photos with a smartphone

Last updated 12:24 10/01/2014
Andrew B White
GREAT POTENTIAL: New York-based Aucklander Andrew B White has made ‘‘iPhoneography’’ his preferred medium.
Andrew B White
Andrew B White
CREATIVE OUTLET: Mobile photography has allowed people who did not previously consider themselves artistic to produce their own art.

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Visual artist Andrew White's online portfolio of photographs includes everything from band shots to nature photography, portraiture and landscapes.

It's quality work too, taken in White's capacity as a visual artist and professional photographer.

But rather than using the latest and greatest in camera technology White shoots with a common or garden iPhone, albeit one souped-up with a range of photography apps, as part of a growing global contingent of artists dubbed "mobile photographers".

He uses it to take and edit images for everything from photographic art to album covers and commercial work.

Now based in Brooklyn, the former Aucklander discovered the artistic potential of the mobile device in 2010 and has since joined a growing movement of people shooting, editing and posting images from the tiny unit.

And while he says there is a way to go until the smartphone camera can compete with high-end professional gear for quality, the potential for artists and novices to produce great results is "outstanding".

In fact many argue the relative limitations give smartphone images their own unique flavour.

The size and portability of the phone and the apps available are the best features, White says, allowing for on-the-fly photography and a more subtle approach than pulling out a huge SLR.

"You can carry it everywhere and never miss a shot and use it in places where a regular camera might be too intrusive or cumbersome.

"Smartphone photography has been used in a wide range of areas from photojournalism in war zones to fashion shows and live music events, street photography and experimental art projects. It lends itself to getting right in there."

In those early days - 2010 is a different planet in technology terms - the quality of images was average at best. But like-minded photographers started to share their work in online communities and became known as "iPhoneographers" or mobile photographers. Now exhibitions can be seen at websites like and

Since then many other photography-specific apps have appeared.

White says anyone can do something special with their camera phone.

"The only limits are the imagination of the photographer. In the end it is still about the image, not what you took it on. As an art form, mobile photography has allowed many people to become an artist who may have never have done so if the technology hadn't existed."

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Visit to see more of White's work.

- Auckland City Harbour News

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