iPhoneography Monday: The Challenge Begins Today; Please Join Us with Nature as the Theme

04 February 2013


I. Color

1. White Clay Creek, iPhone 4s, January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Snow and Ice on White Clay Creek, View I, iPhone 4s, January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

II. Black-and-White

2. White Clay Creek, iPhone 4s, January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Snow and Ice on White Clay Creek, View II, iPhone 4s, January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Please be assured that I adore my Nikon DSLR camera. Still, the world of the still image has become unrecognizable. From its inception photography has been steeped in innovation. Change has been its companion. So I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that the latest trends are driven by a clever and intriguingly marvelous invention. Yes, I’m referring to Apple’s iPhone that has given mobile photography a whole new storyline.

I’ve had my iPhone 4s for six months, and it has easily secured my philosophy of photography. Really, it’s not the most recent or sophisticated equipment that makes a worthy image. What really matters is the lens of the photographer: the eye of the composer who creates a poignant storyline in a photograph.

The creative process has its way with us, often taunting our abilities and capabilities. And each new creation gives us an opportunity to encourage our own best selves as well as see the world anew.

The iPhone can be equated with other world-changing technology such as the car, phonograph, telephone, camera, t.v., transistor radio, light bulb… But this device has more oomph to it than most. It is a triple threat: camera, phone and data streamer. Its ability to instantly digitally share is the tipping  point of its legacy and success.

After its introduction in 2007 the iPhone’s photographic benefits and features became widespread. By 2008 it acquired its own linguistic brand: iPhoneography. Responsibility for this cleverly simple term goes to Glyn Evans who began a blog at iPhoneography.com (click here to view it).

iPhoneography.com, Google Images

iPhoneography.com, Google Images

His branding stuck and now it is synonymous with the iPhone as a photographic tool. Mobile photography is here to stay, and it has enabled an expansion of the photographic archive through street photography and social photography.

When the iTunes Store was introduced in 2008, the world of photography was changed in a dramatic way. Scores of photo apps differentiates the iPhone as camera from other digital and traditional cameras. This step quickly catapulted iPhoneography throughout the worldwide popular culture.

Most cameras are companions, joining us on excursions near and far. But drawbacks exist, including the array of accessories that bring additional freight. Probably, one of the top-tier appeals of an iPhone is its portability and (seeming) weightlessness. It has spunk and talent, just needing the user to bring out its skills. It travels with ease. While you can get accessories for it (e.g., lenses, tripods), it is quite suitable just the way it is.

iPhone with Tripod and Telephoto Lens, Google Images

iPhone with Tripod and Telephoto Lens, Google Images

Once consumers realized the possibilities of this Smartphone as a photographic instrument, that was that. The virtual arena took care of the rest. Oh, and the amazing ingenuity of people who helped it spread with lightning speed. From this social movement was born the art of the iPhone.

After only a few years iPhoneography has dedicated blogs, awards, college courses,  exhibitions, world-renown iPhoneographers, social networks, tutorials, e-books, printed books, and much more. It is here to stay or morph into something even more sensational.

Fans and practitioners are everywhere, impassioned with their 4, 4s or 5. With this popularity comes bursts of creativity–creativity that is changing visual language.

Because iPhoneography is evergreen, two other photographers and I have joined together to create an iPhoneography Challenge. If you use an iPhone sometimes, often or exclusively, Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I invite you to join our iPhoneography Monday Challenge, which begins today.

Our project provides another platform to build a community of digital photographers. Today we launch this partnership, which focuses on the “iPhone as Your Lens.”

In this introductory post to the challenge I’ve given a short back story of our incentive to do this challenge. Simultaneously, on Gracie’s blog she will discuss social media as it relates to iPhoneography, and on Polly’s blog she will discuss apps as they relate to iPhoneography. Each challenge one or all three of us will discuss some aspect of this photographic phenomenon.

Join us as we participate in a challenge that honors the revolutionary mobile photography movement. Be inspired. Go beyond DSLR. Be introduced to other iPhoneographers. Push your personal style. Learn from others. Increase your community of subscribers. Improve your exposure. Embrace social photography with those that are passionate about the iPhone.

In the Lens section you will find my entries to the first day of the challenge and the theme, nature: two images of the same scene. The first is in color and a rainbow effect that hovers above the ice and snow. The second is a slightly different view and rendered in black-and-white.

Here’s how iPhoneography Monday: The Challenge, Using Your iPhone as Your Lens works:

1. Each Monday a theme will be posted. You can publish your entry at any time, preferably between Monday through Sunday of the week of the theme. Please add any information about the entry or iPhoneography (apps, editing…) on your post. The challenge is meant to inform, learn, share and build a wider iPhoneography and photography network through participation and readership.

2. To increase chances others will find your post, use “tags” such as iPhone Challenge, iPhoneography Monday, Post a Week, iPhoneography Challenge, Using the iPhone as Your Lens, Photography, Digital Photography, Inspiration, or the week’s theme. Beside tags you can use comments, Pingbacks, links, and social media to spread the word. When you leave a comment on someone else’s challenge post, provide a link back to your blog. Then others can check your entry.

3. To receive a reminder post on Monday mornings, subscribe to sponsors’ blogs at https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com and http://graciebinoya.com and http://Watchingthephotoreels.com. You can subscribe through e-mail on each of our blogs or press the Follow button on the upper left toolbar. When you post your entry, we encourage you to provide a link back to one of our blogs where the rules can be reviewed. Also on the sponsors’ sites you can view links to blogs of other participants.

4. Place the iPhoneography Monday widget on your Homepage. Here is the URL: http://imageshack.us/a/img842/7193/1screenshot20121018at11.png

5. Each Monday view entries of the sponsors who will include additional information about iPhoneography: innovations in the field, apps, equipment, rising stars, printed books, e-books, tutorials, iCloud, and other resources.

6. Here is the best part. The schedule for this challenge is set, and will allow you to plan. Or not. Every month themes remain the same. We are open to additional categories for 4th and 5th weeks, which are challenger’s choice. Just contact us. Here is the schedule and themes:

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black-and-White

4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel

Gracie, Polly and Sally welcome ideas or suggestions. This challenge is for personal enrichment, and is meant to encourage our most innovative self. The iPhone is a source for that purpose and much more. Think iPhone 6,7,8.

In the future there will be twists and turns such as Readers’ Choice Exhibitions or Guest iPhoneographers. Join the fun. Pick up your iPhone. Let the iPhone be your lens.

Check out these entries:




Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.  Click here to see a photograph that is the first one posted on my blog and taken with my iPhone 4s.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to iPhoneography Monday: The Challenge Begins Today; Please Join Us with Nature as the Theme

  1. Pingback: Phoneograph Challenge: Still Life Photography | Once Written

  2. Pingback: iPhoneography: Being Lost In The Details | this man's journey

  3. Like you, I welcome the change that is occurring in photography. I love my iphone for the way it *expands* my photography. I don’t expect it to compete with my DSLRs; instead, it occupies niches that aren’t even available with my DSLRs. It is indispensable for photography that can only be performed with an unobstrusive, take-everywhere camera. I love the ability to post-process on the fly (I often find myself using several different apps on one image and the process in some ways is much more challenging and rewarding than all the “fancy” stuff I can do in Photoshop on my computer.) I also think there are certain “looks” with iPhoneography that are very difficult to obtain with a DSLR and post-processing. These looks don’t come just from using certain apps; some of them I believe are due to the inherent technical limitations of cell phones that can actually be turned to one’s advantage. To me, these limitations lend themselve to a certain painterly quality that I’m very much drawn to–not lack of definition or detail per se, but something to do with the dynamic range, color gamut, grain structure, or who knows what else? I find myself more and more bored these days with technically “perfect” photos that have no soul or emotion, and find that iPhone images often have those elusive qualities. Good ones remind me of little pieces of poetry. Without technical perfection to prop them up, an iPhone image has to rely more on content, composition, feeling, and point of view. And aren’t those the things that are most important in a photo? Anyway, I’m having a lot of fun these days “collecting” my favorite iphone pictures on Flickr, always a great source of inspiration to me and just plain fun to look at when I have a quiet moment: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61320515@N08/favorites/ .

    • Your comments are apt to why this challenge will be a source of adventure and exploration for all that enter. I agree without reservation about your description of the features of the iPhone as camera. For years I did hand-manipulated polaroids, and I’m often reminded that the current photographs taken with an iPhone have a similar character and quality. There is an impressionistic and often surreal quality to them. And yes, limitations are often inspiration for creativity and discovery. Your words, “an iPhone image has to rely more on content, composition, feeling, and point of view. And aren’t those the things that are most important in a photo?” are music to my thoughts. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and reverent commentary about iPhoneography.

  4. carolloethen says:

    oh by the way I prefer the 1st pic.. Love the way the sun shows at the top, the footprints, the shadows.. Great capture!

  5. carolloethen says:

    I am so excited about the challenge..Can’t wait to add my photos…

  6. marialla says:

    As B/W something eerie and more interesting about the photo which in itself is already quite interesting!! Thank you.

  7. my current phone is samsung young and my previous bb can I still participate?

  8. Pingback: iPhonography Monday: Nature « A year in the Life

  9. Thanks Sally. Count me in. Love the images of nature. What caught my attention were the footsteps as well. Beautiful concept.

  10. Nancy Gray says:

    Your blog today is a summary of everything I didn’t know about the i-Phone and a new word, i-Phonography. And the tripod, camera and t-ph. lens photo looks so petite and elegant.

  11. Sounds like a very ambitious project! I’m sure you’ll have a lot of interest in the topic.

  12. Anne Camille says:

    What a great idea. Good luck with this endeavor. Currently I have a rotary-dial cell phone, so I will not be participating, though your write-up of iphonography makes me want to run out & buy a new phone. I will be following along with participants in your challenge, admiring their work.

    • Maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to join in the future.

      • Anne Camille says:

        One of my goals for this month is to figure out new phone plans, but I’ve made acquiring a new phone my “reward” for getting our taxes completed by mid-Feb. 🙂 There’s a funny story about how bad my phone is (nobody else knows how to use it); maybe it will be a blog post in the not-to-distant future!

      • Be sure to include the “now-accepted” obsession humans have with these devices. That’s why I’m enamored with the iPhone as something more than a “telephone.” The meaning of the technology is staggering. I’ll await your post. And consider the iPhone as more than the sum of its parts.

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