iPhone apps add aperture - another victory for Apple

On November 8, 2012

  • Currently on display at the CEPA Gallery in downtown Buffalo is Cathaleen Curtiss' As I See It. iPhone Photography exhibit.

The iPhone will soon become a photographer's best friend.

The Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts (CEPA) Gallery is currently featuring the solo exhibit, As I See It: iPhone PhotographybyCathaleen Curtiss.The exhibit displays 30 images Curtiss has taken in the past four years using only her iPhone and apps like Adobe Photoshop Express and Snapseed.

Curtiss' "iPhonoto's" are quickly becoming a forerunner in the growing legitimacy of using cell phone photography as an artistic medium. 

CEPA showcases works that range from politicians using disposable cameras to public submissions to individuals suffering from autism and more.

When discussing Curtiss' iPhone exhibit, Lauren Tent, the education director at CEPA, expressed concern over the recent iPhone movement and repercussions it may have, especially in the commercial photography setting. Tent noted that today, people don't need high quality DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras) any more to take an outstanding photo and considers the development worrisome.

Donna Jordan Dusel, adjunct professor for the fine arts department at Buffalo State College and D'Youville College, is a professional photographer who teaches her basic photography students how to use SLR cameras, whether digital or film.

"I've taught photography for over 30 years, and I'm always telling my students they can't just walk around with an iPhone, but you can now," Dusel said.

Even so, Dusel still pushes her students to learn the camera as a working body - to discover its lens abilities, functions and tohave an actual camera in hand, not a camera phone.

However, Curtiss sees the use of iPhones differently.

"The best camera is the one you have with you," Curtiss said.

Curtiss has had the opportunity to emerge into the professional field after gaining national recognition for her award-winning work in photojournalism. She has been an editor, director and consultant of photography and has covered events such as theSuper Bowl, Superpower Summits and three presidential campaigns. In 1990, the White House News Photographers Association named Curtiss Photographer of the Year.

Her use of theiPhone as a photographic tool began in New York a few years ago when she decided to take pictures daily with her iPhone. Curtiss would post her images on her blog or Facebook, and people often asked what device she took her pictures with. When Curtiss would say her iPhone, they would seldom believe her.

Curtiss believes cameras are tools and as long as the ethics and integrity of the images are kept intact, the use of iPhones is an acceptable form of content creation. She believesthere are a lot of things that undermine photographic creation but iPhones are not one of them.

 "It doesn't matter if you write out a story or you type out a story, or you file it on your computer. The content is the content. I feel that way about photographs," Curtiss said. "If you can make a great image on an iPhone, more power to you, as long as you're not altering the reality."

With her longstanding principles instilled from years in photojournalism, Curtiss said to this day her friends laugh at her because of her serious commitment to maintaining reality. In this pursuit, Curtiss will stick around and wait for the things she wants to happen in her photo to happen.

"If I see something that I like but it needs people in it, I'll sit there and wait 'til somebody shows up," Curtiss said.

When her friends would ask her why she didn't just put someone in the photo, she would simply respond: "That wouldn't be the truth."

The As I See It: iPhone Photography exhibit is on display downtown at the CEPA Gallery at 617 Main St. until Nov. 26. Curtiss will also teach a one-day iPhone and Phone App workshop on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the gallery.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com

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