Smartphone Images Are Good Enough For Museums Now

The other night I spent some time going to an event in Chelsea all the way in the middle of the gallery district. Every Thursday night you’re bound to find tourists and people genuinely interested in the arts hanging around. But this event was for Huawei, you know–the mobile phone maker. It was to celebrate two photographers who have done pretty good work with their phones.In some ways though, I just didn’t totally believe it. Well, I mean, I believe it. But what I didn’t totally understand was the curation. Many of the images were soft and at one point there was a photo with a dog and what was clearly some sort of fake depth of field effect. Then there was another with a faux tilt shift effect. And when I spoke to a rep about this, they said “Well, we wanted to be different.”

Absolutely; buying your way into a gallery in Chelsea is one way to surely do that.

Please note that there is no offense given to the photographers. When I went through their Instagrams I found a whole lot of their work to be pretty remarkable. But then some pieces I was questioning, though somehow or another these images would get hundreds of thousands of hearts. Crazy, right? What it reminded me of is this; your gear is fantastic. It’s very difficult to get faulty gear these days. But what matters in the end is the images you take. These phones were able to print larger images than I make at home with 17×22 inch paper. And they looked really good. Were the details missing a bit when you got up close? Yes, but not too terribly. Was there some weird color gradation? Oh heck yes at times.

Even further, what matters more is your own curation. Picking the right images for a story can be tough work. Then on top of that it is usually up to you to be discerning about the quality of how your work is presented. Making a print? Make a print that will make someone’s jaw drop and will make them want to buy your work.