Before I start, I will state that I am an Apple fan. In fact, I am writing this piece from my iPad as my iPhone charges next to me. So don’t think I’m just bashing Apple for the hell of it.
In a recent piece, I note that a comment in Apple’s September 2013 keynote that was, in my opinion, rather condescending and derogatory to photography. It can be summarised as “If you want to be a good photographer, just buy the iPhone 5S.”
This was a comment overlooked by many commentators (though some have subsequently picked it up) and one that many said meant little or was pure marketing pitch (no offence Brian).
With this week’s announcement that the London Fashion Show, hosted by Burberry, will feature photography and video by Burberry exclusively performed with the iPhone 5S, I worry about this overlooking of ‘real’ photography.
“CUPERTINO, California and LONDON—September 12, 2013—Apple® and Burberry today announced that iPhone® 5s is being used to capture and share beautiful photos and video before, during and after the Burberry runway show in London on Monday, September 16. Using the all-new iSight® camera on iPhone 5s, Burberry is shooting high quality photos and video for runway and beauty looks, product details, and backstage moments. The collaboration is reimagining how Burberry engages consumers, paving the way for significant changes in how they capture and share their content.”
– Apple Press Info.
While, no doubt, this is just a nice bit of co-branding and marketing, it does leave me wonder how far Apple are going to take it with trying to say that there’s no need for professional photographers and that their iPhone 5S can replace it all…
Naturally, there would have been other photographers there capturing the event for the glossy magazines and newspapers of the world. But it does beg the question why Burberry is potentially limiting the quality of image that can be shared with their customer base. It also leaves me wondering how Burberry plan on using the images they take on the 5S; if they want to produce billboards from images they take, I’m failing to see how this will work for them. (Unless the iPhone 5S really IS that good.)
The one question I would love answered is just who wielded these iPhone 5S camera phones? Was it the intern or a professional photographer? And if it wasn’t a professional photographer, did they hire professionals last year that are subsequently not being hired in favour of a smart phone?
With recent events worldwide, such as the Chicago Sun-Times sacking their entire photography department in favour of the cheaper option of having their journalists use iPhones, it is a concern what is to become of the photographer. It is slowly moving beyond the attitude that “anyone can have a camera and take photos” to “anyone who has a smart phone can be the photographer at major events.”
Naturally, this makes working professional photographers work that little bit harder to prove their worth, which isn’t a bad thing, but it does leave me wondering how long it is until the Presidential photographer only has an iPhone, every photographer in the photo pit at the Rolling Stones farewell concert only have smart phones, and the journalists covering the Pope’s most holy of moments interrupt proceedings when they get a phone call.