The photographer behind the iPhone photograph that graced the cover of TIME Magazine this month has said that Apple’s smartphone camera gives the advantage of being able to instantly share images, and that it’s not the equipment that determines the quality of a photograph, it’s the photographer’s mind.
Ben Lowy is a ‘conflict photographer,’ travelling to Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq to capture the dramatic scenes taking place there, and, more recently, to the US during Hurricane Sandy. Often, Lowy uses just his iPhone 4S combined with some photo editing apps and external battery packs to produce his images.
Lowy’s photo of aggressive waves being forced into America’s East Coast during the recent superstorm was selected as the cover photo of Time this month, and in an interview with TUAW, Lowy spoke about why he chooses to use Apple’s smartphone to capture his photographs.
“People don’t think twice about it,” Lowy said when asked whether he is embarrassed as a professional photographer to whip out his iPhone when his colleagues are using big DSLRs. “It’s a fast little camera and I do like that on a tough assignment.”
He admitted that he is sometimes pushed aside by pros who assume that he is a tourist or amateur photographer because of his camera of choice.
Lowy says that he takes two iPhones (one as a backup) and Mophie Juice Packs for an extra battery boost, and a Manfrotto LED light with him on assignments.
To edit his photos, Lowy uses iOS apps Hipstamatic and Snapseed, and he uses Instagram to get his pictures to TIME when he is working with them.
The downfall of the iPhone is its low-light performance, Lowy explained. He wishes that he could control the shutter speed and depth of field of his iPhone’s camera, especially when he is photographing during dawn or sunsets. “What you are giving up is some creative control,” said Lowy. “You can do some things with filters, but the iPhone camera does have limitations.”
But, despite the negative aspects of the iPhone’s camera, a huge positive is the ability to take photos quickly and share them with the rest of the world in an instant.
Lowy believes it’s not the camera equipment that defines the quality of a photograph; it’s the mind of a photographer. “Everyone has a pen,” he said,”but not everyone can draw.”