Why I make iPhone photos!

Shoot with your heart!

It is no secret that I love my phone/camera. I never say “where’s my phone?” I am more likely to say, “Let me grab my camera!”


I realized my obsession a few years ago when I was attending Midsummer Night Swing at the Lincoln Center in NYC.

We were not allowed to take anything on the dance floor that was not attached to you; of course I had my “camera” in my hand, no holder, no strap…no admittance. After a panicked moment and choosing my phone over swing lessons, my good friend let me borrow her waist clip. I never did master the swing step but I made a few fun photos from the night that I liked.


   (Both photos from Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center, NYC. iPhone 3)

Thumbnail image for snowy morning red square5x7.jpg

I spent many years as a professional photojournalist. I covered the White House, traveled, went to Superbowls, worked on long-term projects and carried heavy bags of gear and film everywhere. I was never without a camera. When I became a DOP for a large online company, I put my gear down. My mission became building staff, creating templates, setting budgets, hiring photographers and making sure the staff had the support needed to create great visual presentations. I was so excited when our photo staff created an iPhone app to display all our great photography presentations. I was obnoxiously showing everyone our new app, “Look I have an iPhone app!” Until one day my daughter said, “No. Mom, you have a blackberry with a photo of an app.” Two weeks later my family gave me my first iPhone for Mother’s Day. I have hardly been without it since. (photo taken in Red Square, Moscow on November 9, 1989 with a Nikon F-3)


I know it is not the same as “real gear”, but it is always with me. Years ago in photojournalism school I learned, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” This particular “camera” has been with me for graduations and weddings, visits to the family farm and Spain, carnivals and reunions. It has opened my eyes to seeing again. I enjoy experimenting with photo apps, as much as, I loved printing B&W photos. Recently, I started carrying a small bag along with my iPhone, it contains a small tripod, my old iPhone for added lighting and a very cool new toy, the Olloclip. (Celebrating graduation from College of Charleston, SC. iPhone 3)

I know, carrying a “bag of gear” defeats the purpose of only needing a phone but it adds a whole new element of fun. The real challenge and reward for me is making the image. Besides, the “bag of gear” is still small enough to fit inside a small purse or backpack.


   (The Rock of Gibraltar made on the iPhone 3s with ProHDR app.)

Someone recently asked. “Don’t you feel guilty that you are making photos on your phone?” My reply, “Don’t you feel guilty that you aren’t making photos?”


    (The Manhattan Skyline at Sunset, iPhone 4 with Photoshop Express.)


    (Visitors watch construction for the new World Trade Center.  iPhone 3s.)


    (The midway at the Erie County Fair, Buffalo, NY. iPhone 4 HDR)

I love being a part of the JPG community for that reason, we make
photos, we share photos and we celebrate life with photos.  As it says
on our about page, “JPG is for people who love image-making without
attitude. It’s about the kind of photography you get when you love the
moment more than the camera.”


   (Aspens in late evening light, North Pole, Alaska. iPhone 4)


   (Granada, Spain. iPhone 3s using ProHDR app)

So pick up your camera, any camera!! Go out and take photos, look
closely at the world around you, shoot with your heart, enjoy seeing,
capture your life experiences and please share your vision with us.

All photos in this post were created and edited on the iPhone,
© Cathaleen Curtiss.