Pioneering iPhone photographer Marty Yawnick encountered a standard minor embarrassment while sitting on a prestigious Macworld/iWorld panel called "iPhoneography: Meet the Mobile Masters." Right as he began to speak, his smartphone started loudly blaring the ringtone of an incoming call.
"What a coincidence," Mr. Yawnick quipped, "My camera is ringing."
His camera rings, sends texts and photographs images as stunning as those of Helmut Newton or Diane Arbus. Marty Yawnick is the iPhone photographer behind the iPhoneography cult blog Life in LoFi and he made his name with the camera that you might have sitting in your back pocket–a standard store-bought iPhone.
Do-it-yourself snapshots have been around since George Eastman tinkered out the first Kodak in the late 1870s. That "personal camera" still required a lot of gear and post-production work. Eastman's Kodaks got smaller and put the art of photography in the hands of everyday people. The iPhone more fully realizes this vision, with apps and built-in social networking tools to retouch and publicize one's own images.
Looking at a dreamy montage of images, iPhonegrapher and design artist Dan Marcolina noted, "You would never see these points of view with a regular camera. You wouldn't have it with you."
The fact that you generally have your phone on you makes the iPhone all that more valuable as a camera. You catch subjects and situations you'd not have caught otherwise. People don't behave differently around the discreet little smartphone camera. Since the iPhone is so unprecedentedly handy, a few other iPhoneography mobile masters chimed in with additional advice to beginners.
"Your device matters," said Jack Hollingsworth, a professional photographer who often goes iPhone-only. "Run out and buy an iPhone 5. It's so much better than the 4S."
Mr. Hollingsworth also recommended a curious ratio he called "100-to-1." "For every 100 images that I shoot," he said, "I'm going to share one of those."
Panelist Richard Gray actually teaches an iPhoneography class at a university in London–the first such class ever in the UK. He recommends that aspiring iPhoneographers practice with Instagram filters and image retouching while riding the bus or waiting in line at the DMV. "(Photographers) can create something during time that would have been dead time creatively," he noted.
You can see these iPhoneography icons' work online at Instagram, all aggregated under the tag #mobilemasters.
"When the feeling hits, you shoot," advised Karen Divine, who has won first place in the cellphone category at the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards. "You can always delete it."
For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld/iWorld 2013, the Ultimate iFan Event, check out allvoices.com/macworld.