As we noted in our coverage of Nokia’s new Lumia 1020, the launch event centered heavily around the device’s 41-megapixel camera and photography in general. As manufacturers continue to jockey for a top position in the smartphone race, Nokia sees photography as a segment where it could triumph. To show that the Lumia 1020’s camera isn’t some gimmick, the company managed to get two world-renowned photographers – David Bailey and Bruce Weber – to shoot with the smartphone.
Considered to be the two of most celebrated working photographers today, Bailey and Weber spent 24 hours with the device during a shoot in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, on a hot day back in July. They captured the street scenes that happened, from children playing in the streets to boxers in the ring. The two photographers are longtime friends, but this was the first project they have collaborated on together, and neither had ever used a phone for photography. In fact, the shoot was particularly noteworthy for Weber because he had never shot digital before this project.
“This is the first time that I have used a mobile phone for my work,” Weber told the U.K.’s Daily Mail. The notable fashion photographer, whose work graces the pages of Vogue, follows that with a suspiciously PR-crafted response. “Nokia has created a smartphone which not only matches the capabilities of many high-end cameras, but in most cases surpasses them. It simplifies creative photography.”
Overall, both Bailey and Weber seem impressed with the Lumia 1020’s performance. “The level of detail you can capture using a Nokia Lumia 1020 is nothing short of breathtaking,” Bailey said.
When asked about their thoughts on the current state of photography, the Daily Mail writes, “Both failed to be enticed by the terminology and apps that dominate smartphone photography these days though. Neither was familiar with the term ‘selfie’, and while Weber is familiar with Instagram, he is not tempted to use it himself.”
“I don’t have anything against it, you know, if people like what they do – others in the studio do a lot of Instagram and take beautiful pictures – and sometimes they take pictures of themselves,” Weber said. “It’s kind of funny, I like to see how they see themselves.”
At the end of the day, it isn’t so much the device but what you’re photographing, according to Bailey. “This Nokia camera helps you capture the moment, which is the most important thing.”
Bailey and Weber shot more than 1,000 photos that day, and 30 of them are being displayed in London at the Nicholls & Clarke Building until September 21.
When it comes to company-sponsored projects like this, it’s hard not to be cynical sometimes about the whole thing. But getting these two famous and well-respected photographers to participate is a nice coup. All that aside, the Lumia 1020 does break new ground for smartphone photography and it raises the bar for others to top. Check out our Lumia 1020 review for more on the device.