Houston Center for Photography’s iPhone course raises the question, ‘is it art?’

houston center for photography iphone course theresa escobedo 3

Art is subjective. What one considers to be creative talent isn’t necessarily shared by others. That’s the brouhaha that’s happening in Houston concerning smartphone photography, according to a report by digital style publication, CultureMap. The Houston Center for Photography (HCP) has started offering a “controversial” course in iPhone photography dubbed “iPhoneography.”

With more and more people using their smartphones for photography, why would such a course cause a stir? Photography purists claim that in order to embrace photography as art, you need  to understand all the finer details of operating a camera. Many beginners and casual snap shooters, however, don’t care to learn about aperture, shutter speed, metering, white balance, etc. Once the purview of craftsmen like Ansel Adams, technological advances and increasingly affordable cameras have opened up the form to nearly everyone.

But CultureMap reports that “it was during a trip to Tivoli, Italy, five years ago when Theresa Escobedo, fulltime lead workshop instructor at the HCP, began testing the waters with her mobile phone.” Fast forward to today and “she is set to lead a free ‘iPhoneography’ class as part of The Museum Experience on (Saturday, January 26) and a more in-depth, three-part course beginning on Jan. 30.”

Critics of the class claim that “images crafted using digital tools” are not art, while supporters claim that “it isn’t the tools that create the art, but it’s the message that’s important.”

Are photos created and manipulated with digital tools considered ‘art?’ Look at it this way: Ansel Adams, considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, made extensive use of the darkroom to tweak his images. We recently profiled Travis Jensen, a street photographer who has embraced the iPhone and published books of his digital work. Are these any different from using an app or Photoshop to post-process a photo? Have large quantities of low quality images made photography disposable? Is there still art to be found in an iPhone photo? Or are critics crying over nothing?

(Images via Theresa Escobedo/CultureMap)

Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Movies & TV

Fresh footage and Willem Dafoe make the final 'Aquaman' trailer special

Jason Momoa will bring Aquaman back to the big screen for a solo feature in December 2018. Here's everything we know so far about the aquatic superhero's live-action adventure in the DC Extended Universe.
Mobile

5G version of upcoming Galaxy S10 may feature 6.7-inch display, six cameras

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Movies & TV

Star Wars series 'The Mandalorian' adds 'Deadpool' actress Gina Carano

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Mobile

How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you need some extra storage space and your device supports it, then a MicroSD card is an obvious place to start. Here, we look at what to consider and suggest some of the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone.
Photography

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer trades in his gear for a toy camera

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Oden Balilty recently rose to the challenge of shooting for an entire day using nothing but a toy camera, and at the end of it even found a few reasons to praise it over his pricey DSLR.
Social Media

Instagram purges fake followers, likes, and comments generated from other apps

Instagram looking a little more authentic? You can thank machine learning. A new tool is helping Instagram spot followers, likes and comments generated from third-party apps -- and this is just the start.
Product Review

Nikkor 105mm f/1.4 may be a beast in size, but its images are absolute beauty

There’s no such thing as a perfect lens, but the Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED comes incredibly close. The original 105mm f/1.4 delivers exceptional quality, albeit in a bulky package.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Photography

Deluxe D-Lux: New Leica compact camera adds quality and luxury

Essentially a rehoused Panasonic Lumix LX100 II, the D-Lux 7 adds Leica styling -- and price -- to Panasonic tech. The camera retains much from its predecessor, but brings some needed updates and refinements.