My Nokia 1020 - the 'magic' camera

So I started off with the combination I tried yesterday. Panasonic GX7 + Voigtlander 20mm. I also took along my Nikon Series E 100m f/2.8 to see how that worked.

But after messing about with the focus peaking and struggling in the bright light because the EVF and screen on the GX7 aren't OLED and I had to loose my polarised sunglasses, i suddenly thought, why am I messing about with this? and got out my Nokia 1020. And then the magic started.

And yet again the shot of the day (the poodle in the boot) was a Nokia shot. And if you'd told me a few weeks ago that my favourite camera / lens combination now would be a mobile phone with a fixed 4.1mm f/2.2 lens, then you would have got a somewhat incredulous reaction. But that is indeed what it is. Somehow I seem to taken to it and am making my best and most interesting pictures with it. 

Strange as it might seem, the interchangable lens cameras I have seem to shackle me and the fixed lens phone frees me up. Far from this wide-angle (shot mostly in 16:9 format) restricting what I can do, it seems to stir my imagination. And it is about getting right up close, getting into what's happening rather than observing it, separated and outside.

For example, I eat that ice cream (blackcurrants and clotted cream!!) shortly after the man made it. While he was putting it together I took a few shots from different angles and he didn't bat an eyelid. I'm sure he was well used to being snapped with peoples phones. The man pushing the vegetable cart actually asked me if I'd got the shot before he moved on down the street. And I have to admit, I never get any of this when I'm shooting with my other cameras. Because phones aren't threatening. I was sitting on a bench enjoying the sunshine when I saw eight people in front of me. 6 were shooting picture on their phones. Another was standing pointing a Canon DSLR with one of those big white lenses at various things and he looked quite intimidating. And I realised that was what I must look like with much of my gear.

I really like the 'I am a photographer' neon sign on my forehead switched off when I use my phones. The anonymity lets me take pictures in situations that my other cameras don't. And I'm beginning to think that it's because I'm not behind the camera, hiding away looking through the viewfinder. Rollei twin lens reflex users always used to talk about the different interaction between subject and photographer because of the lower angle of the camera and the fact the subject can see the photographers face. I have to say I think there is something in that. I'm getting a much friendlier reaction to shooting with the phones and I obviously blend in a lot more than I did before, particularly when I was shooting with DSLR's. I also feel less 'separate' from what's going on. Just another tourist or passer-by who happens to be taking a few snaps just like everybody else.

It's also the impression that I haven't brought anything special out to take my snaps. These days there are few people who aren't carrying a phone, so it produces a different reaction. It's commonplace, it happens all the time, everybody's doing it. Taking photographs that is. And it's a strange (and pleasing to me) situation that that is now the case. Photography is everywhere. Everybody is a photographer. I'm nothing out of the ordinary. And I have to say, I really like it that way. Because apart from anything else, I shoot easier, I shoot better and I shoot without ever being a nuisance. It's a liberating experience and the images I'm creating reflect that. And it's getting ever more difficult to think about making pictures any other way.

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