life in lofi, iphoneography

Life In LoFi is this many today

Life In LoFi turns 6 years old today, making it one of the oldest iPhoneography blogs still publishing.

I thought about starting this post with a couple of jokes, but really this is a pretty big achievement. Six is an eternity in blog years. If it were a child, it would be in grade school. Okay, two jokes.

Why is this important? Covering iPhoneography from its beginnings gives us experience and perspective that very few other blogs have. Life In LoFi is part of a written history of mobile photography’s early days — before mobile photographers even knew they needed a written history.

Although there are now a lot of mobile photography blogs and websites, this blog is a pioneer. We have been reporting and reviewing iPhones, apps, and whatever iPhone photography-related stories catch our fancy since the artform’s early days. We’ve helped cover the rapid growth of iPhoneography and were there as it went from being considered a phone camera novelty to a legitimate art form that’s changed how we take and share photographs.

We now take iPhoneography and mobile photography for granted, but it really wasn’t that long ago when it was still considered something of a toy. In the span of about seven years, the iPhone has helped to change photography. In fact, Instagram — a definite game-changer in mobile photography — is still less than five years old and began as a crappy, low-res photo sharing network when it first started up.

Years ago, I started this blog because I loved the look of the photos from my old, original iPhone 2G. Back then, the noisy, flat, 2 megapixel images were close to top of the line and still better than many point-and-shoot cameras of the day. To me, the photos of the 2G had a signature look — like any great lo-fi or Lomo analog camera. I still have my first iPhone and occasionally fire up an ancient version of Hipstamatic.

More than the look of the photos, just having a pretty decent camera with me at all times was pretty liberating.

Since this blog started, the cameras in the iPhones have gotten exponentially better. They can focus. They now have big-boy camera features such as shutter speed or exposure priority. The dynamic range — how much light and detail the sensor can capture — is on par with a quality point and shoot. In fact, more people now take pictures with their iPhones and other mobile devices than with traditional P&S cameras — a change that’s happened in a historically short period of time.

We still use “iPhoneography” in our site name. It’s a great word and a great brand, coined by Glyn Evans years ago. Although the gap has narrowed in recent years, there are still thousands more photo apps available for iPhone and iPad than for any other mobile platform, making iPhoneography still somewhat special. Google “hipstamatic android” and see how many lists of “Hipstamatic Alternatives” you get.

I did the math. So far, Life In LoFi represents over 10,000 hours of work from me over the years. That’s a commitment. Although my byline is all over this blog, I haven’t done this all on my own.

I’m glad to have Mel Martin hanging his shingle here. Mel had been covering iPhone photography for the now-shuttered TUAW for years before writing here. Having Mel’s experience and perspective is invaluable and has helped to broaden what we cover here as iPhoneography evolves. Thank you, Mel. And a public thank you for kicking my ass a couple of times.

Many thanks to Knox Bronson of P1xels — another of the pioneering iPhoneography websites. We’ve been friends since the Georgi Gallery show — the first exhibition of iPhone photography. Knox’s passion for iPhone photography and art is motivating and infectious.

Big thanks to those who have stopped in to share a few words on LoFi, whether as writers or commenters.

And thank you to you for making LoFi a part of your internetting and iPhoneography fix. I know there are a jillion other sites to visit out there and I’m really appreciative that you stop by here. No matter whose voice is speaking on LoFi, we’ve always tried to present content that is relevant, informative, and worth the time you spend to read it.

Even if real-life and day jobs prevent us from covering everything, we still have some cool posts and new voices on the horizon. The new and improved iPhone cameras give us even more things to write about.

The iPhone isn’t really lo-fi any more, but Life In Kickass-Digital doesn’t have quite the same ring to it….

The first words that I wrote on this blog still pretty much hold true (although we’ve gotten better Canon bodies since….).

I love LoFi photography. I have a nice Fuji digital SLR of my own and can use my girlfriend’s Canon Rebel XL any time I need to. I prefer to shoot LoFi. My iPhone is my favorite camera. For me, it provides enough image quality to capture the image, while introducing enough noise, texture, and digital “light leaks” to add presence to the image. I believe that this texture adds to the image much like film type and grain adds to an analog image.

Watch your light. Wait for your shot. And remember to call your mom occasionally on your camera….


Marty Yawnick
Publisher, Life In LoFi