Treography? Phonography? Mobilography?

july 8, 2005

Mobile phone cameras suck. Yes, things are changing with new phones coming out with 1.3MP cameras and all, but the installed base of mobile phones have bad cameras. The pictures that come from mobile phone cameras are grainy, pixellated and sometimes over (or under) saturated. And since these bad cameras are with us all the time, the pictures taken from them are of normal day-to-day life, or even some shooting by the hip type photography. Most people just point the camera and shoot off a picture. Yeah, composition sometimes matters, but mostly it is about getting a picture of the moment. This all sounds pretty familiar because it describes a film-based phenomenon called Lomography.

Lomography emphasizes shoot-from-the-hip photography. Over-saturated colors, lens artifacts, and exposure defects are used to produce artistic, abstract effects and are prized by practitioners. Others use the technique to document everyday life because the small camera size and ability to shoot in low light encourages candid photography, photo reportage and photo vérité.
So, what about people who take pictures with their mobile phone cameras? Phonography? No, that describes something else. Mobilography? Catchy. For me, it will be Treography since my mobile phone camera of choice is the one on my Treo 600 (overly wide angle, overly saturated with color, and grainy as hell). Check out the photos that I take with my Treo here. It is pretty easy to shoot a picture and then send it right away from my phone (moblog style) to Flickr.