The Best Camera

You may have heard the saying “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You” at some point in your photographic adventures. I don’t know who coined the phrase, but I do know who is re-popularizing it: Chase Jarvis. And how is he doing it? With is phone, of course!

So Chase created as a central hub for this whole thing. It’s a place for people to share their photos created using the iPhone app. The application looks really cool, and I’d expect nothing less from somebody like Chase. I’m only disappointed with two things: 1) No iPhone for Verizon customers, and 2) No awesome photo applications for Pocket PC phones. But, neither of those things are Chase’s fault, so I’ll just keep my frustrations bottled up for the time being.

But even though I can’t use the app, I still plan on buying the book that goes along with all of this. Chase put together a photo book of his iPhone images and it looks fantastic from what I can tell! The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You is 256 pages of lo-fi inspiration. If you’ve seen Chase’s iPhone work in the past, you know what to expect. If you haven’t… well, go take a look. You could almost convince yourself that these were taken with a toy film camera and they fit right in with the Lomography vision.

The website, the iPhone app, and the book are all quite impressive accomplishments for Chase. But I think he’s doing something much greater: Chase Jarvis is steering the direction of modern photography (at least one branch of it), and he’s driving it with his enthusiasm for art. He’s making the point that great photos can come from any camera and that having your camera in your pocket at all times is more important than having the most powerful gear on the market. And all of this started because he decided to start taking photos with his iPhone every day — in other words, a personal project of his that turned out to be much more (and on a related side note, our latest PhotoNetCast episode is on the topic of photography projects).

The concepts of using lo-fi equipment, shooting often, taking your camera with you everywhere, shooting from the hip, capturing every day life, and just getting the shot are not new concepts. Just look at the cult following of Lomography. Chase is taking these same concepts and modernizing them. Instead of shooting with a Holga or Diana, he’s shooting with an iPhone — not exactly the best cameras on the market. In both cases, the images produced are not technically outstanding, but they do have a certain artistic quality that can’t be found elsewhere.

At any rate, take all this as you will. I know these types of photos and ideologies don’t appeal to everybody, but I’m guessing that most of you will find some part of it interesting (and maybe even inspiring). For more information, check out the following links:

5 thoughts on “The Best Camera

  1. Ben Jamieson

    Just a heads up on the Verizon thing… iPhones don’t officially exist in The Bahamas, and there’s certainly no AT&T……

    But, um, my iPhone is working just fine!

    Not had a chance to play with Chase’s new app yet, but bought and installed it about an hour ago. Damn work interfering with playtime again!

  2. brett maxwell

    This is so cool, but makes me a little sad in a way, I’ve thought recently how cool it is that Chase has risen to the highest levels in photography, still interacts with the photographic community, but isn’t trying to sell anything to photographers. I spoke too soon, but at least it’s something cool and reasonably priced.

  3. Brian Auer Post author

    I see what you’re saying, but I think this whole thing spawned from his interest in bettering himself as an artist rather than a commercial venture. When he started shooting every day with his iPhone, I don’t think he had a grand plan of eventually making a better iPhone app to sell for a few bucks. It seems as though the app was a result of his own frustrations with existing software for the iPhone. Hey, who better to design the application than a photographer using the hardware every day, right?

    I’ve got to admit that I’m pretty envious of iPhone users at the moment. I have a Samsung Omnia that runs Windows Mobile and we don’t have anything close to this for software. The phone has a 5MP sensor, auto-focus, and a whole gob of other features (some even cooler than on the iPhone’s camera), but I just don’t use it because it’s a pain in the butt to do anything with the photos. With something like this, you can bet I’d be uploading several new photos per day.

  4. Russell

    I have and use the Best Camera app. It’s a great image editor for the iphone, but the sharing part just isn’t up to snuff for me. For one, you can’t really track what happened to the photos you’ve uploaded to The Best Camera website, which is frustrating. For another, the branding is a bit over the top. I tried using it to post a few photos to Facebook, and I had questions from my friends saying “Who is Chase Jarvis, and why does he have your phone?” His name is captioned on every photo. So now I use the editing functions, but post photos within the FB app itself.

    All gripes aside, I love the philosophy behind the book and the website, and it’s caused me to look at my camera phone in a whole new way.

  5. Brian Auer Post author

    I think he updated the app for the facebook thing… I guess it was something that got overlooked in the code.

    And the book has definitely made me rethink some of the photos that I’d be tempted to toss out of my archives. Not only that, I’ve actually been shooting a bit more 110 lately (which is sort-of like the analog version of iPhone pics).

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