Home and the iPhone X

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. Things that seem big rungs on life’s ladder all kind of happened at once. I guess that is how life works. Christmas also happened. I took this photo on Christmas morning. My navigation took me off the highway and I saw these birds.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

This is one of those examples where I really understand the power of a mobile device when it comes to photography. I know many of you are still holding out (I was a fairly early adopter of this premise) with the thought that a phone doesn’t “feel” like a real camera.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

A mobile phone works in the exact same way a compact film camera once did. It has taken that niche. People thought the Ricoh GR1V wasn’t a real camera once. Sure, one might argue that that camera is “full frame” (as if that matters) so the quality of a mobile device can’t compete. I think this is mostly hipster nonsense. You may not be a hipster, but that is a hipster mentality. The iPhone has been “good enough” for generations. The iPhone X I started playing with the last couple weeks really makes a pocket camera obsolete for me. Sure, in some cases you may have to actually think to take a good photo with a smaller sensor like this but I’ve NEVER felt like it couldn’t do something general I wanted it to do.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

I was eating Chinese the other day. The light inside the restaurant was lovely. Considering I was going to eat Chinese (something we do on Tuesdays) I hadn’t thought to take my camera. The iPhone X (and it’s portrait mode) did an admirable job. In fact, because it actually has two lenses it is better in my mind than zoom lens compact. Having a 50 and a 28 in my pocket is all I could ask for.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.
Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

Because of where we were sitting the 28 just didn’t work. It wasn’t flattering at all. Was great to have the 50.

A camera is a machine that takes a photo. 

Or some such.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

I saw these pandas on my way home from work. Again, no other camera but the iPhone did more than good enough.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

This is where this post starts to feel like two posts. Yesterday, I visited what will most likely be my house in the new year. Not a rental, literally my house. The room above is where I plan to build my dark room. I went to the house with someone from the bank. He didn’t want me to use my Leica. Had no trouble at all with my phone though.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

The house hasn’t been treated well. It needs a full on renovation. I plan to do a lot of the work myself over time. I don’t like luxury or modern anymore. Not sure where along the line this became the case.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.
Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

It has lots of problems. I don’t really care. It will take lots of love, but, I’m sure it will get it.

I’ve dreamed of living in a city house in Korea for a long time.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.
Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

Whatever happens, it seems to be becoming home and I’ll make it such.

Doors close and doors open.

As they say.

Iksan, South Korea.

December 2017.

Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

My last blog post of the year. Have another one ready for the 1st. See you all then 😉 Have a happy and safe holidays.

  • JT


  1. As I mentioned on Twitter: after taking pictures for almost 40 years with cameras of all kinds and sizes (from high end SLRs to duct-taped plastic Holgas), I sold all my cameras this year and went 100% mobile. I realized that all my favorite photos of the last decade were taken with a phone. Maybe because it’s less pretentious, no need to act like The Photographer, or because of its imperfections – I don’t know.

    Wishing you the best for 2018, also with the new home.

  2. Your blog posts on here are always interesting as well as entertaining and I find myself coming back to them for one reason or another. Like in this one I notice the symbolism and the repeating patterns of twos (which maybe has personal meaning outside the picture), then there’s the lines and diagonals of course. All seemingly very well structured for a blog post, thought out or put together, one way of the other its apparent simplicity belies its complexity. Jolly good stuff and better than just posting on Instagram etc.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate that, Kevin! I hadn’t seen your comment. I think it had slipped through my notifications somehow. I don’t spend enough time on my posts, if I’m honest. I plan to spend more time on them this year! I’m going to make a crack at taking all of this more seriously.

  3. Never underestimate your phone as your camera. Those who sneeze their nose and call it not real enough have issues with their mindset. Even if I primarily use my Fuji X100T, I never hesitate to use my iPhone whenever I feel for it. And it seldom fails to deliver my imaginary visions more than good enough. Sometimes it even happens that I actually prefer to use my phone. Sometimes it even happens that I wonder why I ever bought an expensive camera – oh yes… I wanted a “real” camera. It’s all in your mind.

    By the way about that. What a beautiful crappy house Josh 😉 I like it. New and modern living spaces may feel luxurious and comfortable. But old buildings full of flaws have something that modern comfort never can offer – a soul and a body like a living being. Sometimes that makes you feel more alive yourself. I wish you luck with your new home and a curious new year.

    And I love your photos, almost forgot to mention that. Full of soul, as always.

  4. Great work JT I also started shooting street photography on my iPhone . Looking forward to more of your works!

  5. While a good photographer can do really good work with pretty much any camera, I am far more impressed with the photos you have taken with your old Leica and your Ricoh than the shots you have shown here with your telephone.

    1. I’m fairly certain, that is dependent on situation more than equipment. Photos of my soon to be house I’m sure would look similar with anything. Some of my favorite photos have been taken with my phone. Of course, it will never replace my M3 and Summilux.

  6. Hi Josh, could you share a bit on how you retouch these photos? They look really close to those you take with film camera

    1. I edit these in Snapseed. I use the “noir” settings which are very similar to those from Silver efex. As I tell most people, have a play around with the app and you’ll find a vibe you dig.

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