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Mobile Photography Awards showcase stunning smartphone art

70
The Mobile Photography Awards salute exceptional work from mobile artists in a stunning showcase of what smartphones are capable of creating.

That was taken with a phone? 

The winners of this year's Mobile Photography Awards may surprise you as you consider each was snapped with a smartphone. From detailed portraits from Alfred Pleyer to macro photography from Jim Mclaughlin to artistic representations from Aylin Argun, the winning selections are impressive regardless of the hardware (and software) involved.

A record number of entries were received in this year's competition, demonstrating increasing interest in mobile photography as an art form.

Thus far the winners of 20 categories have been announced, including the DPReview Connect category, which invited participants to share images that conveyed what the word "connect" means to them. Souichi Furusho of Japan won the category with his image titled "Image Pic #51." Runner up was Michal Koralewski of Poland for "Winter Time."

We've highlighted the category winners below; you can see all the winners and honorable mentions of each category on the Mobile Photography Awards website by clicking the category titles.

The Mobile Photography Awards will also announce its Photographer of the Year, ArtHaus Photo Essay winner and Founder’s Choice recipients in early February. 

DPR Connect category 

Souichi Furusho of Japan won the DPReview Connect category with "Image Pic #51."
Michal Koralewski of Poland was the DPReview Connect category runner up with "Winter Time."

Abstracts category

"The Flag" by Gina Sama took top spot in the Abstracts category.

Animals category

"Big Maple Plain/Austria" by Mariko Klug was the winner of the Animals category. 

Appstracts/Digital Painting

"Fish Oil" by Nicki Fitz-Gerald was selected as the winner of the Appstracts/Digital Painting category.

Architecture/Design

"Circled" by Joanna Lemanska won the Architecture/Design category.

Comments

Total comments: 70
Daniel K Berman

The trolls here seem to miss the point that many of these images would not exist if the photographer had failed to choose the correct tool. These images aren't "prisoners" of the tech - in large part they wouldn't exist without the tech.

1 upvote
guyfawkes

These are some lovely images that go to prove the point, which is made time and time again, that the camera used to take an image has no impact on artistic merit.

However, what is limiting is what can actually be done with these images due to the technical limitations of the equipment used. Already, on my screen, in terms of image quality, the technical limitations of the format are very self-evident.

I feel truly saddened that such wonderful images are prisoners of the technology that created them.

In many ways I am reminded of the popularity of 16mm sub-miniature photography that was around in the 50's and 60's when photographers strove to show decent pics could be taken with them. But try getting a quality 7"x5" print or even 6"x4". 35mm beat it hands down. But equally, 6x6 knocked 35mm into a cocked hat. As we used to say, a good big 'un beats a good little 'un.

0 upvotes
LightImagery

Fantastic images and congrats to the winners. I must admit to using my iPhone camera more often than any of my other cameras. I'm still amazed at the capabilities of my handheld computer/camera/phone. It is nice to see respected entities such as DPReview and professional photographers like Dewitt Jones embrace mobile photography. I used to say the convergence of photography tools is coming, but it is already here.

2 upvotes
Alfred Pleyer

If someone told me one year ago I should shoot with a smart phone i would have laughed at him…Last year i tried in Venice to shoot just for fun with my smart phone….After one day I was so fascinated that I left all my big cameras at the hotel, i have had a lot of Cameras the last 30 years…Since then i use my smart phone 95 percent of my Photography..It is easy to carry, you will not recognized as a Photographer you are connected to the World and it's fun… Next week i go back to India and i will use only my Smart phone….To win in two categories motivates me even more...This set is taken with my Galaxy S3 http://500px.com/niklens/sets/mobile_photography

3 upvotes
Cre8tiveChild

We must remember - that the quality of your images is not created by a camera, it is the result of passion, experience, technique and a perfect synergy between the creative mind, the eye and the heart - today photographers get so caught up in the technology they forget the fundamentals and simplicity that is the essence of a powerful image. Instead of talking about what good photography should be, let your photographs do the talking, not the size and value of your equipment.

We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.- Ansel Adams

3 upvotes
Cre8tiveChild

OK I just have to chime in, as a husband and wife professional photographers team/iPhone addicts - I have to laugh at the ridiculous comments made by these self proclaimed professionals. They get so caught up in their egos and equipment. My lens is longer than yours -I have more megapixels than you- oh please give me a break! Lets try to remember all professionals were once amateurs and not one of them started out shooting with high-end expensive equipment, I'm also pretty sure that the first car they ever drove wasn't a Ferrari! I may be a bit biased, but my husband shoots his commercial work with a 4X5 Linhof camera with a Phase One digital back and he shoots all of his personal work with his iPhone 5-and I think the quality, lighting and POV of all of his work is outstanding.
http://FernandoAriasPhotography.com/
What exactly are you trying to say (Mr Professional Photographer with the expensive equipment) because this husband and wife Professional Photography team isn't buying it.

2 upvotes
Tommy Vohs

I'm waiting, with baited breath for the king of photography dholl to tell all mobile photographers (yes, i said it) what they should be doing...well? Please don't disappoint. Please tell us how to create our art. You're ridiculous and predictable in your comments. Get a life. Get some friends.

2 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

Speechless.... I like it !!!!

But I would like to know which gear was used in every image..., that information is not available with the files.

1 upvote
Alfred Pleyer

I can tell what gear i used to click my winning Portraits a Samsung Galaxy S3...

0 upvotes
Gasman66

Nicely lit, nicely composed photos that were quite clearly taken on rubbish gear. People have been trumpeting this concept since the "it's possible to take great pictures with a pinhole camera" days. Does it make decent gear redundant? Not a bit of it.

4 upvotes
thuongdo07

well, Architecture/Design, excellent Pictures, i like it very much :D

0 upvotes
Guenter Hofstaedter

an interessting theme! nothing for purists, but a new and interessting way to show your expressions. don´t think it must be comparable to SLR photography !
i´m loving it !

2 upvotes
jcmarfilph

This should have been painting/photo-editing award and not photography. It's obvious that you can use even the crappiest 10$ camera to take self-portrait or any lousy subject then heavily post-process it to make it look good.

5 upvotes
Lilianna

the B&W shots of the gent in the turban and smoker do not fit in this category, they are, IMHO, brilliant

2 upvotes
jcmarfilph

Yep with exceptions of course.

0 upvotes
Daniel K Berman

There is a "painting/Photo editing" award - it's the category called Visual FX :)

0 upvotes
Daniel K Berman

Great comments and discussion. The Mobile Photography Awards are for photos shot and processed on...mobile phones and devices. Just like a Street Photography Awards would be for...street photos. Nothing wrong with categories and sub-genres of the medium. We at the MPA are thrilled at the art representing our Awards this year. Whether the images won in the VisualFX category or the Landscape category. It's all good. It's all subjective. Whiners will whine that the camera isn't as good as a DSLR. You're right. And your point is...?

6 upvotes
dholl

The point is it's not Mobile Photography, it's Phone Photography.

Cameras have always been mobile. A Ricoh R4 is 7 years old, is more 'mobile' than a phone, is much more flexible and delivers better IQ.

The negative comments are because for some reason this little scene insists on calling itself something and declaring it is exclusively so. That's a bit like Apple declaring they invented the mobile phone (which they would if they could get away with it).

Faux-exclusivity and fawning over substandard output is a huge turn-off. If the phone-photography scene was a little more modest and realistic with itself, then there'd be no problem.

2 upvotes
Mishobaranovic

Dholl, this little scene is something that clearly threatens you. What exactly that threat is, is something you'll need to figure out yourself.

The Mobile Photography Awards attracted thousands of submissions from around the planet. People are choosing to participate in the movement - hence it's become real.

You denouncing it, whether through name-calling (they're all hipsters!), semantics (all cameras are mobile!!) or pixel peeping (what if it's taken with a big camera?) will not make it go away. Deal with it.

Oh and you know why this Mobile Photography thing exists? It's because people are having fun taking and making images on one device. The camera is only the starting point, it's the individuals personal vision that determines the final image.

Maybe you should take some photos with a mobile phone? It might help you lighten up.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
dholl

I read this a lot that phone-photography scenesters come back at critics with strange accusations that the critics somehow feel "threatened", that they should "deal with it".

Some of us want to protect the craft of photography so that future generations continue to create stunning real-world images. If we identify a scene which is cheapening the craft while self-congratulating itself as championing it, then of course you should expect criticism.

Deal with it.

3 upvotes
Daniel K Berman

No, you miss the point. Prior to the advent of mobile photography there were millions of people who never realized the joy of photography and/or image editing. Many of the folks who excel at mobile image making also shoot with "real" cameras. They also happen to love the immediacy of the mobile movement. There is no mutual exclusivity. Mobile photography is real and it's the best, most democratizing thing to happen to photography in long time.

Also, why are you perusing this wonderful site which is dedicated exclusively to mobile photography? Just wondering why you waste your time here. I don't spend any time, for instance, on right-wing talk radio blogs telling the wingnuts they're all crazy. Just doesn't make sense.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
dholl

This is dpreview, a place I've been shamelessly addicted to for about 7 years. I read and comment on any subject that interests me. Currently I'm interested in how the phone photography scene may be doing more harm than good to the craft of photography. This site gives me a platform to discuss this.

Why are you here? I'd never accuse you of wasting your time, you just happen to be on-message.

0 upvotes
chj

There are some very nice images here. Sure, they don't measure up to the best DSLR images, but they would have never been taken if photography was limited to $2000+ DSLR. The "craft of photography" is still best accomplished with a quality camera, but there are plenty of interesting shots taken with phones. Relax, let go of the hostility and just enjoy what you enjoy.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Mishobaranovic

Dholl, you know you're on the Connect site right? The one with mobile photography in the bi-line?

Your noble quest to protect the 'craft of photography' is oddly admirable. The problem is that most photographers (mobile or not) are too busy taking photos to care whether something is classed as real photography.

Your continued conflation of fidelity with 'real' photography is unfortunate. It means that you are unable to enjoy an image without reducing it to it's pixel count. That makes you a technician, not a critic.

2 upvotes
dholl

A few points:

- pixel count has nothing to do with fidelity (this is one of the first lessons you learn once using larger sensor cameras, or older compacts with 3-5mp)
- it's great that many are busy taking pictures, but it's also great that many are debating online. Where would art be without discussion about it?
- this might be the "connect" site, but the dpreview homepage insists on linking to it in its main news feed and incessantly also on the right-hand sie, regardless how often I 'hide' the connect-news, it still pops back in plain view after every new visit.

dpreview obviously want normal camera users to partake in this site, so here I am.

0 upvotes
Daniel K Berman

It seems to me that dholl's main issues are a) he doesn't like the term "Mobile Photography" and would rather it be called "Phone Photography." And b) that the Mobile Photography scene is full of self-congratulating wannabees who have needlessly created a false category and are causing "harm" to the craft of photography.

As for a) Perhaps we should change the name of American Football to "Throw and Run Ball" while we're busy fixing the oft-confusing and oh-so vital semantic issues facing our world.

as for b) What is the harm in categories? Yes, it's "all" photography so why distinguish? Well, TV shows and Films are both motion pictures, so why can't The Sopranos win an Oscar?

It's worth noting that one of the winners in the MPA this year is a world-famous photojournalist who has worked with Nat-Geo for two decades. He likes the challenge of shooting with a mobile. Good for him. Good for everyone who takes pictures and enjoys the process. Nothing else matters.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 52 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
LightImagery

So glad to discover from reading this discussion that I must not be a "normal camera user". LOL

For the past 50 years I've used film and now digital cameras. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all and revel in the opportunity to create images that are pleasing to myself and sometimes to others as well.

The tools of photography all have their advantages and disadvantages. The tools are also constantly evolving. This is a good thing. Otherwise we must all revert back to the 1800's if we truly wanted to be so called "purists".

Celebrating all tools of creativity an old artist friend told me long ago, it's not the wand, it's the wizard.

1 upvote
Lilianna

Interesting sampling, love the winter and travel ones, esp the Smoker.
Reading the comments saddens me however.
So much bile vented simply because a phone was used.
I see the same people constantly making snarky comments about "real cameras" and all.
I am sure were these folks painters in the 19th century they would have decried photography with just as much vehemence!

3 upvotes
dholl

Like I said above, the problem isn't the phone, the problem is the scene self-congratulating itself to oblivion.

Critical thinking improves art, the phone photography scene could seriously do with some.

3 upvotes
Lilianna

"Shoulda used a real camera"
that kind of critical thinking?
Look i see photos shot with phone, DLSR 's and even Large Format film that do nothing for me.
But i never disrespect the tools the way some here do.
As to good images here; the Gent with the Turban ; both images of him are really quite stunning...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 54 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Jarvis Grant

It's good to see all this passion about photography. It is also interesting to see the unofficial photography rule book and user manuals come out too. It all helps to keep us all on their toes!

0 upvotes
longman

There should be different categories for photographers and photoshop manipulators.
Being able to produce pictures in photoshop doesn't mean you can compose a photo..

4 upvotes
Aaron Tsuru

what are you talking about? people have been manipulating their photos since, well, since photography came about!! Hell, even Ansel Adams removed a bush or two.

2 upvotes
dholl

Again, this tired old argument that in film days people also manipulated photos, and again bringing up the tired old name of Ansel Adams.

Reality Check: what percentage of all photographers (whether hobby, pro, artist or other) manipulated film photos after taking the pic? Probably about 0.01% That's one in every ten thousand.

The vast majority just took their pics, 'manipulated' them before the actual shot (as in choosing film, filters, waiting for good light, staging light etc). They were developed mostly by a local camera shop.

What is the percentage of phone photographers who manipulate their images after actually taking them? Vastly more...perhaps 50% of all phone users who consider themselves 'photographers'.

Think about what this means for the craft of photography.

0 upvotes
Mishobaranovic

According to your arguments Dholl, it shouldn't mean anything as it's a little scene.

2 upvotes
Daniel K Berman

There are different categories. Please look through all of the pages and you'll see a Visual FX category and a Digital Painting category.

0 upvotes
Aaron Tsuru

No offense, dholl, but all photography is manipulated. From the choice of film used, the chemicals used to develop it, the paper used, hell, a black & white film photo is pure manipulation of reality!

Photography in and of itself is both the most & least honest form of art, which is what makes it so interesting to me. It captures an instant. Yet nothing in life is an instant. We add our own 1000 words to something that seems so real yet doesn't exist at all.

As a photographer, I'm so happy that with ALL this technology, CGI, video, 3D, etc, etc. that people still love static little two-dimensional images. That's a wonderful thing that is not only "protecting & saving" photography something that should be obsolete by now, but is celebrating it and expanding it!!

How awesome is that!?!

4 upvotes
joedredd

Some excellent Pictures, SLR snobbery babies aside, Photography in 'any format' can produce images worth looking at. I take my camera phone everywhere as i am sure most photographers do, when compacts and SLRs aren't convenient. I suppose it's called 'having a life', for all the wingers who make out they take their 'big' camera everywhere.
There are times some phone or compact features would be an attribute in an SLR, even to use as inspiration for incamera viewing.

3 upvotes
afterburn

I may not be an exceptional photographer myself, but I know what I like. And what I see here are just crappy dime-a-dozen instagram type shots, except one.

That exception for me is "Smoker" by Alfred Pleyer won for Travel". It has atmosphere and detail.

The rest, blegh.

2 upvotes
Ryan Williams

If you're going to criticise, at least make it constructive. Describing peoples' photographs as 'crappy instagram type shots' really is quite insulting.

The photos might not have the fidelity of those taken with a dedicated camera, but the composition and creativity on show is admirable. Admittedly I like some of the runners-up more than the winners.

The fact that you can't appreciate such works is kind of sad, and I guess partly explains why despite the money you've presumably sunk into your D800 the majority of your photos are uninspired at best. Try embracing creativity rather than gear for a change.

5 upvotes
Sean65

I'm looking forward to the day when Nikon release firmware for my D700 that would allow me to both make and receive telephone calls. How effing cool would that look on a packed 17:24 from Waterloo eh?

2 upvotes
jcmarfilph

And the winners of Dodge and Burns and Clones and Filter categories goes to.... Mr. and Ms. Photo Editor

3 upvotes
javidog

And the haters are out once more. Very amusing to read.

3 upvotes
rmbackus

It was always a quote, that it's not the camera but the artist who takes and makes the picture.

4 upvotes
plasnu

No one cares if those images are made with materials from smartphone or D800.

If you want to call them "smartphone art", they must be something ONLY possible with smartphone.

Current smartphone blah blah is nothing but media hype.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
WellyNZ

Err.. why can't you call photographs taken with a smartphone "smartphone art"?

It demonstrates what is possible or what people are doing with their smartphones NOT what is ONLY possible!

People have been shooting photographs with smartphones for years now, there's no hype about it. Most photographs posted on Flickr are shot with smartphones.

There's nothing new here - it's just a different category. You don't need to get so infuriated by it!

3 upvotes
plasnu

@WellyNZ
OK, OK.
So let's add "Mirrorless Art" to your new art category, too.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Sloppy

The whole floor in the winner pic is photoshopped, including the figure's reflexion. It's sad to see that more and more photo contests turn into photoshop skill contests rather than focus on photography skills.

12 upvotes
huyzer

What's wrong with photoshop skills? I'm all for straight photography too, but if you compare to the good ol' days of film, there was also dodging, burning, multiple exposure, blending, etc. I think, instead of decrying the skill of the people who take the time to learn those things, you can raise the bar on your own?

4 upvotes
Benarm

Things that smart phones will not be good at anytime soon:

-low light
-zoom
-bokeh
-large prints

3 upvotes
Aaron Tsuru

-low light --- true, but clever lighting can fix that.
-zoom --- who needs zoom? many people shoot prime..
-bokeh --- bokeh is tough on a smartphone camera, but fortunately, bokeh is not a requirement for art
-large prints -- yes you can. I've easily printed 8x10 on my old 2mp camera. You can blow up a 8mp pretty nicely with a decent shot.

2 upvotes
bigley Ling

Have you seen or used the Nokia 808 smartphone?

It does amazing low light photography, it has lossless 2x zoom for 8MP images.

The sensor size is only slightly smaller than the Nikon V1 or Sony RX100, so bokeh is evident in portraits.

Using the widest angle setting on the Nokia 808 one can utilize the full 38MP which is more than adequate for enlarging.

1 upvote
Benarm

Smartphone "photography" is possible but VERY limited in possibilities, even a good P&S cameras like RX100 can run circles around smartphones. There really no contest here.

"-low light --- true, but clever lighting can fix that."
Clever lighting is not always possible and will give totally different results. Some art requires low light.

"zoom --- who needs zoom? many people shoot prime.."
Are you serious? Zoom lens are more popular than primes, and great zoom lens can even replace some primes.

"-bokeh --- bokeh is tough on a smartphone camera, but fortunately, bokeh is not a requirement for art"
Bokeh is nearly impossible on smartphones. Photography art without bokeh is possible but VERY limited.

"-large prints -- yes you can. I've easily printed 8x10 on my old 2mp camera. You can blow up a 8mp pretty nicely with a decent shot."
8x10 is not really large, more like medium. The tiny sensor in a smartphone makes its MP rating irrelevant.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 57 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
WellyNZ

@Benarm,

A good medium format camera can run circles around a good P&S camera. My 8x10 large format camera can run circles around a good medium format camera. What is your point?

"Photography art without bokeh is possible but VERY limited."

WHAT? Congratulations. That is the most preposterous thing I've ever read on this forum and I've read many preposterous things on this forum.

And if you read the comment you replied to - "I've printed 8x10 on my old 2mp camera." Smartphones are now over 10mp which means you can print larger than 8x10. You could easily print 13x19 enlargements with the latest smartphones. Of course, you'll have to deal with the detail you lack in the enlargement but not every image needs to be full of detail and "tack sharp".

It appears you know not of what you speak.

2 upvotes
Benarm

@ WellyNZ,

If silly playground attacks are your best arguments, then you're a perfect candidate for the iPhone + Instagram crowd. Everything is art for them, especially "filters". Whatever, Enjoy!

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
erikvw

Purely my opinion:

Two of these, the flower category and the zebra on the beach both look incredibly "fake" to me. How powerful was the off camera light needed to get that exposure on the zebra? It really looks like a composite image to me (after looking again, am I just supposed to accept that it is 2 shots edited?) and, if it isn't, is lugging around a massive light setup really "mobile" photography anymore? I could care less what sensor you capture something with but call it what it is.

The flower shot is also so heavily processed that it has a great surreal look but has lost, for me, any and all sense of being alive.

I have a number of shots from my phone which I consider up there with the best I have taken and appreciate the platform for its availability and respectable quality.

The portraits, girl in graveyard, b&w category and the kid with the water wings are all really really nice and show that a great scene is great no matter the gear.

1 upvote
DFPanno

These fantastic images were not taken with a phone.

They were taken with a camera.

Symantics perhaps but true nontheless.

Perhaps this small point will help those struggling to "get it".

3 upvotes
Dédéjr

yes "we" get over processed mediocre images seem to please a lot of folks these day's........

4 upvotes
Nicolas Dumont

Dédéjr, what pleases or displeases people is subjective. There are a many images out there shot on DSLRs that displease many people. When you use the word mediocre, it is subjective.

1 upvote
Digitall

From an artistic point of view, yes. From "Tech. Quality" point of view, no. Or, not yet.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
VadymA

For "artistic" photography, which I do purely as a hobby, I resorted to my phone quite some time ago and didn't want anything more ever since.

But for a family archive I still prefer my D300 as I find phones are not very good in most situations except for some static scenes on a bright sunny day. Things like indoor light, large distance, fast speed, video, and yes sometimes creamy bokeh still require a better tool than a cell phone IMO.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin

From an artistic point of view, the photographies are really great.

But is that really also true from a technical point of view? Would they not have been much better if taken with a conventional camera?

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
makofoto

Would they have been taken if the shooter didn't happen to have his phone with him,

1 upvote
Aaron Tsuru

They would have been different if taken with a different camera, so they may be better.... or they may be worse.

The art is done, so the "ifs" go away.

4 upvotes
Octane

It's great photography, end of story. Since when is art defined by the device that was used. Hello, it's 2013! Today's smart phones have amazing cameras. It's funny how people still try to make it sound like it was something really groundbreaking that great quality photos can be taken with today's phones.

7 upvotes
AlanJones

Finally a place where people don't blast an image because it wasn't taken with the most expensive camera body!

I was impressed with all of the photos. A nice touch would have been to include the phone each was taken with. I would like to know top-performing phone cameras that are not an iPhone. Nothing against an iPhone but it is synonymous with great photos. There has to be others.

1 upvote
sadwitch

Really fantastic stuff

1 upvote
dholl

There are some genuinely impressive images, and like you say, regardless of the hardware & software used.

So why is there still this strange cultist thing about it being all about the phone part of the camera?

"That was taken with a phone?"
"increasing interest in mobile photography as an art form."

I'm left wondering why compact cameras aren't invited to these 'mobile' photography parties. Is it because they're not internet-enabled? What about when these cameras are internet-enabled? Is that still a separate "art-form"?

For reasons I still can't fathom, photography with a phone is being called its own "art-form", distinct from digital photography. If it's based on digital-art processing on-the-go, then the waters are gonna get muddy when dedicated cameras start offering these functions.

7 upvotes
martindesu

Agree. The only reason I can think it so, is that people are still somehow surprised that a phone, which 15 years ago was little more than that, can now take photos (just as good as those from a dedicated camera). Simply a nomenclature thing. My phone takes much better photos than my 10 year old digital camera.

I think those aware of, or interested in, technology aren't shocked, surprised or otherwise influenced by it being "taken with a phone".

2 upvotes
Dédéjr

You may think that, bet it does not in reality...

0 upvotes
Total comments: 70
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