mobile photography technology, culture and community

From PetaPixel: Documentary compares Instagramer to pro photographer


Michael Zhang of PetaPixel has shared an interesting documentary film that examines the differences, and similarities, between a mobile photographer and a DSLR-carrying professional.

The Kickstarter-funded "Portrait" directed by Andy Newman follows Cory Staudacher, a Seattle-based graphic and web designer with more than 174,000 followers on his @withhearts Instagram account, and Andria Lindquist, a Seattle-based professional photographer. The 20-minute film sets out to explore the question, "In the age of Instagram, what sets a professional photographer apart?"


Total comments: 4

I see one as a photographer with a nice DSLR and the other a snapshot guy with a camera phone. People have been taking snapshots (read: throwaways) since the Brownie. Only difference now is there's Instagram so your snapshot can be beamed around the world in seconds. Big deal.

The two subjects here, IMHO, aren't even comparable. The clients who would hire the lady photographer want a photographer with good gear and consistency and reputation. They wouldn't just look for some guy with a phone. The guy with the camera phone and all his camera phone toting buddies aren't photographers.

The saying goes, if you give somebody a piano they say they have a piano. You give them a phone with a camera and they say they're photographers.

I don't know how she can do all her post processing sitting cross-legged on her couch with her notebook on her lap. Moot point for the phone guy: he just beams his snapshots via Instagram and, Voila! he's a photographer!

Edited 2 minutes after posting

A difficult comparison, this, almost impossible. The professional and "amateur" as we tend to select them, might both be very proficient. What tells them apart is, the pro works the cameras for a living while the amateur probably finances his/her photography. But I have met a lot of amateurs which had more knowlege than some pros, simply because they (the amateurs) were more interested in what they do. Dumb as it seems, some pros are so deep in their special field that they forgot the rest. It's a sort of a dinosaur syndrome which rarely happens to a serious amateur.
In the sense of equipment, other than appearance, cameras are just tools, and nothing more. How one uses one's tools is not dependent upon pro or amateur status, rather upon the personality of their user. Thus, "pro", "amateur", DSLR, iPhone, compact, Instagram, Facebook... any combination might work, but it will always be 90% author + 10% tools.
Good documentary, though.

1 upvote
Nishi Drew

The distinction between the two is interesting, Andria just needs to be named a professional, while we need to be reminded that Cory has 174,000 followers. The title and DSLR defines her, while the number of followers and iPhone define him. Pictures from her are a speciality, something you can't get everyday, pictures from him are the everyday that everyone else can join in on and be a part of. Neither are better over the other, but compliment each other in the field of photography, one is more specialized while the other is 'connected' and with less of an emphasis on photography itself. But, both are still focused on people and their lives, the human factor will always be the most important.


Love the documentary and how it was presented, credit to all the people involved. Now maybe I am biased but I think Andria have the right idea on her philosophy about her photography.

Total comments: 4
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