Don’t you just hate those days when you accidentally leave your cell phone at home? You curse, look at the clock, curse some more, and wonder exactly how late you’ll be as you rush back because you absolutely, positively need the darn thing. Since mobile devices have become about as essential to our everyday attire as underwear, we literally always have a camera within our immediate vicinity thanks to their photographic capabilities. But how, if any, has this proximity to the lens changed the way we capture the world?
Noted graphic designer and silkscreen artist, Josh Higgins, became fascinated by this question and was particularly interested in exploring how creative-types, from designers to musicians to photographers, use phone-based photography. Putting his curiosity into action, Phonography, at the Blind Lady Ale House in San Diego, is an original exhibition of photos, “shot on nothing but phone cameras” featuring images from such renowned creatives as Robynne Raye, Joel Templin, Paul Frank, Woody Pirtle, Christopher Simmons, and Jessica Hische, among others.
The photos are displayed as 5” x 7” prints and framed within simple black wooden frames. The show explores the uniquely personal interests of nearly 50 exceptionally talented folks spanning a cross-section of creative fields. Higgins, who is curator of the exhibition as well as founder of the Haiti Poster Project, will be donating all proceeds from the photo sales to Doctors Without Borders for Haiti relief. He explained, “I feel so fortunate to make a living doing something I love. Giving back in some small way with projects like Phonography and the poster project is the least I can do.”
Higgins conceived the idea for Phonography while perusing his own photos on a return flight from a recent trip abroad. He wondered why he had chosen to take some of the photographs with his camera and others with his phone. He also became acutely aware that “the photos in my camera were very deliberate in their set-up whereas the photos in my phone were more of the moment and spontaneous.” Expanding on the initial idea of his good friend and photographer Grant Brittain in creating a show of photographers’ phone-based photos, Higgins was curious to learn what subject matter other creatives chose to capture as well.
Featuring a random mix of visuals including obscure scenery, graffiti art, found objects, intriguing typography, and more, Phonography is not necessarily intended to be seen as “art”, as it is an exploration into how we express our artistic side through the medium of the phone. Personally, I’m a bit skeptical – with at least seven photos of my cat in varying lethargic poses on my iPhone, I don’t even want to attempt to decipher what this says about my artistic side. But with tons of creative folks that I truly admire participating in this show, I’m definitely intrigued.
Now through February 13th
Blind Lady Ale House
San Diego, CA