Scrambled Eggs has been an annual photographic exhibition in Adelaide for the last six years, and the 2015 exhibition of iPhoneography or more correctly, mobile phone photography, is back in the form of Skrambled Eggs 6 at the De La Liff Gallery in Rundle Place in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall until January 15.
The ethos of the Skrambled Eggs collective is that you don’t need the latest, expensive professional gear to make photographs, since it’s all about working with what equipment that you have with you at the time. It’s an ethos that I wholeheartedly concur with. It shift’s the emphasis from gear acquisition syndrome to the imagery and what it means for us.
Alice Healy, Underwater
The work on show in the Skrambled Eggs 6 exhibition is what happens when you put a trained, professional eye of the members of the photographic industry in Adelaide behind the camera of a mobile phone. The cameraphone is deemed to be a viable creative option, and the show highlights that photos produced by a modern camera-phone with a designer’s eye is quite different to the world of a mass of low-quality, self-serving images that was used by the early critics of mobile phone photography to trash it as kitsch, decry it as the cult of the amateur and dismiss the imagery as not photography, properly so called.
Firstly, Skrambled Eggs 6 is not a curated exhibition. It is a collection of two dozen, mostly industry-based photographers, who have a number of images each in their own allocated space . I looks as if they were given free reign by the organisers with respect to the work. What unites the diversity of images and approaches (abstract, experimental, street, landscape, urbanscape etc ) is the view that the camera does not make the photographer. It’s not what gear you’ve got, it’s the way you use it. The emphasis is on the trained professional eye.
‘Professional’ is left undefined, but it conventionally refers to a profession and to the qualities that are attributed to this profession. Usually professions are identified by their organizational structure (in this case the SA branch of AIPP) that ensures that certain standards of quality and expertise are upheld. Judging from the exhibition the inference is that a photographic profession is a loosely defined collection of individuals who earn money by taking and selling images.
The work of Kate Burns (Atkins) shows the emphasis of the trained professional (designer’s) eye. The large black and white toned images made while driving through North America on a recent trip in the US have an emotional edge that references, and contributes to, the Australian Romantic tradition’s representation of mystery and darkness and our attraction to, and fear of, dark places. The work is distinctly local, and its contestatory embrace of internationalism breaks with the provincialist bind that both continues to define Adelaide and South Australia and identifies Romanticism with the sublime of nature as wilderness. The representation of a sense of desolation and foreboding with respect to the US in Burn’s images also have traces of the world-wide shift from modern to contemporary art.
Kate Atkins, Overhead
This work shifts Australian Romanticism away from a melancholic yearning or a nostalgia for communion with nature to on that acts as a critique of contemporary US society from an Australian perspective.
Mobile phone photography has definitely come of age, and its current intersection with social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) has taken photography into new territory. Mobile phone photography is essentially a networked camera in that mobile phones are the central device that has a networked output and audience for the work. The web is becoming more visual and the easiest stories to consume, create or share aren’t text based. They’re photo based.
The social form of photography is where we are now, and no doubt the image quality will continue to improve as well as the interconnectivity with the newer mobile phone models. Apple’s marketing for the iPhone for instance, really pushes the capabilities of its camera and the good quality of pictures it produces. In the rapidly approaching, mobile-first world mobile devices are the new glossy magazines; text-ridden sites are boring, black and white newspapers. Continue Reading…