The iPhone camera, who would ever imagine that after thought on a cell phone, could produce amazing art. The Art of iPhone Photography not only dispels that myth, it then goes on to describe the techniques used to create that art. It is an impressive book.
Where to start? For the photography alone, as a coffee table book, this book is worth the purchase price. Never mind this is one of most intense photography books I have ever read. The Art of iPhone Photography does something I have never seen in any art form, it describes in illustarted step by step detail how the masters created an incredible image.
In a rare twist for photography books, the writing is perfection. The authors edited this book down to perfection.
The first step in creating this book was to find excellent photography. The authors have found work that ranges from masterpieces to good images. Because this is a compilation of 45 different photographers, there are styles I loved and others I didn't care for. In the end, all are technical masterpieces and amazed me that they were shot with the iPhone camera.
The over 350 page book is organized around tutorials, with a gallery intermission in the middle. Each tutorial starts with a single page reproduction of the final image. On the next pages there is a description of what the tutorial is about, the kinds of things that will be learned. Then the photographer describes their thought process, creative inspiration, and why they chose the apps or steps they did. Then the tutorial starts with which apps were used followed by descriptions of the step and pictures illustrating what was done. I particularly loved the starting raw image. Sometimes I would look at that image and think; this was the inspiration for that finished image? Wow, that person is incredibly creative. The tutorial ends with a summary and more words from the photographer about their philosophy. There is a short biography and sometimes a side bar of something the photographer wants to emphasize.
The last few pages include a list of all the apps referenced in the tutorials, and on which page they are mentioned. There is a dizzying list of apps. Each app listed has a short description of why somebody would want to use it.
Given that 45 different people contributed to this production, I have no idea how the authors managed to get such crystal clear tutorials and instructions. There were a few photographers that glossed a long ways over what they do, but by and large the detail was amazing. I particularly disliked the portrait photographer in the early chapters that said, focus for the eyes and expose for the face, unclutter the background, and then don't do anything else to the picture. Yeah, that is really easy to say after 30 years of professional experience; doing it is another matter altogether.
These tutorials are intense. I was exhausted after my first read through this book. The key to this book is to understanding a technique, applying filters or learning how to use a few new apps. And then applying that to the style of photography you love. The authors covered virtually every genre of photography - there is something for everybody to learn.
The other use of the book is pure inspiration. The book contains an amazing gallery of photographs with only one thing in common that they were all shot with an iPhone. Somehow the images manage to feel coherent as if they belong together.
Is the iPhone camera the greatest photography invention? Well, I don't necessarily believe that. As Henry Ford didn't invent the car and Eastman Kodak didn't invent the camera; they both made their products accessible to everybody. The iPhone camera has made photography accessible to everybody, and as the authors say so perfectly, it has added spontaneity to photography. Yes spontaneity is an incredible invention.
I was provided a review sample.