Boy Scout Photography merit badge pamphet cover.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Gary Nakayama - SF Bay Area, California, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. If you think about it, kids are exposed (hee hee) to a lot of non-phone cameras. At least they were, but I imagine they still are. Most of the sports teams my kids were on had team pictures and there are of course school pictures. Any kind of theme park has photographers stationed at various places to give parents the opportunity to pay for pictures of their progeny. Probably not many parents willing (yet) to shell out cash for a picture of their kid somebody took with a cell phone.

    Show up at any elementary school recital or play and you'll see gobs of actual cameras. I'm sure the kids notice. If they play sports into high school they'll see more than their share of multi-thousand dollar camera and lens combos.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  2. Do you use the term “real cameras” with the kids? I hope they’re getting the message that different cameras are good for different situations and that the quality, ergonomics, ease of use, and effectiveness vary dependent on type of camera and context of use.

    By letting them go "wild shooting their phones" and "progressing" from there, I wonder if you're needlessly reinforcing a prejudice you have about phones. I think they could be encouraged to use their phone cameras in a reasonable, creative, and convenient way to learn what advantages and unique characteristics they have, moving on to film cameras and how important they are, all done without all the judgment.

    Looking back, I find my best and most effective teachers to have been the ones who presented the material in a convincing and unbiased way and let me do the judging or, even better, leave the judging at home until I learned the material really well.
  3. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Fred, I dont know why you assume I have any prejudice to phone cameras? Phones have cameras but are limited to what they can do, that is what is conveyed to the kids as they get to see different cameras. Although phone camera are improving and one day will take the place of "REAL" cameras. I just let the kids compare their photos to more expensive dslrs and film photos and they see the differences themselves, I dont have to point that out... they just don't know the terminology to describe it. They ask me why my pix look so much better and want to shoot like I do... thats inspiration! When we go to galleries n museums they picked up on the differences right away. Its a process of introducing them to photography. "Real cameras" is just a term I used for you, not for the kids... I think you do know the difference? My RB67 system compared to an IPhone?

    When dealing with kids.. it has to be fun or they shut down. I let kids be kids and have fun learning. you'd be very surprised how smart they are and how willing they are to learn. we are talking about kids here, not adults.. To kids, its about encouragement and inspiration, they have to feel and want as you lead them down the path. I let the kids discover as if it was their idea. Make suggestions and experiment is what its all about.
  4. Referring to film cameras as "real" as opposed to cell phone cameras led me to that assumption. "Limited" is different from "not real." Every camera has limitations and I hope the kids are taught that.
    If they want to shoot like you do, they should learn how to compose, care about expression, expose for what they're doing, etc. They don't need to use a camera like yours.
    Yes. Likely because photographers showing in museums and galleries are better photographers than them. You could take them to plenty of galleries of photographers using cell phones and they could be just as impressed.
    Actually, I wouldn't. I know plenty of smart kids willing to learn.
  5. Paul, I'm being intentionally difficult because I think a lot can be done with cell phones and a lot of kids won't want or won't be able to afford more than cell phones. I think giving them the sense that cell phones are "less than" is unnecessary and unproductive. I'd much prefer kids get whatever potential they can out of whatever camera they're able to access. For many kids, all they will ever easily have access to is a cell phone. Even with a cell phone, they can develop an eye for photography, for seeing, for being creative, and for expressing themselves. There is a whole lot of prejudice about cell phone cameras put forth on the pages of PN. I'm sorry if I'm associating some of the things you've been saying with that. It's definitely influencing my reaction here.
  6. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    well Fred back when i was involved with kids, flip phones were popular. today phone cameras are so advanced in comparrison. have you seen this?....

    Pixter Pro Pack

    but aside what they have access to... alowing them an oportunity to use better equipment as well as see improvements in their work as a result, is all they need as inspiration. im not asking them to buy cameras, i let them shoot my cameras when they advance. how can you learn photography if you use an all auto p&s? dof, different lenses n effects, exposure adjustments are a mystery if a computer is doing the job for ya. we want mindless kids? educate them so they have the control and understand the art n science of it... even using a pinhole camera as a learning tool.

    but to limit them to only what they have access to now as kids, is just traping their imaginations and inhibiting their potential.

    i guess you will only drive that old ford you took the road test in? ever wanted to try a farari? i give them dreams fred... expose them to everything and let them know what their options are. kids grow up and that means better toys... at least they saw whats available and what it can do. some of those kids will become photographers or race car drivers. most will never want or need anything more than a cell phone camera and the old ford... but they can say they know a little about it.

    what it boils down to is use what you have, but at least know there is greener grass if you want it. how advanced do you want to be?

    btw you mention what they can only afford?.... their cell phones cost more than a pro quality medium format camera. you can get an rb67 with 2 lenses for $300... a used canon dslr with a kit lens is under $500.... the new iphone is $900! so what they can actually afford is relative to what tgeir parents are willing to waste their money on.... mom n dad are buying the phones, why not get them a camera too if tge kid shows an interest?
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  7. No.
    I'm all for the kind of education you're offering them. I did not question the eduction part or learning about the nuances of shooting in non-auto modes. I questioned your suggesting (whether to them or to me) that cell phone cameras were unreal in comparison to film cameras. When they get the education you're talking about, they may still make the choice to shoot great photos with their cell phones and shouldn't be made to feel inferior (or less of a "real" photographer) for doing so.
    I wasn't advocating limiting them to what they've got. I was saying that many kids will be limited for a variety of reasons to cell phones and they have the potential to be good photographers, develop good eyes, and learn lots about how to make a good picture. Their cameras shouldn't be compared negatively to "real" cameras. This conversation has been about the Boy Scouts and many of them simply won't have the opportunity or desire to work with other cameras than the ones they have and that should suffice for their purposes.
    I have a 5D and a cell phone. I like using both of them and get good results with both of them and use them each a little differently and find different situations for each. They don't compete with each other. They complement each other. I judge my advancement by my photos, not my equipment.
    Believe it or not, that's exactly what I took my road test in, a big old green Ford Custom (that I paid $500 for when I graduated college) and drove it across country to California where I've stayed for the last 43 years. Now I drive a Subaru Legacy. It gets me where I want to go. I take public transportation a lot, to help the environment and because the traffic and parking here are hell! :)
    No. Not my thing.
  8. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    hahahaha still have that old ford? ill bet its a collector by now.

    fred you actally answer your own questions.... each tool has its use. you reach the limiting factor and find another tool better suited for the job. 5d vs cell phone.

    suppose you had an oportunity to try a farari on a track? think youd notice any difference between the cars? its the experience they take with them... holding a real camera does exactly that. they get a taste.... and thats what merrit badges are all about. merit badges arent meant to train anyone for jobs, they are introductions with enough meat to give the boys options to do things they might never otherwise.
  9. The question I’m asking is why you refer to cameras other than cell phone cameras as “real.” You’ve answered a whole lot of other questions you seem to think or are pretending to think I’ve asked, but not that one.

    No. I don’t have the Ford, lol. It died buried in about 30 inches of snow on a winter trip to Boston.
  10. Fred, everyone including kids knows what is meant by a "real camera" compared to a phone camera. No need to make such a big deal out of it and be so overprotective towards phone cameras and people that use them. Yes, both can take real photographs.
  11. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    " REAL" you keep pulling out of context is for the adult audiance here who i supose are photographers or enthusiests that know the difference between cameras. if you want me to call it something else, real offends you, tell me what you want me to call them? i try to make everyone happy.

    comparing a system camera eg rb67 or a hassie,to a cell phone camera... what do you think the correct terminology should be other than real? phones werent designed to be cameras, its a value added feature. recently its becoming a more developed camera. but not nealy the level of a pro level camera where the user will need to know certain things to use it. you may see a cult developing around cell phone cameras like polaroids... but still point n shoot mindless cameras you cant really call cameras, maybe recorders will make happy?

    so getting back to kids... i let them drive my farari for the experiance of driving a real car. they get to realize differences and get to use the mush between their ears.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  12. Different.
  13. Part of teaching kids to use their imagination could be a teacher who's able to recognize not only the creative possibilities in either cell phones or polaroids but the creative accomplishments already existent with these cameras. Your calling them cults really comes as no surprise and probably doesn't carry the shock value you were stretching for, given the history and importance of both cameras.



    I could find similar links for art photography being done with cell phones but, since you're the teacher I'll let you do the research yourself. Maybe even better if you have your kids do the research as a way to offer them an alternative perspective from their teacher's.
  14. diptych-w.jpg

    Here's a diptych I recently put together from two photos I took with my iPhone. If I remember correctly, I took them when returning from my meeting with the local chapter of Cultists for Cellphones, a group of local citizens dedicated to the use of unreal cameras with the sole malicious purpose of undermining real photography and real photographers.

    The reason I took these with my cell phone is that they were quick grabs taken more out of instinct than preparation and I didn't think I needed my 5D to get what I wanted and didn't have it with me anyway. Generally, I don't use my iPhone camera to take more formal portraits and considered photos because the iPhone doesn't usually give me the kind of results and possibilities I want when doing that sort of work. There are exceptions.

    Kids who aren't taught the possibilities in and the power of the cell phones that are always in their pocket, while at the same time being taught about the differences between their cell phone and their other types of cameras, are getting an incomplete picture.
  15. OMG......
  16. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Lovely pix Fred. I love the colors and your perspective. Well done.
  17. Thanks. :)
  18. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Speaking of cell phones as cameras, I was taking photos (Nikon film cameras) in New Orleans' French Quarter last year (as I am wont to do). As I was walking along behind several people, one of them was blasting away with a cell phone. I don't know how many photos he took in the 30 seconds I was behind him, but if he gave more than 2 seconds deliberation per photo, I'm a monkey's uncle. Talk about spray and pray.

    Hmm... why would you want
    to be a lowly monkey's
  19. There may be no reason for him to have given more than 2 seconds of deliberation to each photo. I can think of so many reasons why he may have been doing this. They range from . . . a guy with a camera shouldn't necessarily be thought of as or compared to a photographer . . . to . . . he was documenting his walk or something he was seeing as he was walking and wanted a series of quick snaps . . . to . . . he knew he could take a hundred photos and then go back and choose "the best" . . . to . . . it's a form of turrets . . . :rolleyes:

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