It was liberating to take pictures using just the barest of photography gears—the smartphone camera. No heavy equipment coupled with the sound of the shutter click. No lens that would instantly label one as ‘tourist’ or for better or for worse ‘photographer’. Just that unobtrusive yet common-looking black slab that almost everyone has.
It is not that I resent or don’t want to carry a full fledged camera paired with a constant aperture lens in everyday life, but it is just too obvious for invisibility that to the rest of the world, you would instantly be someone carrying a camera—and that alone can subtly influence people on how to deal with your presence.
I believe that the more unobtrusive a person is while taking pictures in the everyday, everywhere setting, the better, because sometimes, the camera—and also the one wielding it—can be an unpleasant distraction. I tried carrying my first DLSR, a 6 megapixel veteran named D40 to streets, malls, and everywhere, and still the black boxy camera almost always invite looks that range from fleeting curiosity to feigned worry that it might record their faces in unpleasing angles and hence violate their right to a beautiful photo.
The smartphone camera I’m using right now can take fine photos without that bulk. Yes, it is severely limited especially when I compare it to a full-frame beast, but then there’s a special challenge inherent to the taking of pictures using one. And it is quite pleasing every time you get a shot you like.