Since the first time mobile phones were given camera function, users have been given a hard time for using the device for photography. But that was a time when phones were still only good for, well, being a communication device. In the age of smartphones where some models can even shoot HD-quality videos, having a good built-in camera is a prerequisite for all mobiles. Zam Nayan, founder of mobile-photography collective TinPix, noticed this and wondered if there can be such a thing as gallery-worthy photography done purely using mobile phones. This idea was exactly what gave birth to Made in Phones: a Mophog Group Exhibition, held for the first time at Minut Init recently.
To the uninitiated, elitist and technologically-unaware, scepticism abounds at such a concept. If you were there and you had any of that thought, we wager it was quickly destroyed as soon as you took a gander at the photos presented. Nadia J’s morbid black and white series of abstract photography -the Metamorphosis Series – had us staring into the abyss and spew an oft-quoted line by Nietzche while Danial Radzmi’s portrait of the late Yasmin Ahmad was as poignant as any form of photography can get. When something can muster a feeling out of you, it is art.
These two weren’t the only photographers featured of course; the exhibition had 378 works displayed by 25 mophogs (a term TinPix came up with for mobile photographers). Coming from different backgrounds, their works reflected that. Ili FM, music journalist, ex-JUICE Writer and lecturer, displayed her concert photos encased in show tags and Vini Balan’s ‘Afoot Series’ showed her fondness for travel and her foot fetish (we kid).
Just as mobile phones aren’t restricted to just having a camera function, the exhibition also screened 10 international short films and music videos shot using mobiles. Some stand outs were the already famous Splitscreen: A Love Story by James W Griffith (it’s amazing, google it) and Zam Nayan’s own Projek: 2008ku, a video collecting 365 photos taken on each day of 2008.
The event also featured talks on mobile photography by Prakash Daniel and Aga Dhiyaulhaq as well as a meet and greet-cum-Q&A session with the mophogs.
With Made in Phones, Minut Init lived up to its reputation for hosting small art shows that are a little out there. We thought TinPix had a successful experiment, mobile photography is gallery-worthy.
Made in Phones: A Mophog Group Exhibition was organised by TinPix and held at Minut Init last 29 July to 31 July. Check out more mobile photography at tinpix.tumblr.com.