The Best Camera is an unusual book. It is a small book that measures 6" by 6" and is 95% pictures with only a few pages of words. It is also unusual from the fact that unlike most picture books or coffee table books it was not created using a high quality camera and enhanced using massive darkroom skills or digital enhancement via Adobe Photoshop. Instead all of these images were created using the 2 megapixel iPhone camera.
The Best Camera is the brainchild of photographer, director, and social artist Chase Jarvis who began using the iPhone camera as a visual notebook in coordination with his professional work. As he continued to work with the iPhone, he realized that photographs were really not about dynamic range and megapixels, but rather about stories and moments. So, he developed an iPhone app called "Best Camera," this book, and then he tied it all together with an online community called TheBestCamera.Com.
The Best Camera is a visual notebook or a photographic journal of the author over the past year. In fact, according to Jarvis, it is a look into how he processes the visual world around him. Each picture stands on its own merit and is a look at how he examines the world as he moves through it. It is a notebook, a sketch pad, and a camera all rolled into the one device that is always with him.
The Best Camera has around 200 photographs of varying subject matter, quality of image, and techniques applied to the image. The only writing with each image is a description of what it is that is in the photograph. The book is broken down into sections that kind of describe what the next set of images will be… sort of.
To give you a better feel for the type of images you will encounter, Jarvis calls the iPhone "the new Polaroid" and his philosophy is that even if the iPhone has limitations, the challenge is to learn to work around them. It is what will make you a better photographer.
The Best Camera is a very inspiring book that shows what one can do with the most basic of tools. Some of the photos are of signs that one sees all around. Some are funny, some are colorful, and some are of graffiti. Other shots are from interesting angles, strange objects, and objects that you sometimes have to look at to recognize just what it really is.
What The Best Camera really does is inspires us to become street photogs and to just get out there and shoot. His online community is setup so that when you do, you can share your images with others, and in turn, see what they have done. The Best Camera is not an instructional book that will teach you how to take good photos, but rather it is photographic book that will teach you how to look at your world in different ways, and that will teach you how to take good photos. I highly recommend this book.