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Teen Essay: It&'s quick, fun to take iPhone pics, but is it art?

Anyone can write a poem, but not everyone is a great poet.

Although it is possible for anyone to write poetry, paint a picture or create music, it does not mean that anyone who does so is very good at it. An artist is either born talented or spends a great amount of time becoming talented. However, in an era that relies heavily on technology and social media, people have begun to think that because of the easy accessibility we now have to tools that help create and share artistic talents, we are all artistic. Of course, anyone who is talented should use these tools to express and share it, but it is another thing to believe that since these tools are now available to anyone, everyone has become an artist.

I came to acknowledge this new art movement after stumbling upon a magazine called iPhotographers. As the title suggests, the magazine concentrates on the use of iPhones to take photos.

In a country that has the highest percentage of iPhone users as well as constant marketing campaigns, it is no wonder we have adopted the idea that iPhones are the cool new way to take photos. Why? Well, as Apple claims to have the best camera on its iPhones, it is also far easier to carry a small, thin device in your pocket wherever you go than to carry a heavy professional camera that requires a computer to be able to share photos.

There is no doubt that taking photos through iPhones is far more convenient than going through the trouble of purchasing an expensive camera, learning how to properly use it and developing the skills to know which settings are the best for whatever shot you are taking. But is convenience going to overrule quality?

In a society where immediacy already is valued higher than quality, it is no surprise our youth culture prefers convenience. We want things to get done fast. And what is faster than aiming your iPhone camera at an object, touching the screen to take a photo, choosing which filter to use and uploading it to whatever social website you'd like to share it with? Nothing compares.

I do not propose to stop taking photos through iPhones or to stop using apps to edit, filter or share photos on services such as Instagram, but for the sake of all the inspiring photographers that have put a vast amount of time, effort and even money to become skillful in this art, reconsider calling yourself a photographer.

The only skills required to take iPhone or Instagram photos is what and how you take a photo and which edits or filters to choose. And yes, although some of it does require something of an artistic eye and a bit of creativity, it is still not half of what a person requires to properly call themselves a photographer. So please do continue to pursue your hobby of picture taking and snap shooting; just leave the photography to the professionals. Because anyone can take a photo, but it takes true artistic talent to be a great photographer.

Catherine Ramirez, 16, is a senior at Maria Carrillo High School. Adapted from the Puma Prensa student newspaper.


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