London 2012: The Smartphone Olympics?

Main Image Detail149993376 / Marianna Massey / Getty Images Sport


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London 2012: Smartphone images satisfy photographer’s urge to capture the moment.

True, our photographers captured the 2012 London Olympics by way of robotics, underwater cameras, 3D and more — using all the latest technology. But couldn't resist getting their smartphones out as well, to capture those 'snapshot' moments.

Photographer Marianna Massey, who was among our team of photographers covering the Olympics, gave us the scoop on why she likes snapping on her smartphone.

GI: What do you like about smartphone photos compared to regular images?
MM: I think of smartphone photos as way to record moments in my life and the things going on around me. Being a professional photographer, sometimes you don’t want to lug all of your heavy gear around with you, but you still have that innate instinct to record, so the smartphone is a great way to do that and share it with the world almost instantaneously.
GI: What does it capture that’s interesting to you?
MM: I think it captures those fleeting moments that we often let slip by because no one has a camera  – and for me it has really sparked a new love with snapshot photography.
GI: How have the Olympics been to shoot on your smartphone? What has it offered?
MM: Covering the Olympics with my smartphone has been so much fun: The fans, the colors, the architecture, there is just so much going on that everywhere I turn there are pictures to be made. The Olympics are an image-rich environment, and I think by having this Getty Smartphone feature it has really allowed us photographers to get quite creative.
GI: Do you think smartphone imagery can ever rival regular pictures?
MM: Well I think the short answer is no. We use some of the best photographic equipment on the market and the quality of the image just could never stack up. But, that being said, I think we still apply the same elements of making a great photograph when we use our smartphones: the composition, the subject, the use of light — and they make a great addition to our camera bag and to the Getty Images site. And, as technology gets better and better, who knows what’s next!
GI: Do you think it’s style more than composition/ content?
MM: I think every photographer brings their own style to smartphone photography and the filters you choose and the way you compose it are all personal choices. I think that our photographic skills and technique still play a huge part in the way we use our smartphones to make pictures.
GI: What do you think about the fact that there are so many apps to make pictures look old when you shoot such new content digitally? Do you think there’s a trend towards nostalgic looking content?
MM: Yes, I think with all of the technology surrounding us, that sometimes people get nostalgic for times past and the look and feel that film used to lend to images. I used to use Kodak Kodachrome film when I first started taking pictures back in high school, and the colors really were amazing — so it’s great to see so many people interested in achieving that look again. I generally think that smartphone photography has inspired a revival of the still image.
Editor’s note: This interview was originally published on the Getty Images blog. Marianna Massey covered the Olympics as part of the Getty Images team. Follow her on Instagram @mmimages.

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