Photojournalism at the Crossroads is a series from Lightbox that takes a closer look at how photographers are creatively revisiting traditional ways of image making or using the latest digital technology to revitalize the genre and reach a wider audience.
During an embed with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, in February, Associate Press photographer David Guttenfelder used his iPhone to make images of the battle for Marjah in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. “I was on assignment for the Associated Press, so my priority was photographing hard news, but I also had my iPhone with me. I used it with the application ShakeItPhoto, which gives the image the look and feel of a Polaroid photo. Afghanistan, the front lines of a war, is one of the few remaining places that the public, with its consumer camera phones, does not go.”
“I wanted to make some pictures that had the look or mood of the keepsake shots that the Marines take themselves. I’ve noticed that the new generation of Marines and soldiers take a lot of photos and videos, even when they are in combat situations. Most use phones or point-and-shoot cameras and make gritty keepsake pictures to remember what their lives were like on the deployment and to post or show their friends and family back at home.”
“People who might normally ignore coverage of Afghanistan or ignore traditional photos from the war,” Guttenfelder observes, “paid attention to these iPhone pictures because they use similar cameras every day to document their own lives. As a result, they were drawn into the story by these photos, a connection was made, and the photos got a lot of attention.”
For more from the series Photojournalism at the Crossroads