Photography and commentary from John Fujimagari

The Picture That Restarted My Photographic Life


I took this picture of my wife Sherri with a 2 megapixel Nokia cell phone. It was actually my second camera phone. The first was a Motorola phone that took 640×480 images that were really bad. As a consequence I didn’t use the Motorola’s camera except for the most utilitarian photos. The Nokia slider model that I bought had an actual shutter release button on the outside of the case and handled like a tiny point and shoot camera.

I love the light in this shot. It’s natural light coming in from windows on either side of her. This showed me, that even with a less capable camera, I could still create a pleasing image. I got this camera phone in 2006 which was about fifteen years since I had done any significant amount of shooting with my film Nikon cameras. I bought Sherri a point and shoot APS film camera in about 2000. I had drooled over the Kodak DCS digital bodies with their Nikon F-Mount in the mid 1990’s, but the $24,000.00 price point was a significant drawback at the time (it still would be, for that matter). A friend of mine had purchased a Sony Mavica digital camera which recorded images onto a 3½” floppy disks! I think that it was nearly $800 at the time. I thought that was too much, and the price of digital wouldn’t be coming down significantly for a long time to come and the APS cameras would be around for the foreseeable future. Boy, how wrong can you be? I don’t think we shot 10 rolls of APS film with that point and shoot.

After getting the Nokia, I don’t think we used the APS camera again. I shot with the camera phone regularly until late in 2007, when I bought my Nikon D80 (the camera that my wife now uses). I shot over 8000 frames with the D80 before I pre-ordered the Nikon D300s in 2009. In the last 2 years, I’ve shot over 14,000 images with the D300s and another 5000 with my P6000. That isn’t a huge amount by most fulltime pro’s standards, but I’ve been steadily increasing how much I’ve been shooting. This year, inspired by my friends Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou, I started shooting film again, with the help of a few “new to me” old cameras. My friends Barry Ryziuk and Dave Pattinson convinced me that a new iPhone was also what I needed. So, I’ve added iPhoneography to my efforts, bringing me full circle to the cell phone image above that inspired me to live a photographic life again.

Do you aspire to live a photographic life?

In the best light…


2 responses

  1. I love this photograph so much, and I love your words even more. A colleague recently told me, after I nervously shared my new blog with her, that it isn’t always about the equipment, but more about the eye of the person behind it. I have been asked what lens I use, what aperture. Should I be embarrassed to admit I have a wee little camera? Never. I have only just discovered photography (and 50 is just around the corner!). Maybe one day I will get a “grown up” camera. Until then, my little Nikon and I will continue to explore my new photographic life.


    October 21, 2011 at 06:09

    • Thanks Donna-Lee, for me, photography is easy and writing is a lot harder. While I love the pro quality gear that I’ve acquired, my most recent sale was a photo taken with my Nikon P6000 (a camera that cost me less than $500). I’m glad that I have equipment to use and, I’ll make the best of it. Just remember, Chase Jarvis, who can use any camera that he likes, is a big proponent of the Apple iPhone camera; and takes some darn nice pictures with it.


      October 22, 2011 at 17:57

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