Photographer, Lisa Bettany is setting off on an around the world with just an iPhone to capture photos for her first travel photography book. Inspired by the freedom and creativity of iPhoneography, Lisa is leaving her expensive professional camera gear at home for the adventure of a lifetime.
photos from Cambodia
In every country, I find myself drawn to taking pictures of people. I’ve always been attracted to people photos much more than landscapes or macros. For me it’s the people that really tell the story of a place.
Cambodian people seem modest and shy. They are light on their feet and move with peaceful stillness. Chugging motor bikes kick up clouds of fine red dust as school children run along the side of road after school just minutes away from the majestic temples of Angkor Wat.
Without the hum of tuk tuk motorcycles, I feel as if I’m transported back in time. There is a serenity here that is hard to describe.
A little girl runs up to me on the banks in front of the temple. She just laughs, points to a sleeping dog, and runs away.As she plays in the muddy water, modernity seems far away.
That is until I see a small local boy biding his time at his elephant carving stand playing Angry Birds on his phone. They are everywhere. Angry.
It’s hard to recall a time when things weren’t like this. The horrors of the Khmer Rouge reign over these beautiful people seem distant and rarely mentioned except by tour guides who offer to take you to the Killing Fields — “a very bad place,” they whisper.
I didn’t go to the Killing Fields. I’d rather remember Cambodia for what it is now than to gawk at a case of skulls with a large group of snap happy tourists. It just doesn’t seem respectful to take photos of those who perished in such an abhorrent manner.
Cambodia is looking to the future. With such a beautiful climate and a preserved ancient wonder, I will be surprised if Angkor Wat doesn’t become a tourist hot spot in a few years. I suggest visiting now to get a glimpse of this beautiful, serene country.
I’m not going to lie, I was concerned about getting malaria in Cambodia. My immunization doctor really put the fear in me when she pointed to the dark red malaria-infested areas surrounding the central strip of Cambodia outside Phnom Pehn and Siam Reap and said, “don’t go here”.
After being wound up about it for the weeks leading up to this trip, I honestly didn’t think about it until I was in the plane leaving Siam Reap and Scott squished this little guy up against the window.
And now I head to Botswana… also in the red… concerned.
Muk muk is a well traveled marmot. He’s been with me ever since he hoped in my bag at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Although he spends most of the time inside my bag, every once in a while he’ll hop out and enjoy the view.
If someone would have told me a few years ago that I could take this picture with an iPhone I would’ve called them a sucka fool. Now, it’s possible. This photo didn’t require years of photography training or a thousand dollar camera, I just needed to get up at 5am and trek down to the epic temple and squat in the mud for a few hours. Easy peasy.
I’ve been doing a lot photography soul searching on this trip. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I missed having my 5DMKII with me. That camera has been my second skin for the past 2 years. I never left the house without it and actually used to sleep with it on my bedside table, so leaving it behind was tough.
When I set off each morning at the crack of dawn, I have a few sulky minutes where I lament about not having my 5D, but slowly but surely I start taking amazing photos with my iPhone. If there is a shot that doesn’t work, I try to make it work or move on a focus on what I can capture.
I came on this journey as a challenge to prove that anyone can take great photos. I truly believe this. Obviously, a $5000 with a $3000 L-lens camera can take a sharper image with better depth of field than an iPhone, but the art of photography isn’t all about pixel peeping and the quality of a shot when magnified to 100x.
There were over a hundred people sat in front of this reflecting pool in Angkor Wat. Some had big fancy dSLRs, but most people had a compact camera, or a mobile phone. I want each and every one of those people to get an epic shot, because once you are there it’s all about composition and angles which are things you can practice and learn.
The most important factor in a great photo is great composition and content, not a great camera.