Women With Bad Cameras

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After my little experiment to show that good cameras are not essential to taking good pictures, I still felt the point could be made clearer with more real-world examples. If I could show good photos taken by other people with less than stellar cameras that would be a big step in the right direction.

It was time to expand the experiment. I contacted a few people I knew on Twitter who took very nice pictures and whose camera quality was sufficiently suspect, and that’s how this wonderful showcase of Women With Bad Cameras came to be.

Alexa Brown

Alexa is an actress and a model, living in London and travelling to the far flung corners of the British Isles and beyond, as she battles rodents, spiders and runaway cars for her craft. She is also a freelance writer.

She received her first camera as a free gift with her bank account, and has since used a Polaroid camera, a series of unglamorous phone cams, and some disposables. The pictures here were taken with A Sony Ericsson K800i, an iPhone 3G and a 3GS.

Alexa Brown can be found at her website and @alexabrown on Twitter. She assures me she will be the official announcer of Government safety warnings at the Apocalypse, so I feel it prudent to follow her daily musings.

Alexa Brown and Thomas the cat

Sweet shop

Human expressions

Candid girl

Castle in Kent

Stairs in Hong Kong

American landscape

Andrea McLeod

Andrea is from Brisbane, but now lives, breathes and practices her Hindi skills on the unsuspecting passengers of Mumbai’s local trains. She loves travelling, cameras, good books, good food, and bad movies, which she used to write reviews for at some point. In her day job, she works for Help A Child, an NGO that funds the higher education of deserving students from the villages of India.

When she was 12, Andrea was gifted her first film camera, and she’s been clicking away ever since. She was a reluctant convert to digital photography and has stuck to phone cams and cheap point-and-shoot compacts. Most of her images below were taken with a Blackberry 8520 phone and a Kodak C613 compact.

Andrea McLeod can be found at her hibernating blog (which she should be goaded into restarting) and @andreaclear on Twitter. I follow her for her uncanny skill of staring blankly at computer screens while wondering what she wanted to do.

Boats at Varanasi

Minarets in Hyderabad

Open roof at Churchgate Station

Auto-rickshaw at Hampi

Amber Fort in Rajasthan

Boys at a jaggery factory in Karnataka

Beach in Goa


Leena practices immigration law in Oakland, CA. She also dabbles in writing, music, acting, and radio presentation on the side, and would be very happy to add Resourceful Slacker to her list of credentials. Who am I to refuse a worthy request?

She is the officially designated paparazzi among friends and has owned a series of cheap Sony and Canon compacts since she was in college. This selection of her photographs was taken with an iPhone 3GS and a hot pink Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS. Yes, of course, the hot pink is important photographic information; Have I taught you people nothing?

Leena can be found at her blog and @leenark on Twitter. Her short updates on her road trips are interesting to me because I like road trips and she has a lot more road to play with than I do.

Grand Lake Cinema


Rocky shore with Golden Gate Bridge in the distance

Church steeple in Dublin

Dew on grass

Birds at the surf

Gulls in flight


Neelima, by her own admission, lives in a galaxy far far away. Needless to say she loves movies, and writing about them, and ranting about them, like all wonderful people from far-off galaxies. This, her travels, and theatre she likes to blog about. She is also rumoured to be the first wave of an alien invasion force trying to brainwash unsuspecting humans with propaganda from the alien plant people, but you didn’t hear it from me.

Since the days of film, Neelima has always liked carrying a camera with her on her travels. She used a Canon PowerShot SD790 IS to take the images below, which she graduated to after she smashed the LCD screen of her older Canon IXY with a laptop. How medieval!

Neelima can be found at her blog and @gobbledyspook on Twitter. We may or may not have been separated during childhood at the fair grounds, Bollywood style. I’m waiting for tell-tale signs that she’s the evil sibling in this story.

Tintern Abbey

Vernal pool at Yosemite

Statues in Tibet

Tibetan children

Swedish cows

Sunset at Gullmarstrand

Boats at Kirstineberg


Vivia lives on a very picturesque village lane somewhere in Suffolk. So it’s a good thing she likes the countryside. She also enjoys gardening, swimming, cycling, maps, drawing, and clouds, many of which show up in her pictures. On a more sombre note, this brave woman battles with a life-long and debilitating allergy to ironing.

She comes from a family of social photographers, her Grandfather even developed his own pictures. At 10 she was handed her first Kodak Instamatic film camera and cameras have been constant companions ever since. She loves the idea of capturing and sharing snapshots of what she sees, and depends on very traditional wisdom for her pictures, such as going in closer and always saving one picture in the can (Wow! I haven’t heard that gem in way too long). All the images below were taken with her trusty iPhone.

Vivia can be found on her blog and @Farctum on Twitter. Her #floweroftheday posts are the perfect thing to brighten up your day, if, like me, you enjoy plants and flowers. But I’m really just after her mopping secrets.

Bloody marmalade

Golden chain flowers

Chicken of the Woods fungus

Walking the dog

Pond plants

Straw for thatching

Cow at the Suffolk Show

An ode to bad cameras and the women who use them

This post started as a simple exercise in showcasing the good work of people who might not consider themselves serious photographers, and were producing great results with technically limited cameras. It just so happened that those I knew who fit the profile happened to be women, and it made for a really cool title.

The ladies included in this little gallery were extremely gracious to let me tinker with their photographs, and in some cases even gave me access to their large personal collection of images so that I might have more to choose from. I can’t thank them enough.

If there’s one pattern that emerges from the profiles above it is that all of them have a variety of interests, and are not satisfied with resting on their laurels. I think that need to do more and better shows through in the beautiful photography shown here. That attitude allows them to do wonders, regardless of any limitations of the equipment they use.

Putting this together was a lot of work, but more importantly, a lot of fun. I got to better appreciate some very talented people, and play with a lot of photographs and push them to their potential. I should do things like this more often. More Women With Bad Cameras perhaps, or Some More Persons of Un-specified Gender With Lousy Photographic Equipment. The possibilities are endless!

Until then, thank you for browsing, and if you have your own bad-camera stories, questions and ideas for me, or for the five real stars of this show, you should leave a comment below.


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  1. Thank you for 60 seconds of fame Samir! You made my photos look better than they ever were. Maybe the post should be titled “women with bad cameras and what a man with talent can do to their photos”!

    1. You just shtick with me, Kid! (said in a sufficiently 1930’s gangster voice) 🙂

      Glad you approve, but let’s clear one thing up. I did make your photos look better, but no amount of talent at manipulation can make a good photograph out of a bad one. I just focused attention on what was already good in the pictures and eliminated some un-necessary bits (like colour, in some cases). Your pictures had good composition and interest to begin with, or I wouldn’t have chosen them.

      I can do some surprising things to boring pictures in rare cases, but I’m no magician.

  2. Samir,
    I found very interesting and a great hommage to your artist friends, the pictures that you show are great, as great is each and every presentation you made of them, this was not a regular post, its like an art gallery wich I enjoyed very much, congratulations to all! and you Samir, thank you for sharing with us all of your great ideas.

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