"Chase Jarvis did say that the best camera is the one that is with you (at the moment) and I agree with him," said Muhammad Zaki bin Ahmad
In the Stuff Smartphone Photography Awards 2015, his winning shot of a soldier standing at the site of the Kranji Memorial captured the feelings and emotions he felt at the moment. The judges got the gist of it, and it was simply a matter of awarding this photo as the winner in the People category.
Taken during his annual reservist, the impromptu shot proved to be challenging, with no control over the lighting and having to make do with the available light. But it was a moment not to be lost. "To me, having a modern Singaporean soldier in his number 4, juxtaposed against the names of those who have fallen from so many years ago, felt surreal," he said.
While the subject and location was chosen purely by chance, since he was attending a National Education tour at the Kranji memorial with his army buddies, the shot wasn't totally random. "For an image to work, it's about getting the factors right such as thinking creatively, having a vision, understanding composition, figuring out lighting and so on," he adds.
Zaki agrees that with the advent of better technology, smartphone cameras are closing the gap with DSLR/mirrorless cameras. He notes that megapixels are starting to get higher, low light captures are getting better and 4K internal video recording are now a reality. "I won't say that a smartphone is sufficient for all kinds of photography but they are capable in their own ways," he said.
Different situations, however, call for different tools. "For instance, smartphones work for hobbies like street photography but personally, I won't use a smartphone to do photography for jobs unless I am asked by a client to do so. I would still use my DSLR or better," he said.
But at the end of the day, he emphasises that the hardware really is just a tool. "Always remember the importance of storytelling - let your images tell the story, let your photos be your voice," he ends off with that final advice for aspiring smartphone photographers.