Jordan B. Stead on Mobile Photography

I am honored to have many mentors in the field of photography. From mobile photographers, photojournalists, fashion and portraiture, name it, I have support from many of these great people.

I want to introduce you to one of them.


A few years back, We Are Juxt/ Grryo - an international mobile photography collective, was able get press credentials to the University of Washington Athletics Program. We were able to shoot sidelines at Pac-12 football games and courtside basketball games - and all with our mobile phones. Many times we were greeted by puzzling looks by the credentialed photographers shooting with monstrous telephoto lenses. Only a few times were we greeted with, "Hey that's awesome you get to shoot out here with your mobile phone. It's not about the tool, it's about the artist."

Well Jordan was one of those people. He never looked at me or the others as if we didn't belong. He always looked at us as colleagues. Needless to say this led to a great friendship between he and I. We then would talk shop about photography but more importantly we talk about life and photography. Trust me. There's a difference.

During MLB's Opening Day at Safeco Field for the Seattle Mariners, I ran into him and he was so happy to tell me that he decided he was going to shoot the game mostly with his trusty iPhone and his favorite app, Hipstamatic. I told him that we have got to put that on the blog.

Click this here to see the rest of the photos from the game but also and more importantly check out his words that accompany the photos.


Again, Jordan is one of the photographers in Seattle who inspire me. He is always supportive and given the opportunity I just had to give you all a small glimpse of my friend - Jordan B. Stead.

*I will be doing a more in-depth interview with Jordan in the future.

Tell us what you like about mobile photography.

Using a mobile device to shoot images with is simply another tool in your toolbox as a photographer. I enjoy the portability and ease of posting, but most of all, the automated process of using a phone to make pictures. Shutter speed, aperture, image blur, noise, all goes out the window when you ditch the SLRs for the phone. It's refreshing; focusing solely on moment and composition can help hone your skills when you pick up your camera bodies again. In the meantime, have fun with that camera in your pocket.


How do you think you can utilize mobile photography within your personal work and if possible your professional work?

Mobile photography is almost always a personal endeavor for myself. I enjoy it as a visual diary from day to day, but do like to challenge myself to shoot assignments for work on my phone, when possible and applicable. There's a time and place for everything.

You provided a few of your favorite images. Can you tell us more about each image?

The five images I provided sum up the visual palate of my Instagram feed in a succinct, Seattle-y way. Phones are best suited to shoot portraits, details, texture and, yes, selfies, so I tend to keep my mobile content to specific subjects. The consistent look is made possible by use of one camera/ lens combo in the Hipstamatic app, shot on an iPhone 5S. Minor tweaks are made in-app on Instagram, right before uploading. I link my Instagram to Twitter to cross post.


How do you see the mobile photography has changed the industry or even just the creative world of photography?

As with anything new, it took us all for a spin. Things will calm down in coming years - but until then, the hype continues. Just as the advent of "pro-sumer" SLRs did, mobile cameras in our phones opened up the idea of "being a photographer" to an even larger audience...for better or for worse.

Can you name some of your colleagues who you find are doing great work within mobile photography?

Two great Instagram folks to follow (although not all images were shot on mobile) are Ian Bates and Ryan Dorgan. Both gentelemen are good friends of mine, both of which I initially connected with through mutual attendance of photo conferences around the United States. They will fill your feed with unique - often quiet, thoughtful - imagery from their respective locations. Ian is a recent transplant to my hometown of Seattle, WA, and Ryan is based out of Wyoming.


How do you see Instagram as a platform? How do you use it?

Anything owned and operated by Facebook is more or less unavoidable, and for what it does, I enjoy the simple interface and speed of the app.

For a long while, I was using my Instagram as a dumping ground for secondary images from work and a smattering of random moments in my personal life. I soon realized: Who cares? What am I trying to say? After some consideration, my affinity for moody, black and white mobile imagery won over, and since then (about a year ago), my feed is a solid monochromatic alternative to the color-heavy SLR work created while on my day job as a staff photographer at I'm happy with it as a secondary outlet with a different vision.


Jordan Stead is a staff photographer for, visual educator and avid fan of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. He can be reached on his website or on Twitter & Instagram with the shared handle of @jordanbstead.