Chicago Sun-Times fires photo staff, now training reporters in iPhoneography

iPhone 5 promo video (back, black, camera closeup 001)

You’ve probably noticed that we have been talking a lot about iPhoneography here on iDB lately. It’s a popular topic with a lot of folks. It seems like the better the iPhone’s camera gets, the more people are willing to ditch their standalone shooters.

And perhaps there’s no better example of that than what’s going on right now over at the Chicago Sun-Times. Just a day after it fired its entire photo staff, the newspaper has reportedly begun training its reporters in the basics of iPhone photography…

Chicago media critic Robert Feder (via Cult of Mac) reports:

“Sun-Times reporters begin mandatory training today on “iPhone photography basics” following elimination of the paper’s entire photography staff. “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need,” managing editor Craig Newman tells staffers in a memo.”

In a blog post criticizing the move, Chicago photojournalist Alex Garcia called it idiotic, saying reporters are “ill equipped” to create both visual and written content. He also believes iPhones are too limited in capabilities to handle photojournalism.

“An iPhone is just an iPhone. It doesn’t have a telephoto to see way past police lines or across a field, ballroom or four-lane highway. It doesn’t have a lot of manual controls to deal with the countless situations that automatic exposure will fail to capture. How many situations are 18% gray, anyway?”

The smartphone has slowly been phasing out cameras for a lot of people. As the company touts on its iPhone page, the handset accounts for the top 3 most popular cameras on photo-sharing site Flickr. And it makes up more than half of Instagram’s user base.

Apple seems aware of its popularity too. Not only has it worked the iPhone’s camera into its recent marketing push, but rumor has it that its next-generation handset, believed to be the iPhone 5S, will feature a much improved camera system and a dual LED flash.