Cell Phone Photography: Is It Art?

Is a pixelated cloud of confetti caught haphazardly with a snap of a cell phone camera… “art”? What about an anonymous portrait of a cow’s milked udder or a mountain of broken umbrellas slumped on a sidewalk? Do these images qualify as “art,” if they’re just a little blurry and a lot lo-fi? Social Photography — a curious exhibit of sender-submitted cell phone pictures at Carriage Trade Gallery in New York (through February 5th) — doesn’t try to convince you, but it does make you wonder. Are these just random bits of banality and beauty? Or are they authentic snippets of Americana, intimate sensory sensations isolated, caught, concentrated and re-contextualized within a gallery setting? Flip through a few selections from the show and judge for yourself.

Image credit: Susan Gamble and Michael Wenyon. Courtesy Carriage Trade Gallery