Photoessay: a little urban entropy

IMG_9712b copy

Things often start off perfect, or at least ideal. They seldom stay that way. But there’s no reason why the process can’t be reversed into redevelopment and renewal. It happens all around us; most of the time, it’s so common we don’t even take notice of it; sometimes extreme wabi and the right light does result in an interesting image, but there’s a fine line between hope and desolation, I think. This set is a series of observations during the course of my travels, made with that ideal of visual scrapbooks – the omnipresent iPhone. MT

This series was shot with an iPhone 6+ and processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III.

IMG_0186b copy

IMG_8341b copy

IMG_0245b copy

IMG_6434b copy

IMG_0721b copy

IMG_0705b copy

IMG_8005b copy

IMG_9768b copy

IMG_9705b copy


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography. You can also support the site by purchasing from B&H and Amazon – thanks!

We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Some good examples of your recent essay on framing in your pictures. Nice shots. Hope you don’t get the usual IQ comparison questions. I was reading yesterday on a photo blog about the need to.make a print and hold it in your hand with texture of paper etc as part of the experience. IPHONE captures nice colors or great work flow or both.
    Bob from Chicago

  2. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Lovely photos!
    They just all give me a big smile!
    ( especially nr:s. 2, 4 and 8 )
    – – –

    ( And that’s the reason I look for an XF1 replacement.
    When I see details like these, they are seldom reachable with the viewing angle of a phone … and I do want the chance of a future print.
    I’d e.g. love 2-3 DXO:s with different lenses, ideally with a mechanism to be coupled side by side in one package.)

    • Thanks – I agree, the phone is a bit wide and the files a bit small. 1″ or M4/3 seems to be the best compromise between file quality and DOF: you could of course stack or tilt with MF, but this is hardly practical…

  3. Some really nice shots here, a number of which would look great on large format!! (lovely wabi sabi details)

  4. “Things often start off perfect, or at least ideal. They seldom stay that way.” if you want to explore this, st time to take up gardening.

  5. Lucy March says:

    Only ducks make better use of puddles.

  6. It has been said so many times ” It is not the camera so much as what is just behind the view finder” A great set of pictures.

  7. stanis riccadonna zolczynski says:

    No quality difference between apples and hazels. I`m all nuts.

  8. I love the photos! I love the story!

  9. Junaid Rahim says:

    Good stuff Ming the more random/details you go like this the more interesting I find your work. Also maybe show more sets from the phone, a constant reminder the man behind the camera is kinda important…..

    Oh, have you upgraded to the 7 to check out the dual camera setup?

    • Using the regular 7 – the telephoto lens on the 7+ was not impressive, the damn thing is heavy, and really expensive. I admit I like having a phone that I can comfortably sit down with again…

      • Junaid Rahim says:

        interesting – usually you find people disliking downsizing and going back to a smaller screen….the tele does feel like a first gen idea. No doubt some improvements next year.

        • The tele has significant degradation in practice because there’s a) no IS, b) a much slower lens, and c) a smaller sensor – add that all up and you’re basically several stops down from the get-go.

          Smaller screen: wasn’t as big an issue as I expected. Slightly shorter battery life in practice than my two year old 6+, which is the main thing I notice.

  10. Wolfgang Fleschurz says:

    Hallo Mr. Ming Thein,
    a serious question:
    for what to hell do we need a Photo-Camera, when a stupid i-phone makes such pics ?

    wonderful, really !

    have a successful week and kind regards


  11. Very good perspectives and points of views.
    Congrats !!!

  12. More than nice. The third and fourth images in the main group below the text — did they take significant work after the fact to yield those colors? Or are they largely straight iPhone?

%d bloggers like this: