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Camera technology has been advancing at such an accelerated rate recently that I’m continually amazed at the size and quality of the devices available — presently and most notably, my iPhone 5. The ability to produce high-quality photos and video at a moment’s notice, then store it all comfortably in my pocket, is fantastic, without even mentioning the fact that I can upload said photos to my social media accounts instantly. Even traveling out of the country, most hotels and hostels (some safe houses too) have wifi now. I can go out, shoot during the day, and upload in my room or on break in a coffeehouse.

I don’t rely on my iPhone to capture everything, but I love it for what it does. I use DSLRs as my primary shooters and the iPhone as a backup. On my journey to Aleppo this past month, I was able to shoot easily and quickly on my phone without drawing a lot of unwanted attention. This is an absolute necessity when I want something candid, or something covert. I hide my cell phone easily at checkpoints, and access it quickly for discreet snapshots during social moments. As I said before, perhaps the most useful aspect of smartphone photography is the ready access to social networking sites, a medium with which much of the world is already familiar.

I find myself wondering if the gravity of the situation in Syria, and the wrenching humanity of the people involved, could be more readily conveyed to the outside world in a truly impactful manner through increased use of this medium.

The below photos were all taken and edited on my iPhone 5 during a week embedded with a Free Syrian Army militia in Aleppo, Syria. Main programs used: Hipstamatic, Instagram, and Snapseed.

World EventsPhoto Essay


 

About The Author

Cengiz Yar Jr.

Based out of Chicago, Cengiz is a documentary photographer and freelance photojournalist whose work has been featured in publications around the world. His photography focuses on human conflicts, both violent and peaceful, and aims to encourage understanding by fostering interest and making the alien familiar. Follow him on Twitter at @cengizyar and on Instagram @hfwh.

  • Hal Amen

    cengiz, I had the pleasure of copyediting this. incredible work.

    • Cengiz Yar

      Much appreciated Hal.

  • Zélie Pollon

    Wow, great stuff. Love, love the use of IPhone 5. As someone who worked in Iraq carrying heavy gear I feel completely inspired. Thanks for your work!

  • Zélie Pollon

    Wow, great stuff. Love, love the use of IPhone 5. As someone who worked in Iraq carrying heavy gear I feel completely inspired. Thanks for your work!

    • Cengiz Yar

      Thanks Zélie, but don’t worry, I had plenty of the heavy stuff with me too.

  • Jared Krauss

    This is beautiful. I’d love to see any other work of yours from Syria. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  • Jared Krauss

    This is beautiful. I’d love to see any other work of yours from Syria. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  • Jared Krauss

    This is beautiful. I’d love to see any other work of yours from Syria. Thank you very much for sharing this.

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