“Snappin’ It Up” In DSU’S Phoneography Class

Phoneography, a new course at Delta State University, is taught by R. Kim Rushing, professor of Art, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:50 – 1:30.

Phoneography is a course that teaches students to take nice photos, the inexpensive way, by using their cellphone cameras.

“The best camera that you can case to take photographs is the one you have with you all the time, the one that’s in your pocket,” Rushing said. “While I can spend thousands of dollars on a really nice camera, it doesn’t do me any good unless I have it with me.” Rushing stated that the cell phone is a convenient way to take photographs.

Although he didn’t come up with the idea, he came up with the class, and this is the first time it has been taught this spring semester. It is a small class composed of only five students. He said that many students found it difficult to find the class when trying to register for it, but any student is welcome to take the class.

“Its just part of the new way of image making and photography,” he said.

Rushing was trained in all techniques in film and chemistry, and retrained himself in digital photography. He said that technology changes so fast and all of the images from his last exhibit The Faculty Show, were made with a telephone.

Rushing said that the technology of making pictures can be automatic but there are controls that allow someone to control how an image looks. Manipulating the exposure and depth of field are only two things that a student can learn. “I’d like for them to learn how to control it and not use it in such an automatic way,” he went on.

He doesn’t want the students to get caught up in the use of equipment in digital photography. “It’s an expensive hobby, it’s an expensive profession because technology changes so fast,” he said. Twenty years ago, Rushing could buy a camera and it will still be great 20 years later. In this day and age, this is not so true.

“Now, when I buy a camera, 18 months later, the technology has advanced so far that I’m already wanting a new device,” Rushing said.

Northwest Community College graduate, Ashley Doole, is now a DSU junior graphic design major who takes the phoneography class. Although the class hasn’t been in session for too long, Doole said that it is fun so far.

“We’re learning how to edit pictures in the apps that the phone has and testing out the actual camera on the phones,” she said. Prior to this course, she had taken several traditional photography classes .

“I’ve never been phone savvy, per say, so I’ve never taken many pictures on phones,” she said. “What I’m hoping to get out of this is, when I want to take a picture of something nice with my camera [phone], I’ll be able to do that.” She added that since she has accessibility to a lot of apps, she can know how to work them now. She noted that it’ll be more convenient to now print photos straight from her phone instead of her computer.

Doole decided to take the class because she thought it would be fun, and she needed a few more hours. Doole doesn’t think she would choose her phone camera over her photography camera. “You can’t do a whole lot with a camera [phone],” she said.

Even though you can buy several different lenses for your camera phone, it isn’t like an actual camera, Doole said. “You can do more things with an actual camera than a phone, but we always have our phones with us, so it’s easy and accessible.”

This semester, students will learn more about image making becoming a story. “Learning how to communicate in a visual way will probably be the most interesting thing they will learn,” Rushing said. What Rushing has found by observing his class is that he knows more about certain things while his students know more about other aspects, so they are learning from each other in order to make this class a successful one.


"Photo: Kim Rushing"
“Photo: Kim Rushing, this picture was taken on a cell phone