Lisa Carney’s finest mobile photograph evokes a sense of wistful sentiment within me.

The photographer finds pleasure in capturing the melancholy in this photograph of her son deep in thought against the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
On a trip to San Francisco Bay in 2019, Lisa Carney was honing her photography skills by capturing images in challenging lighting conditions. “The tonal range you can achieve with smartphone cameras is truly amazing,” she remarks. In this instance, she was using an iPhone 10. “I was experimenting with exposing the highlights while still bringing out the intricate details in the shadows,” she explains.
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Carney exclusively uses smartphones for her photography and typically edits her images with the Lightroom app. She believes that there is “no need to use cameras with large sensors. Even when enlarging my photos to poster size, I still achieve the necessary quality. I like to say, ‘It’s the photographer, not the equipment.'”
As is often the case, her 16-year-old son served as the subject of her photograph. During their ferry ride, he sat across from her, with his back facing the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. “I photograph him constantly,” Carney admits, “perhaps too much. He has grown disinterested in seeing his own pictures, but he remains my favorite muse.”
Looking back on the image now, she reflects, “It evokes a somber mood. His pensive expression, the emptiness and slight sense of decay in his surroundings. It brings about a tinge of nostalgia and melancholy.”

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