The photograph you see here was taken with my iPhone 3Gs. It has been said the the best camera to own is the one you have on you. Chase Jarvis, a professional advertising photographer has made the claim and a whole website, for that matter, based on the fact that the iPhone can be labeled as the best camera ever. These statements are not saying that mobile phones are technologically superior to a DSLR, medium format or other professional grade camera. They certainly are inferior when it comes to resolution and image quality. They offer far less features than the professional models. So why would anyone make such a claim about a little gadget that works as a daily organizer and a camera? Its availability.
As a photographer, I don't usually lug around all of my equipment when, say, going to the local supermarket. I mean, could you imagine, I decide to go buy milk and to do so, in hopes of catching an awesome photo on the way, I grab bags and bags of equipment? It would be quite a site.
Many photographers, along with yours truly, often capture moments in time when they are least expected. With today's cell phones, just about every single one made is equipped with a digital camera. Again, the image quality is no match for a professional grade camera but a cell's camera can usually do the trick. And with today's smart phones, such as the iPhone, many apps are available to edit photos beyond belief.
Let's go back to the photo above. I was walking to jury duty last week and decided to stroll through the courtyard behind City Hall, in Philadelphia. Below the statue of William Penn is an awesome building. The architecture is quite amazing. Built a couple hundred years ago, it is crazy to see how much detail went into such a structure. Along with the detail, time had to play an equally large role in such a project.
From the back side, the tower on which William Penn sits, is a view that few usually see in photos. Without hesitation, I grabbed the "available camera" from my pocket and snapped a few shots of the building. I was early and the ambient was just exiting Golden Hour. It was a cloudy day but not completely overcast. This was throwing some nice light onto the building, introducing some interesting shadows. The clouds were also quite ominous looking. They would add a nice touch to the photo.
Before I was able to edit or process the photos in any sort of way, I had to keep on walking over to Filbert Street, where jury duty was about to begin and I like the 300 others had been summonsed to serve the state's judicial system.
I walked into the large building and was quickly directed by security to stand at the end of the line, one so long that it rivaled many seen on a sunny day at Disney World. The day of hell has begun. My stress levels immediately began to rise as a larger gentleman stood directly behind me violating the normal distance one should stand behind another. He is what is known as a "space invader." The space invader's breath was actually tickling my ears. That's just way too close.
After passing the beams of radiation sent through my body to see if I had a bomb strapped to my chest, it was on to the main arena. Here, the hundreds of chosen individuals are given a questionnaire and a glowing Juror sticker to be placed for all to see. Sandwiched between two other jurors, I tried to get comfy. Soon after, on the dozens of flat screen monitors overhead, a group of judges lecture, one by one, on how to answer each and every question on the survey we had been given. By the way, the questions were worded at about a first grade level, so it was very reassuring to know that potential deciders of fate had to be guided through this elementary process.
Group one had been chosen for a criminal trial. I thought to myself that if I was chosen to serve my country in such a way, that I better be chosen for something criminal, like a murder or something interesting and not chosen for a civil trial like someone suing McDonald's for serving coffee that was too hot.
Before the next group was chosen, a local judge had unexpectedly stopped by. He grabbed the mic and gave an impromptu motivation speech, thanking everyone for stopping by. As if we had a choice.
After a few laughs in the crowd, the emcee announced that the next group would be chosen for a civil trial. Forty people were chosen and I was number 33. Crap, a boring civil trial. I had to start thinking of some good excuses to get out of this nightmare.
Like sheep, we were placed in line and taken across the street to City Hall. They jammed us into the elevator like we were concentration camp prisoners being forced onto train cars. The difference was that those train cars were much roomier and better ventilated. The elevator stopped on the sixth floor and we were told to head over to court room 650. As we entered the court, an overly excited man, a clerk or something of that nature, who stood tall, all of about 90 pounds of him and sternly told us to take seats corresponding to our given juror number. I strolled back to seat 33.
I knew immediately that it was going to be a long day when the woman seated on one side of me had breath that smelled like she had just eaten a shit sandwich. I didn't know how I would survive. I thought that maybe I should just leave. It was too late, soon after my thoughts of escape, about 15 or 20 people entered the courtroom. They looked semi important, things must be starting.
We were given a drawn out synopsis of what the trial would be about. It turned out that there were a about three families suing some large corporations for contracting mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. The families were introduced and they sure had their game faces on. I'm sure their counsel had advised them to portray a very sad appearance. They sure played the part as they stood there without a single smile in the group.
After their introduction the, little engine that could, clerk announced that we raise the cards corresponding to our seats if any question asked would pertain to each of us. I immediately thought that this would be the part were jurors would be excused from duty if they raised their number for any reason. I couldn't be more wrong. This part of the game was just the beginning.
The dozen or so individuals, as it turned out, were all lawyers. One lawyer represented the families and all others were for the defense. Turns out that these families are going for the gold. They are suing every major company you could imagine. General Electric, Pennsylvania Power and Light, the railroad, DAP, just to name a few. This was no, coffee-to-hot-to-drink, trial. This was, and is, something big.
Before the attorneys were introduced, we were advised that the trial would last a minimum of two to three weeks. My blood pressure spiked at that moment. I could not imagine sitting on a trial for a month, let alone, a week. My wheels were turning as I tried to come up with my winner excuse.
It was about 10:00 a.m. and I had already endured two hours of hell. Crap mouth next to me was starting to make me nauseous. I was hoping that I would be done by lunch time. It was then that we were informed that the day would end anywhere between four and five o'clock. Wonderful!
The lawyers began to introduce themselves, one by one.