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Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow

I'm a poz guy, just starting my tenth year living with HIV. I've been blogging here at since March 20th, 2011. I volunteer at two AIDS Service Organizations in my area, ACG (AIDS Committee of Guelph/Wellington) and ACCKWA (AIDS Committee of Cambridge Kitchener Waterloo and Area). I've also been blogging for ACG since November 2010. I am a self-taught social media junkie doing facebook and twitter. I'm a great retweeter. I was recently hired by the OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) as a Peer Research Assistant. In my spare time I am a hobby photographer; some of my photos show up in my blog. 

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I’m a phonographer

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 Written by // Wayne Bristow - Positive Life Categories // Arts and Entertainment, Photography, Media, Wayne Bristow

That’s “phonographer”, not “pornographer” says Wayne Bristow, in other words, one who takes photographs on a smartphone rather than a conventional camera.

I’m a phonographer

I’m now convinced; we don’t necessarily need a one- or two-thousand dollar camera to take great pictures. It’s not the camera that picks the shot, it’s the eye of the photographer and most importantly, it’s not what you’re looking at, it’s what you see.

Back in June I wrote about getting my first smartphone. I challenged myself by asking “am I too dumb for a smartphone”.  I went against the advice of the people around me when I decided on getting the BlackBerry Z10 instead of the iPhone. I still get the looks and comments. What can I say, I’m a loyal Canadian for things made in Canada.

When you’re an iPhone owner, there isn’t much you can do without an iTunes membership.  I owned an iPod and discovered I couldn’t put my own music on it unless I did it through iTunes. Blackberry has something similar in the “Blackberry Link” but you can get around it.

My photography has been in limbo, I haven’t been out with the camera in weeks. When I do take it, I always have the phone with me and tend to use it more, depending on what I see to take pictures of. I’m actually getting more responses to the photos that I take with the phone.


Recently I joined a group here in Guelph called “guelphonography” and I entered their second annual contest. I attended the showing of last year’s winners and was amazed at how the photos were displayed. I wasn’t aware that they could be blown up to the sizes they were and look so amazing mounted on aluminum, cloth, wood and acrylic, thanks to a company called Photo Media Décor.

It didn’t make me want to rush out to get a smartphone, I was happy with what I was doing with my regular cameras. But the day came, I gave in and got my Z10. I began to take photos with it, I posted them online with the rest of my photos and viewers had a couple of  really positive comments. They couldn’t believe they were taken with a smartphone.

Then one day, one of the organizers from guelphonography messaged meand suggested I enter this year’s contest, and I thought, “why not!?" I submitted my limit of three photos and waited. The rules allowed us to alter the photos by using editing programs that were on the phone.

A couple of months went by and then one day I get an email saying that one of my photos was selected as one of the top 20 images. They didn’t tell me which one and they didn’t disclose who won first, second or third until the night of the show.  

Well, I didn’t win a top prize but my photo was mounted on aluminum, which would have been my personal choice. Iit looked fantastic. It will be on display at a local eatery until the end of November and then I can bring it home.

During the showing I noticed one young man making fun of the information card placed below my photo. I could read his lips when he mentioned it was taken with a Blackberry. I went around the room and found that mine was the only one not taken with an iPhone.


I’ve always been a little slow getting with new technology but this medium for photography is quite new so I’m in the game early. Will it take over what I do? Probably not. It does have its limits and requires the use of apps and editing programs to be creative. I have a zoom feature but I notice the photos get grainy looking when using it. A great feature on the Z10 is the time shift feature; if someone blinks while you take their photo, you can adjust it within a few seconds before or after the blink and save a better photo.

The first photo of the Queen Anne’s Lace is the one selected for the contest, no apps or photoshopping were used.

The second photo is one that I’ve donated to a local ASO for their silent auction fundraiser.  I did use an app to make the sunflowers appear to be painted on a brick wall.  I was able to frame it with one I won in another contest.

The rest were just me seeing what else I could do.