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November 11, 2019

Mobile Photographer Spotlight - Dina Alfasi

For the past few years Dina Alfasi has been photographing unaware passengers during her daily commute. Her award-winning photography has been exhibited worldwide.

How long have you been shooting?

I’ve always loved photography, but when I got my first iPhone - that’s when it really kicked in for me. Back then it was an iPhone4. The iPhone is the perfect camera for me and my lifestyle. 

"The iPhone is the perfect camera for me". A shot from Dina's train series

Do you remember the first time you realized how much you can get from your mobile photography?

I think it started when I discovered Instagram. I was shooting before, but most of the images stayed on my phone before I realized I can share them online. I started receiving good feedback, and after a little while I won my first photo contest. My winning image was displayed in the UN building in New York. I think that’s when I fully realized that the camera phone is a legitimate storytelling tool. 

Dina's image that was on display in the UN

What phone do you use?

iPhone X, soon the 11. 

Who did you learn the most from about photography?

I learned the most from social networks, predominantly Instagram. In the past few years I’ve been taking part in communities of mobile photographers from around the world. These are talented, creative people, and I get so much inspiration there. There are a few photographers that have been exceptionally inspiring to me from the beginning, like Brendan Ó Sé, Elaine of @Sunflowerof21 and So Asa.

What was your most awkward moment taking a picture?

I see a lot of awkward, embarrassing moments on a day-to-day basis, but I always avoid capturing images that could potentially offend anyone. 

"I get my inspiration through the community"

If you had to shoot one more thing, and then never shoot again - what would you shoot?

I can’t imagine a situation in which I can no longer shoot! Photography is a part of who I am by now. I see the world in frames, and every moment holds a story worth telling. 

What, in your opinion, is the most important thing for a mobile photographer to keep in mind?

With mobile photography, it’s very important to look for the light. Once you gain some experience and learn how to use natural light properly, you see how light makes all the difference between a good picture and an excellent one.

I also think it’s important to shoot a lot and have fun doing it! Get involved in mobile photography communities, share, ask for advice and take part in contests and photo challenges. 

"Light makes all the difference"

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get a shot?

Not sure I’ve ever done anything too crazy, but sometimes I extend my bus ride to catch a good frame of an interesting character, if I see one. Other times I might change seats on the train several times during my commute, to discover new frames. When the mood strikes, I might get off the bus a stop or two early, to walk around and find new, interesting places to photograph. I also spend quite some time in smoking areas for my smokers series, even though I’m not a smoker myself. 

Taken from Dina's Smokers series

If you had to describe your personal photography in one word - what would that word be?

Life.

A good portrait is worth missing your stop for 

How do you see the future of mobile photography? 

Mobile photography tech is constantly evolving, but there’s probably always going to be a gap between it and standard digital photography, due to mobile phones’ sizes. But there’s really no telling what the future might bring… 


"Photography is part of who I am by now"

What makes a picture viral? 

A viral image has some sort of added value. It can’t be just pretty. It has to have something that would make the viewer stop and look at it for at least a few moments before moving on to the next thing. Something that would make the viewer feel something, anything: sadness, laughter, even anger. As long as you can’t stay indifferent to it. 

My most viral image to date is this one. I received a lot of comments on it, people who wrote to me saying it looks like an Edward Hopper painting. 

Dina Alfasi's most viral image

Follow Dina Alfasi on Instagram