The creative experience of fake phone calls

The creative experience of fake phone calls

These days iPhones have made everybody a photographer, which makes the ability to nail that shot – the one that captures the essence of a place and its inhabitants, all the more precious. Enter Jay Giampietro, a New Yorker who has perfected the art of photographing passers-by from his ear while pretending to take phone calls in the street, while glancing around confusedly. — It’s Nice That

It’s Nice That, a web-site dedicated to highlighting creativity, has this post about Jay Giampietro’s unusual Instagram feed comprised of photos shot while the iPhone was held to the artist’s ear.

In addition to representing its own unique, and arguably bizarre, art form, the technique raises questions about the etiquette of photography on the street. It speaks of the artist’s own uncertainty about when it is appropriate to take a shot, and yet a stronger desire to capture the most interesting moments, even if it involves a convoluted creative process which subverts the intended user experience of the photographic device.

Of course, it also is an act made possible by the emergence of smartphones – inherently multi-functional products – which enable users to disguise one behaviour by making it appear they are engaged with another of the device’s capabilities.

In our own series about user experience at the intersection of consumption and creativity, it has been striking how often arbitrary limitations – whether imposed by technology or users’ own choices – lead to compelling experiences. This seems to be true of both modes, where limiting the format of the content to be consumed increases user satisfaction and limiting the tools for creativity inspires greater efforts to experiment.

This is part of a series on the intersection between digital consumption and creativity by Alex Guest and Marek Pawlowski. To follow the forthcoming stream of articles, UI concepts and examples, track #uxintersection on Twitter, bookmark the ‘Intersection‘ category at or sign-up for the weekly email newsletter. More importantly, this is an invitation for you to get involved in the discussion – we’d love to hear your feedback and ideas for taking this topic forward.

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