Before we leave the capture phase, we should consider a film art photographic genre that is, arguably, photography at its most right-brain: box camera (or toy camera) photography. Cameras like the Holga and Diana offer limited or nonexistent user control over exposure, and don’t allow focusing. All it takes to make a picture is to point the camera at something and trip the shutter. It is a testimony to the latitude of modern black and white and color negative films that these cameras can produce recognizable images under as wide a range of lighting conditions as they do.
What common digital camera experience most closely duplicates that of using a Holga? My nominee is the iPhone. The iPhone, with its automatic exposure, and, in the 4s, remarkable low-light ability, needs even less (left-brain) thinking about what lighting conditions are appropriate than a box camera. The zoom lens on the iPhone goes in the other direction, giving the photographer one more control to adjust. You don’t have to touch the zoom setting, however; I hardly ever do, leaving it at its widest. The iPhones optical faults are neither as obvious nor as beguiling as those of the Holga, but that doesn’t affect the capture experience.
An alternative to the box camera in the lo-tech photography world is a pinhole camera. The capture part of pinhole photography is more left-brain than that of a box camera or an iPhone, since it involves making exposure calculations and often having to compensate for reciprocity failure.