I'm not sure what the surprise is, but I liked the images.
I'm beginning to understand that a lot of people photography is not about gear. It's also not necessarily about perspective, vision or any of that either, though that's more important than gear. The best photos I've seen come from people without fear (or at least overcoming their fears) to get into the shot, in places the rest of us might not see, and the ability to connect with others, either personally or through the lens. These are the things I lack most (overcoming my fears and connecting with people I don't already know). Clearly Mr. Sokol has both in spades.
Thanks for the link. I'm assuming the surprise is that he shoots with a cell phone or something?
Yes. I understand it shouldn't be surprising, but that's the effect it has had for me.
As I've understood, he's a pro usually shooting dslrs who has actually chosen to do that job with an iphone.
It's under "personal" in his site, but nonetheless a big documentary project.
For me it's surprising that the images have been taken with a phone. But the truth, possibly, is: he's a pro, he's chosen it because he knew what he was going to get from it. Think having a "vision" and choosing the hardware to accomplish it.
Being a pro, a good one, even the contrary might work: choosing an instrument and finding the way to squeeze the best out of it... But I don't think he would have ventured the use of a phone without a precise goal.
You're right: there are many qualities that count much more than the gear.
Hope not to have improperly used the word "pro". In the NYT article he's presented as a former guide in Nepal, but from his site I get he's a full time photographer, and an awarded one too.