A Touch Screen Artist from Jakarta

A Touch Screen Artist from Jakarta by Bridgette S.

Bridgette’s Introduction

Before writing this intro, Ebes and I were chatting about life and work in general.   He expressed his passion for what he does and how everything in life just ties into his artistry and craft.  To which I replied, “it’s who you are and what you do.”  He lives it, breathes it and takes every opportunity that comes his way.

I’ve been a big fan of his on Instagram and I’ve seen how he has broken the barriers of mobile design using his iPhone.  If you aren’t following him or have seen his gallery, then I highly suggest clicking here – rest assured you won’t be disappointed.

His images speak for themselves and his creativity is astounding.  He’s a master at collabs and brilliant at it too.  If you don’t believe me, just keep reading 😉

Listen to his music while you read through this article.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/12412569″ iframe=”true” /]
B: Give us a glimpse into your everyday life.  What’s family life like?  What are your hobbies and how do they factor in with your creative side?  What do you do for work?

E:  I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia in the 80’s.  I have two brothers, I am the eldest of the two.  I act out the things I want to do.  I’m the action person.  I’ve been living on my own since I was 21.  I basically moved out because I was getting married (been divorced for 2 yrs, and I have a son named Kale, he’s 6 yrs old) and needed to get ourself a place.  My parents helped me the first year but I’ve been on my own ever since.

I work as a freelance designer plus I’m a full time student (Art student) at that time; graduated in 2008 for Visual Design communication.  I won’t lie, it’s a struggle everyday.  But the best part about it is having your own space and not to worry about your parents always constantly on your butt about everything; and with each glimpse I get into the life of a Graphic Designer who likes to diversify in all aspects of art and design.  This is my life, the people I’ve ran into and those that have helped shape, mood my life into what I’ve become.

B: I am always blown away by your imagination and diversity. What helps you stay motivated and where do you find your inspiration? 

E:  My son is a huge source of inspiration and joy also. He inspires me to be more imaginative, more expressive, and more excited about everything in the most honest way. These are the things that keep my perspective on life and creativity. Also the most important intention in my life.

Okay, another confession — when I’ve inspiration I don’t need motivation; I need to sit next to my cigarettes and iced tea (I’m a tea person) wherever that is.  It’s easy to work inspired, worse when you got to find some, and motivation to do so is the key.

B:  This image is one of my favorites. Tell me what prompted you into adding the spilled paint and what is the story behind it?

E:  Well, Thanks so much B!  The idea comes when I see the old image (flickr) of that two people dripping a large tin of water.  Then I decided to adding the spilled paint on it.  I looked for a background that looks like it was a continuously under construction.  So… That’s the story behind this picture.

“Under Construction” – collab with @ladylavina

Her original pic (a lady walks in garden) taken with iPhone 4s

Image of the people working from Google

Edited with Artstudio, PicFx & Snapseed

B: Aside from Artstudio, is there another app you like to use to incorporate design? Do you now prefer iPad over iPhone for design? 

E: Yes of course. I use plenty of apps, but the one that are always there are: Snapseed, VSCOCAM, Blender, Phonto, MagicHour and PicFx.

I also experimenting with Pxl, an app that I think is very interesting to blend with.

I’d prefer my iPhone4 than iPad or iPad mini.  I love that I can create wherever I go.  I can snap everything that moves me.

“Flight Training” –  collab with @sigithartanto

His original pic (old plane) taken with iPhone 4

The other images I took from Google (lady on top of the plane, people on the tail, old planes)

Edited with Artstudio, Blender with (Mextures) & Snapseed

B: Have you met other mobile photographers in your area and are you on any other photosharing platforms? 

E: I have some accounts on other platforms: EyeEm, Flickr (it’s under the same name @abcdebes).

Yes, I have met a lot of talented mobile photographers in my area (Jakarta). We have a community called “iPhonesia” stands for iPhoneographers Indonesia. After a few months I joined Instagram, I started to get in touch with these people.  And it’s changed (again) the way I look at the world.

B: What is the message behind your recent collab with @tomlovesyou? And how did the series come about?

E: I love collaborating with other creative people; it makes the process of creativity so much enjoyable.  And when I asked Tom (@tomlovesyou) for a collaboration, then we started to brainstorm about what kind of photos and the edits.  I’ve noticed that Tom’s had a best shot of the top of the mountains; so he sent me some of his best shot (mountains).  Then I came up with this edit, glad to know that Tom is agree about this vintage collage (colors, collage, stripes) edits.

“Nostalgia” – collab with @tomlovesyou

Original pic of mountain taken with iPhone 4

The lady and the birds taken from Google

Edited with Artstudio along with the stripes, blended with Mextures, PicFx & Snapseed

“Busy Tone” – collab with @tomlovesyou

Original pic of mountain taken with iPhone 4

The lady and the birds taken from Google

Edited with ArtStudio along with the stripes, blended with Mextures, Pxlromatic+ & Snapseed

B: Love what you did with my photo! Give us a quick rundown on how you edited the image.

E: Artstudio: I’m going to explain a little bit more about the specifics for this app. It’s a bit tricky because it limits the number of layers one can use (maximum 5 layers only) so you must know what to do the first time. First thing first.

1st step:  load your pic (from camera roll). Add a new layer (from the layer menu) then switch the new layer to the bottom. This works for the background so you can start erasing (Eraser tools) the layers above in transparency instead of white.  And you can start masking out. You can adjust the brush size and opacity. By zooming the pic you can get more details. (Same step for every pic) You can make them black and white or you can colorize.

2nd step:  Import image for background (from the layer menu). You can start to colorize the background, adjust the hue and saturation. You can also transform the image (choose layer and tap the image twice) and the menu will pop up.

3rd step:  (Import from cameral roll again) The next step is adding the pin-up ladies and some small details. When using Google or Flickr, using the right keyword is important if you want to get a perfect pic for a collage (minimim size should be 150kb so you won’t get pixelated). As said, this step is always the same for any object (plane, tree, chair…) so you can colorized them later and merge them together.

4th step:  Adding the retro shape, line, circle or triangle you can use the empty layer from the first one or make a new one. Fill it with your colors (Paint Bucket or you can choose “fill” on the selection tool button on the top — tap once). You can always pick another color later. Then you can duplicate (tap twice on the layer). If you want a specific color, pick a layer, choose pen tool and hold it for a second to filled with the same colors.

Final image:

“Cupid” – collab with @bridgettesxo

Original pic of Gas Works park taken with iPhone 4

Apps used:  SquareReady, ArtStudio, Blender, Snapseed, Picfx

Square Ready: Crop into Square then save to (JPEG 2048 x 2048)

B: And finally, what type of music do you listen to? Do you have a favorite band? 

E:  Music is everything to me. Listening to music is my hobby. It’s also my dream to become a musician..haha. I can sing and plays guitar and ukulele; my favorite band is The Beatles, The Cure, and Radiohead (I grew up in the 90’s after all). I like music from many eras. I listen to mostly from 90’s alternative, psychedelic chillwave, a bit retro pop or disco, ambience, deep house, techno, acid, to jungly indie band.

You can check my soundcloud (The Akbar) there are some of my songs and mixes there while I started DJ’ing a couple of years ago. At the moment I am listening to Got Somebody – Moon Boots. So stay lit, and Enjoy!


Bio: Ebes Rasyid. 30 years old visual artist, designers whose work with digital platforms provided by touch screen technology and traditional media. then mingle the two, based in Jakarta.

Facebook & Pinterest: Ebes Rasyid
Don’t tweet me!

An American Journalist in Vietnam

Ben Stocking: A Journalist in Vietnam by Bridgette

B: Ben, tell us a little bit about yourself.  How long have you been a journalist and what are you doing now?

Ben: I spent 30 years in journalism, working as a reporter and editor at various newspapers around the country. I wrote about race relations, immigration, poverty, and politics, including a couple of presidential elections. Eventually I became a foreign correspondent in Vietnam, first for the San Jose Mercury News, then for the Associated Press.

My family and I moved to Seattle two years ago, when my wife took a job in the global health division of the Gates Foundation. We’ve been here two years now. I’ve been doing various freelance writing assignments and working on a novel set in Vietnam.

B: What prompted you to move to Vietnam?  How long were you there and where about did you live?

Ben: I never intended to move to Vietnam or to become a foreign correspondent. When the Mercury News asked me to take the Vietnam assignment, it came as a complete surprise. From the minute my wife and I set foot in Hanoi, though, we loved the place. We arrived in 2002, when our children were 2 and 5 years old, and didn’t return until eight years later. We lived on the outskirts of Hanoi in a gorgeous villa near a lake. Our kids attended a wonderful international school. We were very spoiled and very lucky.

B: Tell us about the work you did whilst there.  What type of assignments did you have and what were you documenting?

Ben: During the first three years, I served as Southeast Asia Bureau Chief for the Mercury News, which serves a large population of Vietnamese refugees who came to the U.S. after the war. After that, I served as Vietnam bureau chief for the Associated Press. In both jobs, I wrote about the rapid social and economic change that has been transforming the country, which, like its communist neighbor China, has a single-party political system but has been gradually implementing free-market economic reforms.

For two decades after the war, Vietnam was cut off from the West by an economic embargo. The communist government implemented a classic centrally planned economy — with catastrophic results. In recent years, as the government encouraged the establishment of private enterprise, the economy has boomed. The pace of development accelerated after the U.S. and Vietnam restored economic ties in 1994 and again after 2006, when Vietnam was admitted into World Trade Organization.

My work in Vietnam focused on everything from economics to fashion to art to television — I covered anything that conveyed a sense of how quickly and dramatically the country was changing.

I also wrote about more delicate subjects, such as religious and political freedom. Although it has loosened its grip on the economy, Vietnam’s communist government does not tolerate dissent and routinely jails those who speak out.

When major news broke out around the region, I traveled to other countries to cover stories, such as the Asian tsunami in Indonesia and a political coup in Thailand.

B: How was family life in Vietnam?  Are there any traditions that you have kept?

Ben: Our life in Vietnam was wonderful. The Vietnamese are extremely generous, and extremely forgiving. At first, we worried that people would not be welcoming to Americans, especially in Hanoi, where people still remember B-52s dropping bombs on them. But anti-Americanism is extremely rare in Vietnam. People were incredibly warm and welcoming, especially if you took the time to learn some Vietnamese.

In every Vietnamese home you will find a family altar, where people burn incense and leave fruit and other offerings to their ancestors. Here in Seattle, we maintain a small altar in memory of my father, who died during my last year in Vietnam.

B: What camera were you shooting with at the time and at which point did the iPhone come into play?

Ben: The Mercury-News sent me off to Vietnam with a Canon 10-D as well as a 200 mm lens and a 15-36mm zoom, both very nice prime lenses. A couple of times a year, they’d send a staff photographer over to load up on features and shoot pictures to accompany my stories. The rest of the time, I was on my own. I basically shot pictures when I needed to illustrate a story or wanted to document a family trip. In 2008, our last year in Hanoi, I purchased an iPhone and started taking pictures with it, mostly while riding around the streets of Hanoi on my motorbike. This was quite foolhardy — the Hanoi traffic is insane, and the risks of an accident are high even if you are driving with two hands and focusing on the road. But there were so many interesting things to photograph on the streets, I couldn’t resist. I’d steer with one and and shoot iPhone pictures with the other. Miraculously, I’m one of the few people I know who lived in Hanoi but never had a fender-bender.

B: What is your fondest memory?  Is there a story you’d like to share with us?

Ben: Well, this isn’t a fond memory, but it’s vivid, and it has to do with photography. Once towards the end of my stay in Vietnam, I was arrested for taking photographs of a news event without permission. A group of Catholics — mostly priests and nuns — were holding a candlelight vigil near St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the biggest church in Hanoi. They wanted the communist authorities to return some land they had seized from the church not long after they came to power in 1945. The state controls religion in Vietnam, and protests are generally forbidden. As soon as I started shooting pictures, an undercover cop arrested me and took me to the Security Ministry headquarters, where I was beaten. The cop actually hit me on my head with the 10-D and broke the lens. The entire episode became a minor international incident. One of the protesters videotaped my arrest and posted it on YouTube. It’s still there, and it’s one of the first things that comes up if you Google me. I would have been deported if the American ambassador hadn’t intervened on my behalf. In the end, I got a brand new Canon 5D Mark II out of the deal, courtesy of the Associated Press.

B: What do you miss the most?

Ben: The food, life street life, and the people. Especially the people. They are funny, wise, kind and resourceful. I miss them every day.

B: Are there any photojournalists on Instagram or another platform that you would recommend?

Ben: My former AP colleague David Guttenfelder is a brilliant photographer. He’s shot photographs of every international conflict in the last 20 years, including some amazing images from Afghanistan, where he spent a lot of time embedded with U.S. troops. He began posting iPhone pics on his Facebook page long before Instagram turned up, and has recently become an avid Instagramer (dguttenfelder).

Another excellent photojournalist active on Instagram is Tomas van Houtryve (tomasvh). Penny de los Santos (pennydelossantos), a former colleague at the Mercury News, can be found on IG as well.

Other IG favorites: je_k, stickiyinhanoi, ipangwahid, josebandeira, zuoc123, iphonefarmer, and eros_sana.

B: And finally, if you were to travel to any place in the world where would you go and why?

Ben: There are many places I would love to go. I’d be happy to live in Vietnam again, if I ever got the chance, or virtually anywhere in Southeast Asia. Myanmar, which is just opening up after years of totalitarian rule, would be very interesting. I lived in Spain for 2.5 years and speak fluent Spanish, but I’ve never been to Latin America. I’d love to go there. And then there’s Rwanda. My wife recently went there on a work trip and loved it.

I plan to return to Vietnam in the spring with my new iPhone, which is vastly superior to the first-generation phone I used to take these iPhone shots.


Ben Stocking is a Seattle writer/editor who spent 30 years working in daily journalism, including eight years in Hanoi, where he served as the Vietnam bureau chief for the Associated Press. He is currently working on a novel set in Hanoi.

Email / Twitter / Tumblr (Political blog.) / Kik: benstocking

Meet the Decim8nday Cr8ors

Meet the Decim8nday Cr8ors: David and Suzanne by Bridgette 

Don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate @Decim8nday‘s 1st birthday than by introducing the creators of #Decim8nday, David and Suzanne, to you all.

I came across the Decim8nday tag after becoming obsessed with the app end of  last year.  I then “met” David and Suzanne when I interviewed Kris aka @movax, Decim8’s developer back in March.

A few months ago, we introduced the Decim8nday showcase here on Juxt.  I felt the need to further expose the work of those who shared the same passion for abstract, deconstructed images and of course, this fantabulous app (thank you, Kris!).

It has been great seeing everyone’s participation every week and it has been a pleasure working with David and Suzanne.  They have put a lot of effort and time into Decim8nday and because of this I felt it was time to formally introduce them.

So here we are…

B: Bridgette D:  David S:  Suzanne

B: We’d love to know more about the cr8ors of Decim8nday so tell us… what do you for a living? Have you always had an interest in photography?  Are you originally from California?

D: Thank you so much for featuring Decim8nday! As one of the people behind the tag, I’m humbled to be interviewed by WeAreJuxt. Born & raised in San Jose, I am enjoying my career as an Union Electrician.  I enjoy the job, as it is very challenging and I often get views & perspectives that are unique.

iPhoneography turned my passive interest in photography, into a passionate interest!  The photography apps available on the iPhone are mindblowing, and Decim8 has been one of my favorites.

S: Oh, I’m San Francisco Bay Area born-and-raised as well.  I’ve spent some time in other California regions, and on Long Island in New York, but always came back to NorCal — where I feel I’ve got nearly everything.

I’m a science teacher, with a background in marine biology and natural history and my interest in photography (as well as marine science) began in high school on the coast of Central California. Until I became hooked on mobile photography, most of my images were “natural world” subjects and edited very little. How things have changed!

Self portrait by Suzanne 

B: Am curious, have you both met in person?

D: Even though we live less than 100 miles, we haven’t met in person. We are connected on all the popular social networks, and that’s where we share our latest images & ideas.

S:  I think it’s likely I’ll see David on a photowalk one of these days!  There is an enthusiastic and talented group of mobile photographers here in the Bay Area who get together often to share their creativity.  I’m really happy that I’ve gotten to share with them off of Instagram.

B:  How did Decim8nday come into effect?  Who thought of it first?

D:  Decim8nday started as a way to post a Decim8 on Instagram and be able see the ‘original’ image in the profile gridview.  Suzanne is credited with using the tag first, and I can’t remember who thought of it first.  The first Decim8nday was 10/10/11, and we jointly promoted it on our personal Instagram accounts.

S:  The details are a bit fuzzy, yes… David and I had been following each other on IG for a short while and I think, if memory serves, he commented on a Decim8ed portrait I had posted.  It was a Monday, he suggested that it could springboard into a cool weekly project.  I think I reached out and asked him if he really thought it was a good idea and if so, what would he call it. David named Decim8nday (even though I guess I used the tag first) and we started a lengthy conversation about what purpose could this weekly project serve.
(This project appealed to me personally as I was really craving some change in the art I was creating; Decim8 was the gateway!)

B:  For those unfamiliar with Decim8nday, please explain and list the basic “rules”?

D:  Absolutely, the “rules” for Decim8nday start with choosing one of your last 12 photos posted to Instagram, as the base image to Decim8.  Then, within the caption or comments of the Decim8 post, list the effects used within Decim8.  If any other apps were used along the way, we asked that those be listed as well. Many people post incredible Decim8’d images, but we really enjoyed seeing the original image, and learning the effects in Decim8

 S:  David has described the basics here. The only thing that I’d add is that for some time now, we’ve included the Decim8This sub-project on Mondays. This is where weekly guest editors are asked to provide a previously unposted and unedited photograph for folks to screenshot and Decim8 (yes, using ONLY Decim8 to create their edit). The guest editor selects three to highlight on Wednesday. We we were really excited that WeAreJuxters wanted to partner with us on this.

B:  Any tips for Decim8 app newbies?  Some people may get frustrated or overwhelmed, not knowing how to choose an effect at first, what advice would you give?  Is there an effect you suggest starting out with?

D:  To me, Decim8 is an app that must be learned one effect at a time. I like to use images that are not too busy when learning an effect.  Also, I move the effect up and down on the list of effects to see how it renders when applied “strong or weak”.  Everyone has unique taste & preferences, but I suggest starting with Graboid or Precog1 to see what the app can do.

Untitled by David

Decim8 effect used: Precog1

S:  Funny that David and I haven’t talked about this topic at all!  I do agree that this “breaking it down” type of approach works for many — isolating the effects and determining which ones lend themselves well to the varieties of photographic composition. I’m THAT gal, for sure. But, I would never discourage anyone from hitting that Random button for a ride through Decim8 and see what comes out the other side of it.  That’s pretty fun and promotes some whimsy, right?  And who doesn’t need that every so often?

B:  What is your favorite effect(s) / combo?

D:  My favorites are Graboid, Precog1 & L225. I am enjoying the new effects on the most recent update, but L225 is still my ultimate favorite.

S:  Ha! David’s favorites are not making my list — no way. I can’t get some of them to perform for me.  And that is one of the things I really enjoy about this forum — this appreciation I have for the wonderful results others are getting with effects that boggle my little brain. Some of my favorites are the “new” Tribomb, a radical triangular pixelation, Blitbomb and Vortron (redux). I’m really liking what I see Decim8ors are doing with another new effect, Glassdagger.

B:  How is the new Decim8This feature coming along?  Do you feel as if more people are into it or would you like to bring back the original Decim8nday idea at some point?

D:  I like the Decim8This weekly feature, seeing what everyone does with the same image is amazing!!  We are still seeing people sticking to the original theme every week also, and I expect that to continue regardless of the succession of Decim8This weekly features.

S:  The Decim8This project on Mondays certainly derived from the “original” Decim8nday.  There were a few of us wanting to isolate Decim8 and its unique qualities.  It’s a wonderful app to use in conjunction with others, of course, but Decim8This is about seeing an image interpreted in a multitude of ways, BUT using the same tools as your fellow Decim8ors.

B:  I remember joining Decim8nday this time last year and til this day it’s one of my favorite days of the week.  Do you participate in other weekly hashtags?

D: Personally, I participate in the HipstaRoll quite often, and Black & White Wednesday fairly regularly.  Unfortunately, increased demand at work has made everything iPhoneography related take a back seat over the last few months.

S:  Well, nothing as regular as Decim8nday!  I do love #sundaybluesedit; if I can score a quiet Sunday morning, I’ll do that.  I’m really enjoying @poppybay’s #fridaynightpoetryreading too; I was involved with a poetry podcast a few years ago, so this marriage of word and image really appeals to me.

Union Square by Suzanne

Decim8 effects used: Bunker, Blitbomb, Xexox

B:  Are you on any other photo sharing platforms besides Instagram?

D:  Instagram is my primary sharing platform, but I have accounts on Flickr, EyeEm, Starmatic, tadaa, PicYou & Keepsy.

S:  I’ve just fired up my Flickr account again after a long break and “clean-up”.  I just opened a Starmatic feed last week; I’m thinking that I’ll post only abstract edits there. (I can’t see the point of posting all the same stuff in each app.) I’m on Google+, but I mostly just “listen” there.  Same with Twitter.  While I’ll post the occasional photo there, it is my place to read about science and photography topics.

B:  Aside from using Decim8, what other apps do you use?  Do you use any other apps which deconstruct?

D:  My favorite shooting apps are Hipstamatic, Hueless, 645Pro, ProCamera, NoFinder & Pro HDR.  Decim8 is the only graphicly deconstructing app that I use, I haven’t even looked for others.

S:  For me, it’s almost always native camera and Hipstamatic for shooting.  I love Snapseed for editing. Lens + has some great filters for both still and video, too.  I’d love to work with Noir more; I haven’t had but the occasional success with it. Decim8 is the only app I use to deconstruct an image.

B:  Do you have any ideas for a future Decim8nday project with Kris, the cr8or of Decim8?  Any thoughts floating around on ways to help engage people to participate in Decim8nday and use the app?

D:  Personally, I haven’t. I haven’t been too involved over the past few months. I’ve too consumed at work for the regular demands of a weekly project. I hope to resume more active participation in time, but for the time being, I just can’t.

S:  I’m fresh out of grand-scale ideas at the moment!  The greatest thing about Decim8nday right now is that Decim8 has such a following– it’s doing a lot of the work itself.  #Decim8nday operates without too much facilitation and people have always done what they wanted to there. While we ask people to edit one of their last 12 posted images and cite their process, it doesn’t always happen. David and I agree that we won’t spend the time to police it, rather to encourage from the sidelines. Decim8This requires more of a hands-on approach, but we call upon other enthusiasts to work with us each week, share the workload.  It’s been working great.

B:  It seems as if there is a core group of Decim8ors who join in on the weekly hashtag.  What message would you give those who haven’t yet?

D:  I advise anyone that wants to learn what others are doing with Decim8 to follow the tag, see what effects others are using, and what the original image was prior to decim8’ing.  Those who participate regularly usually become very fond of the app, as they have learned what effects do what, and how to combine them well.

Jet Blue by David 

Decim8 effect used: Brainfeed3r

S:  I agree, and wholeheartedly, with David’s advice.  Ask questions, communicate about art.  Additionally, here’s an opportunity to let go of the controls — throw caution to the wind and have fun!

B:  Here’s a random question: if you were to travel back in time, which era would you choose to live in and why?

D:  If I had to choose, I’d probably guess the early 1800’s in the United States, before our population & technology explosion. I’d have loved to be one of the Pioneer’s blazing their way towards the Wild West.

S:  (Bridgette, that IS so random.) Without spending more than 2 minutes considering this, I will tell you that I think it would have been really cool to have been on the HMS Beagle with Darwin (mid-1800’s) identifying and cataloging new species OR working with Linnaeus, the century before, systematically organizing the animal and plant kingdoms and developing the naming system of binomial nomenclature. Both were exciting times for art-science connections. Albertus Seba and his Cabinet of Natural Curiosities comes to mind.

B:  Name an artist or photographer who has influenced you or who you admire most.

D:  Tammy George, aka @punkrawkpurl, has been my favorite iPhoneoographer to follow. She combines excellent fundamental photography with an unparalleled ‘App proficiency’ to create her incredible images. She also brilliantly co-manages a thriving community (HipstaRoll) and contributes to others like Ampt. I am continually amazed in all she does, and all she is involved with.

S:  Well, I admire the work of many, many IGers — too many to list here today!  My favorites from the professional world: I love the large scale work of contemporary photographer Richard Misrach, whose waterscapes blow my mind.  Karl Blossfeldt and Charles Jones both worked in monochrome and paid attention to the patterns that occur in nature.

Golden Gate Bridge by Suzanne

Decim8 effect used: Fold4Rap5 

In lieu of Decim8nday’s 1st birthday, I asked David and Suzanne to choose five of their favorite edits throughout the year.  Hard to do but they were up for the challenge!

David’s choices (in no particular order):

Hello, Hello, Can You Hear Me? You are Cutting Out, You’re Cutting Out of the Radar… by @cekws

Sunday on Monday by @debinsf 

#Eiffelbirds by @jvdt 

Untitled by @buzz777

Untitled by @mcquake01

Suzanne’s choices (in no particular order):

Untitled by @markgoblue

Untitled by @nickcoops 

My Boys and Me by @imelda 

Untitled by @agent0047 

Free Couch by @cecilyc 


“Look up, look down—notice stuff.” is what reads in Suzanne’s Instagram bio. She’s a science teacher and a photography enthusiast who only a year ago shuddered at the thought of editing a photograph—much less using her phone as a creative tool.  Suzanne curates #Decim8nday with David Baer and now has her hands on as many editing tools as she can handle.  Find her on Instagram at @_suzanne_.

David is a Silicon Valley based guy, who does electrical work by day, but spends most of his free time in iPhoneography related endeavors. Decim8 has been one of his favorite editing apps & the #Decim8nday tag was created with Suzanne to explore more with Decim8 and the Instagram community. Find him on Instagram & twitter at @david_baer.

Dream Come True, #UWvSDSU

iPhone vs Behemoth (Photo by Jen)

Juxt and Igers Seattle is entering a really cool project with the University of Washington Athletics Department.  Our local photographers are granted access to behind the scenes of UW’s athletic games and starting with its largest athletic program – Husky football.

We look forward to this partnership and will ask local mobile shooters to join us in these events when the space arises. The marriage between photography and social media is a great one.  This is an opportunity to show the work of local mobile photographers covering amazing and awesome events.

Big thanks to Daniel Hour , Director for New Media & Recruiting Services, University of Washington Athletics.  He has been a great advocate for the work of local mobile device photographers through Instagram and other social networks.  It is great to have him as a resource and a partner with this project.  BIG Thanks D and to your staff as well.

Also Big Thanks to Bridgette and Jen for covering the UW vs SDSU game.  The first of the season! AND for the HUSKY nation…GO DAWGS!

Thoughts and Photos from Bridgette

I grew up watching the Mets in Queens, NY.  I’d sit in front of the TV and keep score by myself – with a bag of chips and a homemade scoresheet.  I was in love with Keith Hernandez back then. When they won the World Series in ’86 I felt this burst of energy inside of me and an overwhelming feeling.  Tears of joy streamed down my cheeks – I was 10.

I knew that I loved watching sports and loved my team.  As I got older, I got into watching other sports, namely tennis then football.  As the Mets’ wins dwindled I quickly became consumed by football, plus I started to become a hardcore Favre fan.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love football.  I’d do anything to watch the games and believe me, living in London didn’t make it easy with the time difference and all.  However, I did keep up.

But, never in a million years did I ever think that I’d actually step on the field.

Last Saturday, I was given the opportunity to snap pics during the University of Washington Huskies‘ first home game over at CenturyLink Field.  Jen and I went representing JUXT and Instagramers Seattle with a media pass which enabled us to get on the field (pre-game) and during the final minutes of the 4th quarter.  We got there a bit early to park our cars and head on over to the stadium to take pics of the fans and all the action before the game started.

As soon as we exited the parking garage, we felt the buzz and excitement.  Fans were stoked for the opening game.  We walked through the tunnel, down the steps and onto the grounds of CenturyLink field.  People were everywhere and rushing to get to their seats.

People lined up to get in with huge smiles on their face. The band was outside playing and the cheerleaders were doing their thing too.  It was a bright, clear evening here in Seattle and the energy was high.

First thing was first.  We knew we only had a limited amount of time before the game started so Jen and I found our way to the field before venturing out through the stadium.  I have to admit, I was feeling nervous but most of all I was so eager to get there.  Once we approached the opening which led us to the field my eyes just lit up and my jaw dropped.  The lights, the action, the cameras, the people – all of it was amazing.

The Huskies ended the game by winning 21 – 12 vs San Diego State.  There were moments of highs and lows but all I remember are the cheers and the excitement.  And, all I wanted to capture were those moments of appreciation and dedication that fans truly have for their home team.

The night was over and it was time to head home.  The players exited the field and the band closed the night while the cheerleaders ended with their final hoorah. Slowly, the stadium emptied out and the field was alone – it was then that I walked onto the green and breathed it all in.  It was a dream come true and a night I’ll never forget.

** All pics are taken with Hipstamatic combo Jane lens / Blackkeys Supergrain – unedited 

Thoughts and Photos from Jen

MMMmmmmm, chips! …See how my focus is on the bag of chips Bridgette had, and not the game? I’m not really a sports fan. I grew up hanging out in the same room with my sister and father while they watched sports on TV. I don’t know how I managed it all those years, but I remained uninterested in the games. So when Bridgette asked me if I wanted to go to a football game, I thought, what the heck?, I’ll go sit in the stands with her and eat some garlic fries. Within the next few days though I got emails with words like “Press Pass” and “access to the field”. Um, WHAT?! My anxiety level rose as I began to think that I was expected to know the game and write up something intelligent afterwards.

Well, I was assured that that was not the case, so I went along and enjoyed the ride. And enjoy it, I did! Bridgette’s excitement was contagious, but even without that, it was an amazing feeling to be down on the field right next to the players and the professional media. And what a thrill to know that our cell phones got us there. Bridgette and I were teased by one of the pros… “Nice camera!” said our new friend Michael Moore, holding his enormous camera. I loved being able to say, “Yeah, well, these cameras got us here!” That shut him up–except to start asking a lot of questions about who we were representing. It was fun to spread the mobile-photography word.

Annnyway, I think I’d better close now by saying again how great it was to be at the game. The whole vibe there was fabulous. I’m a fan now. And I didn’t even get any garlic fries.

Check out the @JUXT_UW account on Instagram for images from the game and games in the future.  And here are my favorite images from the evening…

B was glowing all evening
Warm up
A short break
Conductor on high
Boys will be boys
“Macho Man”, Husky style
Press suite
Getting’ his G on

Chihuly: Light in the Dark

I first learned about Dale Chihuly when I visited the Museum of Glass down in Tacoma, WA last summer.  My mother-in-law, who loves Chihuly, has been fascinated by his work for years so when I moved to Seattle last year she recommended we all take a family trip.

The museum is comprised of various works by a number artists in the 20 – 21st century. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits including the famous Chihuly Bridge of Glass – one which you can walk through to get to downtown Tacoma.  By the way, you can view them working in the Hot Shop live here – really cool to see them in action!

Chihuly was born in Tacoma, WA so he is highly admired in the Pacific Northwest as well as all over the world (list of installations can be found here).  This summer, Seattle opened the doors to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition adjacent to the Space Needle.  For months, I observed the development of the glass building and was eager for its completion.  I held off visiting until two weeks ago so that I could take my mother and sister who were visiting from New York City since they had also seen his sculptures at the Museum of Glass.  I knew that they’d both love it and so would my 3 year old.  We went on a sunny day so that we could enjoy the outdoor garden and relax in the sitting area.

When we first entered, the room was pitch black and I thought to myself, how would I photograph these glass sculptures in the dark without losing its color and form?  I began with two Hipstamatic combos but then soon realized that I wanted the clear effect of the Jane lens so I paired it with Blanko Noir film.  It was magic!

The following shots are all taken in the dark using the Jane lens / BlankoNoir film Hipsta combo – unedited.

After checking out my roll at my home, I was further amazed at how well the combo caught the light and colors of the sculptures – some are even transparent.  Despite the darkness from room to room, the camera managed to capture them beautifully – I just love the high contrast and vivid colors.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have any other tips for shooting in the dark feel free to share them too!

> A special thank you goes out to @praiseboognish for his inspiration.  If you haven’t already seen his work I suggest you check out his gallery – you will be amazed by his artistry and creations!

> Two images from this collection are a part of my #Bsummerabstract series on Instagram.

Hipsta 1-2-3: SKYSCRAPER

Welcome to my very first Hipsta 1-2-3 tutorial!

As a lover of Hipstamatic, these tutorials will be designed to show easy step-by-step examples of fine tuning an almost perfect Hipsta shot in 3 steps or less.

The key to Hipstamatic is learning what combos work best for every type of photo – whether it be landscape, portrait, street, architectural and so on.  I’m sure all the “Hipstanerds” can agree to this!

This photo was taken over the weekend during my trip to Vancouver, B.C., Canada.  As those of you here in the Pacific Northwest know, this past weekend was a delight!  The sun was blazing and, I of course, was eyeing every opportunity for a shot to share here on Juxt ; )

Some may say that there is no need to edit this pic but my personal preference here is to:

>  achieve a deeper, blue color

>  increase the definition between the building and sky

>  do the above while ensuring the bird would still be visible

Let me just say that my goal for these tutorials is to preserve the most out of the original Hipsta shot and keep it “HipstaMinimal” – thanks to my friends over at The Minimals for this tag!

SKYSCRAPER [original]: shot with Hipstamatic combo Jane lens + Sugar film // no flash

Decreased ambiance in Snapseed to:

sharpen lines, add vignette (mainly on bottom corners) &  heighten contrast


Darkened photo to:

achieve a deeper, midnight blue and make sky more uniform

Opened in VSCO CAM to decrease contrast slightly


For those of you who are weary about using Hipstamatic feel free to message me for any tips.

Also, I highly recommend following @Hipstaroll on Instagram for valuable insight and weekly combos.  It’s a great way to get familiar with the app and experiment.

Thank you all for checking out this tutorial and I hope you have found it helpful.

Tony in Seattle

Tony in Seattle by Bridgette

Today marks our first Instagramers Seattle Feature!

Each month a member of the manIGers team will select a photographer to interview here on the Juxt blog.  The idea behind this is to showcase local artists who are creative and representative of the Pacific Northwest.  

To date, we are close to 50,000 photos tagged with #Igers_Seattle, so if you haven’t already checked out our gallery please do.  There is plenty of incredible talent, believe me!   

So, let’s get to it.

Everyone… meet Tony… a “Seattle guy”

B:  Bridgette  T:  Tony

B: Hi Tony, let’s start with this shot, one which is particularly AMAZING!  Are you a surfer? Where were you when you took this?

T: Gosh, no! I wish I were a surfer, but I have to be content with boogie boarding and other water sports that take place in waist-deep water. I have a fear of dying by drowning. I think I’d prefer fire. Actually, yes, I’ve just decided for certain that I would prefer fire. While I can manage on the water’s surface just fine — floating, dog-paddling, splashing or sipping a Campari and tonic on a raft — I’m not fond of being pushed under by a ton of falling water.

This shot was taken in Pacific City, Oregon, which is a small, quiet, surf-friendly beach town. My husband, Rand, and I own a little house down there that we use as an escape, so I do have quite a few beach and surfer shots in my feed. Rand surfs, so he shows up in a lot of my shots. Having spent part of my youth in Hawaii, I’m fascinated by the surf scene down there. It’s not territorial and it’s actually very beginner friendly. Most everyone there is just starting out and not actually very good. Except for Rand, of course, who is the best surfer I’ve ever witnessed and certainly ever will.

B: Here’s another favorite – I think of this effect as your signature effect.  What are your favorite editing tools / apps? And tell us which you use to create the blur and drama.

T: This look kind of became known as the “blurry people” effect, and I have many variations on this theme in my feed. I actually think these pieces feel positive and liberating, but based on a few comments I’ve received, I think some people see it as “beautiful death” in some oxymoronic way. That’s OK with me, too. I like that its intent is vague.

The look actually came about by accident. I masked out part of a figure and intended to blur the rest of the scene, but I forgot to invert the mask and I ended up with a partially blurred person. From there it morphed. For example, I have several pieces in which the blur extends in the direction opposite of what you’d perceive to be the movement. I like the jarring effect it creates.

This one — called “Ascent” — is actually my favorite. Here I’ve use the blur to give the feeling of a person evaporating. I called it “Ascent” because I imagine this person ascending to a better place. And I don’t mean from life to heaven, but maybe just from sadness to joy, or from frustration to forgiveness. It’s a movement in a positive direction. But I guess I can also see how some might see a person dissolving molecule by molecule in a Star Trek kind of way.

To get the effect, I use the masking feature in PhotoWizard, and then I apply the Motion Blur tool. Sometimes I do this repeatedly at different strengths and in various areas to keep it from looking too uniform. To get the “smoky” look above the figure, I mask again, and adjust brightness and hue to get it to match the rest of the blur.

To get the texturing, I like to use the layers feature in PhotoForge2. Most of the textures are photos I’ve taken — rusty walls, grimy concrete, driftwood, sand, tree bark, paint, etc. Sometimes I’ll layer two or three to get the look I want.

B: By looking at your photos it’s clear that you love to travel, which has been your most memorable moment? Where would you love to travel to next?

T: I am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel so much. My high school years were spent entirely in Germany (my stepfather was an Army pilot) so I’ve always wanted to stray from home from time to time. Rand and I own a small design firm and we design everything from furniture to holiday items to home decor. We have two large manufacturing partners in Asia, so we travel there 3 to 5 times a year to oversee the development of our products. I think I’ve been to China nearly 40 times already, and I’m still not tired of it.

We feel very lucky to be able to work and travel together without killing each other, and these trips give us the opportunity to tag on short vacations after our work is done, such as Thailand, Bali, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan and Korea. Although I traveled with my family all throughout Europe while I was in high school, and Rand and I have seen so much of Asia through our business travels, there are still so many places to visit. India is high on my list. I’d jump at a chance to get to Morocco or Greece. And we are planning a Turkey trip next year with friends. I also need to see Lebanon sometime before I die because I am half Lebanese.

One of my most memorable travel experiences happened just this year on a trip with a large group of friends to southern Africa. Our friend who planned the trip tagged on a humanitarian effort, and, using funds we collected, we had a kitchen built for a school for orphaned children in Zambia. Rarely do you have the opportunity to give and see directly the effect you are having on real people.

B: Your photos in general are so atmospheric and resemble remarkable pieces of art. Have you ever taken a painting class? Who or what influences you most?   


T: Wow, I really appreciate the compliment. My biggest influence is actually Rand, who truly is a talented artist in every sense of the word. He’s an incredible sculptor and painter, and his work never ceases to surprise and amaze me. I’m inspired by him to bring that variety into my own work. I don’t really consider myself an “artist” in the same sense, but I have always had a creative side. I excel at photography and graphic design, and I have nice handwriting (does that count?), but physical art-related activities (sculpting, painting, etc.) elude me.

When Rand and I first met in the mid-90s, I tried painting and sculpting alongside him. I was very good at painting Pharaoh eyes that seem to be staring directly at you from a side-turned face, and I fired a clay serving piece or two that would be welcome at any Klingon dinner party, but that’s as far as I got. Most of the art I’ve wanted to create was either with a camera or a computer. But after a day of work on a computer, the last thing I want to do was spend the evening at the same computer creating art. So Instagram, my camera, and my iPad have actually been an incredible outlet for me. Having an instant audience on Instagram is so gratifying, if not somewhat addictive. After that initial rush of “likes” starts to slow, it’s tough not to want to post again right away to keep it going.

I’ve always had a big interest in trompe l’oeil, which is a fancy French art term that means to “deceive the eye.” It’s an old technique that involves imagery to trick the eye – say, a painted door or window on a wall to give the illusion of a larger space. I spent many a lunch hour after college in temp jobs drawing extremely realistic paper clips on the desk pads of secretaries just so I could spend the afternoon watching them try to periodically brush them aside.

So I like to add a little bit of the almost impossible to some of my images to deceive the eye. For example, in the cloud image above, the beach is Pacific City, but the clouds were shot just a month ago in Vietnam. In this image I joined the two together and flipped the clouds upside-down. The clouds almost look plausible, but there’s something a little off about them. I like bringing disparate images like these together in a sort of collage, but when I do, I want the transitions from one element to another to be seamless.

B: Tell us a bit more about yourself. Aside from exploring the great outdoors, what else do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What type of music do you listen to? Do you have a favorite book of all time?

T: I’m a big fan of hiking the amazing mountains and waterways that surround Seattle. I can’t imagine a more ideally placed city than ours. I also love to cook. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and for the past 20 years, my good friend Ruth and I have cranked out 20 unique meals for a large group of guests. (Rand and my sister, Karen, do the table decor.) We have a “no repeat recipes” rule, so there’s a lot of testing and planning involved. We also don’t let people contribute any food of their own, even if they claim they cannot survive a Thanksgiving without their grandmother’s mushroom-lima bean casserole. We simply can’t risk any unplanned dish disrupting the perfect harmony of color, texture, and flavor we believe we’re creating… haha.

As far as music goes, I’m a big fan and supporter of KEXP radio (if you’re outside Seattle, check them out on the Internet or in the Apple App Store). I guess I’m partial to indie Seattle artists, like Damien Jurado, Ivan & Alyosha, and Unbunny, but I also love Dan Mangan, Langhorne Slim, and Phosphorescent.

My favorite book of late has been “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell, which the Wachowskis have adapted to film and will release this fall. To me, this book seems nearly impossible to adapt to film, so I’m excited to see what they’ve produced.

B: And lastly, name three restaurants you’d recommend to a first time visitor here in Washington, of course!

T: I could easily name 10. There are so many fantastic places here. My top three this week might be The Walrus and the Carpenter (oysters, fantastic small plates, and amazing cocktails), How to Cook a Wolf (incredible pastas and crudo), and Sitka & Spruce (local farm-fresh foods and incredible atmosphere). But I’d also recommend stopping at Metropolitan Market grocery store at the bottom of Queen Anne Hill, grabbing a few Salumi sandwiches, an orzo salad, some cookies, and a bottle of wine and heading to Discovery Park to picnic with the sun setting behind the Olympics as your backdrop.

BIO: Tony is a product and furniture designer in Seattle. His household consists of himself; his husband, Rand; two cats; an espresso machine; two ovens; a pair of hiking boots; travel shorts; and a stack of unread books.

IG username: @tonyinseattle
Hometown: Although I wasn’t born in Seattle, I’ve been here longest and freely claim it as my hometown
Current location: Seattle, WA
Camera(s): iPhone 4S and Olympus E-M5

Show and tell: a child’s laughter

A child’s laughter is music to my ears.

It’s an affirmation that life is good.

A reward at the end of the day when things may seem impossible

and a reminder of how pure and gentle our souls really are.

A child laughs with every inch of their being… uncontrollably.

It’s natural and beautiful…

contagious too.

And, what’s really funny is that “kids DO say the darndest things!”

This is my lil guy in the photo

he brings joy to my world in more ways than one.

Moments like this

priceless moments

which at times trigger flashbacks to my own childhood.

It’s all right in front of me.

I soak it all in.

His laughter is music to my ears…


Kris Collins: Creator of Decim8 & Rocker of Eyeballs by Bridgette S.

I’m thrilled to introduce Kris, @movax, to all of you decim8 fans!

B: Bridgette K: Kris

B: Hi Kris!  So, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your line of profession and are you an app developer by trade?  Would you consider yourself a very technical person or more of a creative type?

K:  I am a professional programmer, working mainly on mobile apps for clients.  However I’ve been involved in the creative side of coding for a long time, learning a lot about code through Demoscene, making my own games, and live visuals / artcode installations at music events.  For me, making software is one of the best ways to fuse both the creative side and the technical side of your brain.  It can be a lot of work but highly rewarding.

B: Tell us about the decim8 app and how it came about?  Where did the idea stem from?  And how long did it take you to develop and launch?

K: Its kind of funny… I actually had the idea in a dream that I was using an iPhone camera that would keep destroying my photos.  In the dream it began as annoying but then I started to think, “this is kinda awesome.”  I woke up and began work on it that very day.  The first couple of versions were pretty rough, as some of the original users will tell you.

B: Personally, I love Veth, Sigstop, Bunker, Precog1 and Vortron. Which effect is your favorite and do you have a favorite combo?

K: I have a personal spot in my heart for L225… I just love the strange fractal-esque recursion patterns it can create from such simple source material.  Interface->Blitbomb can be really cool, and a lot of the new effects can get really crazy.

B: What tips/advice would you give to new decim8 users? 

K: Well first I would probably recommend having an open mind and not worrying TOO much about seeking a specific outcome from the app.  Part of the concept, at least in my mind is to let the machines do what they are good at – and that includes randomizing in ways you might not have discovered yourself.  This is frustrating to some users but is a large part of the joy to others.

B: What other apps do you like to use in combination with decim8?  I’m a huge Hipstamatic fan and find it works extremely well together – I love the edge it gives! 

K: I do have a few go-to apps for photography, but I’m a little ashamed that I don’t explore the offerings a bit more.  Hopefully this year I’ll have more time to look into other apps and techniques.  I do use PicFrame to assemble and crop my shots, iMajiCam for some of the strange distortions, SlowShutter for cool light-trails.  I love Pano for those epic assembled-panoramas and Tiny Planets for well, making tiny planets.  And of course Instagram, the king of them all!

B:  What’s new in the recent Version 3.0 update?

K: It’s been a successful launch with only a couple hiccups for some users.  New features include:

– Total UI/UX redesign

– 7 New effects

– Create and name custom effect combinations

– Tap-to-focus

– “Torch” mode flash

– Share via twitter

– Send postcards via Postagram

– Effects preview icon and effect info screens

– Add effects one at-a-time

B:  How many new effects are there?

K: 7 new effects:

(original image is of my friend doing live visuals in Miami.. why not!)

Brainfeeder : Takes an image and echoes it while superimposing that echo each time over the rest.  It’s a feedback effect really.  Sometimes feeds back into total white noise but sometimes does really interesting things.

Doctor Ocular : was created by an idea from @docpop who suggested “chromatic distortions” and this was my take on that concept.

XEXOX : Something like a bad copy machine streaking and pulling the image in unnatural ways.

Fold 4 Rap 5 : Fold and wraps.. It’s a recursive mirroring effect.

BitBoy : uses 1-Bit dithering to completely crush your image, sometimes layering that back on top of the original

TI994X : Turns your image into an almost unrecognizable low-res “character display” version of itself.  Like a dirty Atari cartridge.

Oirectine : Harmonic color palette remapping, to take the colors into some intense areas.

B: Currently, the #decim8nday has 1,900+ photos in its gallery.  @_suzanne_ and @david_baer kick started this back in October 2011.  For all those who aren’t familiar with the # decim8nday, it occurs every Monday.  The idea is to select one of your last 12 photos in your gallery and run it through the decim8 app.  What are your thoughts regarding this gallery? 

K: I was impressed and surprised when David and Suzanne came to me with the idea, as I previously thought that Decim8 and its concept were too weird to catch on with a “day” of its own..  But people have been super stoked on the idea.  It’s analogous to the program in general: something that seems so niche-y, but I’m finding it speaks to more and more people.  Thanks and respect to those two for organizing and maintaining #decim8nday!

B:  Are there any other apps you have developed that you’d like for us to check out?  Will you work on others? 

K: I can tell you that I have some ideas that should see the app store this year.  The main one I’ve been concepting is another photo app with a totally different approach.  There’s also the possibility of video effects.  Lots of ideas these days!  Just need to find the time.

B: Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?  Are there any other platforms where we can we find you or other decim8 users?

K: Yes, definitely!  I recently ported Decim8 to the Windows phone platform, which was a great experience.  I think Microsoft has built an excellent platform with the new Mango version.  The app looks and performs great and has some features not found on the iPhone version.  My opinion is that it’s always smart to get your creations in front of a larger and more diverse audience.  Its part of the main idea behind Decim8:  Forget preconceptions; people and things can really surprise you when you look from a different perspective.

Kris Collins is a professional programmer, designer and performer of visual software. Bringing an intuitive understanding of complex systems into the creative realm, Kris creates custom software programs to achieve creative goals. His work has been the centerpiece of award-winning digital marketing campaigns as well as rockin’ eyeballs as it visually accompanies live music in arenas and alleyways.

Juxt thanks you for your work, art, and words.

Contact Information:  Instagram @movax


About Bridgette S.

Seattle, WA

Three words that describe me are simple, social and creative – all of which
have played a part in strengthening my passion for iPhoneography. What you see
is my vision of the ordinary and not so ordinary, most of which are captured
whilst I’m out and about with my son.  As a mom to a toddler, it’s important I
catch all those milestones and have a record of our daily adventures. Having an
iPhone means I don’t miss a snap and it also means the world gets to see what I
see – at all times.  Mobile photography has also given me the chance to meet
like-minded enthusiasts both in person and on the web.  It’s truly remarkable to
see the community grow and be amongst those who offer support and inspiration.
It has opened new doors and reawakened my imagination; I embrace it and will
continue to learn in the process.

Instagram:  @sippinlattes

Twitter:  @sippinlattes

“Breathing” / Life to Poetry

When I “met” @thatonedood on IG I was so moved by his words and was especially drawn to this photo upon reading his poetry that I proposed we do a collaboration.  Here’s our 1st one and hopefully this will be the first of many!

His words my photo…

took a breath

walked alone

balked at tones tryin to define me

refine the

person im supposed to be

took a breath in

then stepped in

paths of pasts marked for my extinction

if fiction or truth

regardless, im in the booth

tryin NOT to be superman

instead caught in a stupor, and

blastin out the confines stenciled in

ones architects cant pencil in

doctors scribblin in

prescriptions for an illness

chilness, the breath i took in

looked in-

side the soul of old sole

dead soldiers between the crevices

red boulders are amorphous

is it the sun or the clouds

is the question im allowed

to ask if im the soul

i cant claim to be

want more than the cracks of the sidewalks

in front of me

to be blunt, i’ve been wearing shades

so i can hue my reality

a fallacy of contrast

lasting past artificial saturation of

my ambiance

the odds be on

4 to 1 for me failing more

often than the sun is raising

luminance of the rays unlikely

to melt the ice littered path

cracked with chasms & canyons

distortions among the bastions

of plaid worn expectations

so then i took a breath in…

#lifetopoetry (thanks @bradpuet ;))

Aziz @instamood: Emotions and Moods through Photo Sharing

B’s Introduction:

When @bradpuet suggested we interview Aziz, @instamood, I knew right away that I’d totally be up for it.  He’s one of the first photographers I followed after joining IG last year and I thoroughly enjoy his gallery.  His feed is full of positive energy and gorgeous photos.  If you like intense colors, silhouettes and sunsets, then he’s one to follow!

So, here we go…

Aziz in his own words:

I’m in my 30’s, born and raised in an unknown rural area in the northern part of Morocco.  A magical location surrounded by beautiful landscapes.  My illiterate parents’ priority was finishing my educations. This was a great challenge for me since the only so called school in that area was located about an hour walk and of course there was no such real roads, but tiny paths through the mountains. and there was no electricity but candles and old rusted lanterns. Donkeys and horses were the main mass of transportations and I was lucky enough that my parents had such a lovely Donkey.

My childhood was amazing.  My cousins and I had fun creating our own toys cars and playing football (soccer) with soda cans and enjoying the outdoors. Despite this very simple life, I found power and strength in my daily struggle. At the age of 15, I left with my oldest brother to continue my school in the city. After years of studies and moving from one

city to another, I learned so many languages and dialects then I joined the college where I studied the Economics sciences.  Then I moved to the States and joined a technical school in Philadelphia. Currently,  I’m working in a telecommunication company. Not much to say about work, job is job.

My passion for photography started when my brother used to take a lot of family photos with his Kodak Single Camera and instant camera. In the beginning, I was more obsessed with people and self-portraits with a great background.  It wasn’t until after I replaced my HTC with an IPhone4 that I discovered how beautiful the sky looks through this magic apple.

B:  Bridgette  A:  Aziz

B:  Aziz, tell us about Instamood and why you chose this username?  I recall you having another username at first (which I can’t remember) and then changed it sometime last year.  Why did you feel the need to do so and how does Instamood represent the real you?

A:  I joined IG in the very beginning as @aziiz and through this username I met some great people in this community. Some of them left, others discontinued to follow me and few of them are still among my best IG friends. I still remember we used to post so many pics and it was so much fun. A basic IG wasn’t good enough to me since it wasn’t offering no control over what others were saying and no option for blocking or deleting negative comments so I decided to leave the community for few weeks. It didn’t take long before IG made a big jump in its history by offering more options to users, which brought me back.

It was a great restart, the community started to expand, a new generation knocked on the door so I thought about being more involved in it. I started with hosting contests without sacrificing my passion to share pics with my great followers.  The first one was about Sunset (#sunsetlovers) – the participation was beyond my expectations.

By the end of July 2011,I thought about taking another step by being more public so I replaced @aziiz with @instamood. I lost so many good followers during this transition, it made me sad for an instant, but then I did what I’m always good at: Move on.

@instamood came from my strong believe that most of us share photos according to our emotion and mood. There’s no better way to improve your mood than sharing it with good friends through photos. It’s amazing how a few clicks could make a difference in someone else’s feelings.

B:  Do you live near a beach?  Is there a special location where you like to watch all the beautiful sunsets? 

A:  Being in a beautiful location doesn’t make you a better photographer; it’s all about how you interpret what your eyes see.  Many of my sunset shots are taken without stepping out of my house. The beauty surrounds us; you can find it in unexpected places.  You are pumping gas at the gas station and suddenly you look up and you see a beautiful sunset …the magic apple is right in your hand ready to fuel your passion… tap… tap… et Voila!  For an instant, you forget the highly priced gas.

Philadelphia doesn’t have a beach but it surely offers what the beach can’t: diversity!  It enhanced my love and passion for photography, watching a sun setting on the river is like living in instadream. I also captured many sunsets during my business visit to areas in DE & MD.

B:  You mentioned you use an iPhone and a Canon D60 – which do you use when and why? Have you taken any photography courses?

A:  As of now, photography is nothing but an enjoyable hobby. I have spent a good amount of time learning the art of photography and digital world.  I’m working on taking a great move in this field.  Most of my IG pictures are taken with the iphone4 lens. There are three things you would always find in my pockets: wallet, keys and iPhone …probably few pennies from time to time.

I have recently owned a Canon D60, Lens (EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM), standard lens and I plan to add a macro lens to the collection. To be honest, I haven’t gotten a chance to put my Canon to work but spring is knocking on the door and I expect to have a lot of fun.

I found iPhone is more convenient for every day shooting and a time saver. DSLR is time consuming and very challenging but it’s worth the effort and challenges are what make life worth living.

B:  When editing your DSLR pics, do you edit using a computer program such as Photoshop or do you edit on your iPhone?

A:  I own Paintshop prox4, but I haven’t practiced on it; not sure how good it is but I will find out soon. As for my DSLR pictures, I usually use the IPhoto software as primary edits then I add final touches using iPhone apps.

B:  Speaking of sunsets, how do you get those vibrant, intense colors?  What apps do you like to use?  Any tricks up your sleeve you’d like to share? 😉

Sunset time is a breathtaking moment, it’s unbelievable when you think about it this way: this powerful sun is setting right in front of your eyes while somewhere else?in the world it’s rising. I prefer my sunset pictures to be powerfully spoken with heavy tones.

In my early time on IG, Procamera was my number one editing app., it had a potential to add great contrast and vibrant colors to any image. Suddenly, two new updates ruined everything in my opinion.

These days, I usually use Snapseed, Camera+, Phototoaster, Filterstorm?and hoping for a new app with better output quality.

I’m far from being perfect, I’m learning new tricks every day. If I have to put out a suggestion then I would say always go with an app that supports high resolution, don’t just go with reviews and stars. Run your pic through different apps until you get what you’re looking for.  if you have enough time, try working with masks, it’s very rewarding.

B:  Tell us about your tags (such as #instamood, #instabird, etc.).  Please list each one and tell us which is most popular?

#instamood: Aren’t you one of the great supporter of this tag?  I sure am!

Well, I created it right after I changed my username to @instamood and now, 6 months later; it’s getting closer to having 2,000,000 pictures on it.  It’s currently ranked among the top 15. I’m confident it will jump to top 5 by the end of 2012! Keep tagging guys!

#sunsetlovers: the tag I created for my first contest on IG…Still in use by many sunset lovers.

#instasky: mainly for sky photos lovers

#instabird: I m a bird lover, if you like birds then that’s their only warm home.

#instatasty: that’s @instamood’s official kitchen, if you ever go there, please help yourself.

#implus and #Implus_daily are growing very fast.

I also have other minor tags like: #instamirror, #azizflowers and?#instaimagination (ruined by hashtag crashers).

B:  You recently formed the implus group.  What is the purpose of this group and why did you start it?  Can anyone join and how would an IGer go about doing so since it’s private?  How does it compare to other groups on IG?

A:  I actually posted the initial idea 6 months ago (check #implus_birth for my second post about group guidelines, the initial one deleted). At that time, talking about groups within the IG community was not welcomed. I had so many negative reactions but that didn’t stop me from keeping the dream alive.

Instamood plus or implus was part of my many contributions to enhance the IG community.  Formed mainly to gather IG users in a small group to not just share a passion of photography but to interact and build bridges of friendships between members. It’s about making their time on IG more memorable. Did I reach my goal? The answer is NO.

Although I don’t like to look for excuses but I have to admit that I have chosen the hardest way for implus. I could use my powerful community and form a public group to just send members pics to popular page but that’s not what I’m here for.  I let other groups handle these things while I m moving slowly to have a great base of great art lovers with the help of my great members & management leaders @lacyrich and @delawer.  I plan to boost the team with more members to help move the group forward.  More focus on creativity, forums, interviews and less focus on classic challenges which all other groups are doing … I want implus to be a relaxing place for members.

Private group because I only want talented but active members to be part of it. Today’s IG is nothing but an open race to popularity by any means. Creativity is secondary but I’m hoping this view changes as we move forward. We are giving a lot of our daily time to this app – so why waste it on drama?

To join the group, IGers have to apply only at

www.instamood.net.  Currently the site is under reconstruction and membership is closed until I get the website running again.

B:  I noticed a link to Instamood.net; when is your site expected to go live and what is your focus?  Will it be a blog with your photos?

A:  I originally created it as a blog for my work and to have some kind of open discussions with my followers.  Well, at this moment the time isn’t on my side and I will probably use it more for implus related info and photo features.

B:  What do you like to do in your spare time?  How do you keep the creative juices flowing? 

A:  It seems I’m always hanging on IG?  But the truth is my time is well measured. I work 4 long days and get 3 days off… enough time to take care of my daily life and my interests.  I have so many hobbies including jogging, cooking, collecting watches (slowly moving), watching documentaries, reading tech books, staying updated with what’s going on in today’s world, and going to a movie once in a while.

My iPhone camera is always ready to snap, I take pics every time I see something moving me. I always make room in my daily life to keep the mood alive.

B:  What advice would you give to a person just starting out on IG? 

A:  IG is for fun, don’t make it your first priority, live your real life to the fullest.  Use your time here to build understanding bridges through photography and be positive, comment only when you have something nice to say.

B: And lastly, what’s the goal for Instamood? 

A:  Not sure how long I will be on IG but as for now I would say the possibilities are endless. I sent few suggestions to the IG team and I’m always positive about the future. I recently started two new profiles one to feature sky lovers photos @skysnappers and other personnel for my own negative space photos @lovehub.  I will continue to host more challenges as I get offers to sponsor them.

On the other hand I’m thinking about the idea of having other special public profiles like @skysnappers for sky enthusiasts and maybe two other specialty profiles with the help of some loyal IG friends running them.  This should help in having great galleries for each category and help others meet new people.

The dreams are big and they only come true when you turn them into reality.

Special thanks to everyone who has supported me! I won’t mention any names to avoid missing some of you, but you guys have helped me a lot to improve my photo sharing experience. I’m thankful for your great friendship and for making @instamood part of this friendly community.  Much love to all of you.

Juxt thanks you Aziz for your words and your art.


About Bridgette S.

Seattle, WA

Three words that describe me are simple, social and creative – all of
which have played a part in strengthening my passion for iPhoneography. What you
see is my vision of the ordinary and not so ordinary, most of which are captured
whilst I’m out and about with my son.  As a mom to a toddler, it’s important I
catch all those milestones and have a record of our daily adventures. Having an
iPhone means I don’t miss a snap and it also means the world gets to see what I
see – at all times.  Mobile photography has also given me the chance to meet
like-minded enthusiasts both in person and on the web.  It’s truly remarkable to
see the community grow and be amongst those who offer support and inspiration.
It has opened new doors and reawakened my imagination; I embrace it and will
continue to learn in the process.

Instagram:  @sippinlattes

Twitter:  @sippinlattes


An Interview with Phil Gonzalez by Bridgette S.

B: Bridgette  P:  Phil

B:  For those who don’t know who Phil Gonzalez is, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  When did you become interested in photography?  Who or what inspired you to be a photographer?

P:  I’m a 40 something, French guy, born in Paris from a Spanish working family who immigrated to France. Since I was a child, I thought about going back to my Spanish roots. When I finished my business studies I moved to Madrid where I now live for 17 years. At first, I worked for “big stores” companies as manager, and then as a marketing manager in a car industry company until 2000 when they hired me to launch a “web start-up”. Really, that was my first step in Internet and I never regretted it.

After this, I worked as content manager with Orange, a major mobile and Internet operator, and now I’m a new media manager of a TV broadcasting company in Spain.

I’m in charge of Internet and it means, communication through webs, smart TV developments, iPhone, Android, Tablets and all kind of apps and widgets. One year ago, through a friend’s recommendation, I discovered the Instagram app.

On a lazy Sunday morning, while I was in bed, I read users wondering about Instagram’s best practices… I suddenly thought I could help new users with my knowledge regarding social networks and apps. Since then I have never stopped! I first started the blog www.Instagramers.com with tutorials, apps reviews and interviews of highlighted users around the world. Soon people started to write to me and asked me to help them launch local groups with the Instagramers brand. It was a crazy idea. We launched Barcelona, Madrid and some Spanish groups and then joined London, Paris, Milan, Manila, SF and Singapore – there are 230 groups in the world so far.

I have had to leave some of my other passions aside for a while as I dedicate around two or three hours each day to the Igers Community. Even my life as a mobile photographer suffers from my dedication to this funny and humble network but I think it’s worth it!

B What is your biggest tip/advice for those wanting to pursue street photography?  How can someone overcome their fear and not feel as if they’re invading another person’s privacy?

P:  Street Photography is probably one of the most important “trending topics” on Instagram.

Today there are more than 300.000 pics tagged with the #Streetphotography tag. This style exists for decades and Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer, was one of its fathers. Instagram means that it is Instantaneous and Street photography is a hunt for Instants!

Instantaneous fits perfectly with the Instagram app and the way users Instagram. You can achieve great pics if you have the accurate sight and sensibility to detect the perfect moment, the perfect situation and the perfect shot.

I’m not an eminence in street photography but I can definitely give some basic tips from my own experience.

– The main one: be open-minded. Be open to the world surrounding you. There are millions of situations everyday in front of you worth a pic.

– When you think a situation can give good opportunities, be ready with your fav camera app open and ready to shoot in a few seconds. Don’t hesitate in shooting many pics, you will choose the best shots afterwards.

– Try to act with discretion and hide from people you’re taking pictures of.  If not, you may kill the essence, the genuine emotion on faces or situations you want to photograph.

– I think taking pics of other people means an interest for them and most of the people should appreciate it and not react in a bad way.  However, there are an increasing number of people aware about persistent polemic around Internet, personal life, privacy and image rights and you could avoid a tense situation.

There are two ways to act if you are scared of people’s bad reactions:

Personally, as most people do, I take pics using stratagems – pretending that I’m calling or cleaning the screen, taking the pic using the reflection of a window or whatever comes to my mind.

The other way is to directly ask people for their authorization. I remember a few months ago, I spent a lovely #InstameetLondon afternoon with people from @IgersLondon. There I met Gary, @streetographer (whose username is very appropriate for this interview), who is from California. We walked through the London streets together for a while and I watched his way to act. Sometimes he just took pictures without asking and sometimes he simply introduced himself as a photographer and asked for permission. Most people not only accepted but also started to chat with us and showed interest in our pictures, for Instagram and finally gave us their mails. A good way to meet people too!

One more thing – there is an interesting free app at the Apple store called “Photographers Rights” which explains the basic rights as a photographer in different countries. Have a look!


B:  Some may say that printing quality photos may be hard to accomplish with an iPhone, the resolution must be comparable to that of one taken with a DSLR.  Are there ways to have a maximum resolution with photos?  Have you found that certain apps will lower the resolution?  What is your experience?

P:  Last week Annie Leibowitz, one of the most important photographers recognized all over the world, said, ” iPhone is the greatest snapshot camera” (see video).


I definitely agree with her. The iPhone camera’s improvement shows an increasing and strategic interest from Apple HQ for mobile photography.   There is no doubt that we are reaching high levels of picture quality. However, just because of quality (and cost) of lenses it will be difficult to have pics that will compete with Dslr cameras for a while but it is just a question of time.
At the moment, you can already have good quality pics in standard format. The big problem is when you pretend to make larger formats. But really, as Instagramers, do we need it? I think people who are professional photographers will go on using Dslr. If they need a higher resolution pic for a magazine, a poster or board, iPhone won’t give the expected result.

About Apps, there are many “HDR Camera” apps that allow you to have very high quality shots but then you have to carefully check your favorite “editing app” user’s guide.
Most of the editing apps reduce the quality of the original pic avoiding long data processing time. In some apps, like Hipstamatic, you can choose low/medium/high quality. I think the apps developers will work on improving the quality of pics edited, as mobile photographers will ask for better final results.

B:  What are your personal favorite apps and why?  Do you use a specific app for your black and white photos?

P:  I think apps are like music.  You have lifetime periods when you may love Rock and then some years love listening to Jazz, depending on your mood.

I started using HDR Camera apps with colorful pics and tilshift mode. Then one day I turned to another style and felt better with a “naked”, black and white style and very few edits. I try not to spend more than five minutes editing pics.

My favs are definitely Camera+ for its simplicity, speed and result but the last few weeks I’m in Love with “Noir”. Noir is the “Crème de la crème” app for black and white lovers. I have more than 50 or 60 apps available in my iPhone but I could probably “live” with only 3 or 4 of them.

B:  What would you say to those who think Instagram is “worthless” because it’s only available on iPhone and that it’s popular because it’s free? Do you think Instagram would be as successful if it were a paid app?

P:  As a developer of Apps myself, I feel very confident saying the success of an app is like the “Coca Cola” secret formula.

You wish your app will be successful but you don’t really know which will be the factors of success. You don’t even know if people will finally use the app the way you thought they would! If not, ask Twitter developers. 🙂

Instagram would have definitely been less addictive and viral if it were a paying app – although, there is a list of common characteristics for successful apps in the market.

Generally, an app must be easy to use, fast in processing and have very few technical fails. If you add the fact that Instagram connects people and provokes great sensation of happiness and community – it’s done.

As a user of Instagram, I’m not very interested in other OS people to join as I think iPhoners have the same instinct of community and it may be a factor of success.
What will happen with Androiders? Who knows?

However, just because competency threatens and investors confide, I understand Instagram HQ will have to go forward and integrate new OS in the future.

B:  Let’s talk about the popular page and how more photographers are saying it’s so “unpopular”.  I’ve seen some suggest eliminating it altogether or that the system of selecting featured photos be modified.  What are your thoughts on improving or do you think it should be kept as is?

P:  Within the last several months, I’ve been in touch with Josh Riedel (a great and humble guy in charge of community matters at Instagram HQ) and “Populars” is one of my fav topics of discussion and one of the most interesting matters for Users. How to make the Popular Page? (see link below) is one of the top consulted content in my site.


To evolve Pops, Instagram will have to improve its algorithm and Popular Formula itself. Probably focus on “ratios of friends” versus “positive comments” or versus “number of interactions” in a pic, etc.. I know Popular List means a lot for users and it’s a key point for Instagram HQ too.

I really do think “Populars” are important for the “newbies” and for “baby steps” of Instagram.  In the beginning, you don’t have a lot of friends and you need an incentive to come back to the app, have more friends and produce better pics to reach the “Populars” list. I think the app wouldn’t be the same without Populars. It’s definitely a strong asset of Instagram’s Secret Formula.

B:  What is the main objective behind Instagramers.com and why should everyone check it out (not just those new to Instagram)?

P:  I never thought Instagramers would be such a unique reference worldwide in less than one year. It’s incredible. I’m very happy with the level of monthly visits (50.000 last month and growing 15% each month with no advertising at all). What makes me really happy are the kind comments of users which push me to go on and on with the same motivation. Instagramers.com is a place where you can find answers to your doubts, how to become popular, how to promote your profile, how to use hash tags but also how to organize an Instameet or funny posts like “how to make profitable Instagram” or “how to find love in IG”.  And, every week you can discover your favorite users on Sunday through the weekly interview or find new people in the Flash On section “user grid of the week”.






B:  In your interview with Xatakafoto you expressed how the number of Instagramers (IGers) by city was increasing.  How many cities would you say are a part of IGers now?  And, for those who are interested in joining how should they go about doing so?

P:  I felt very honored when Xataca, a top technology blog in Spain, asked me for an interview as the development of Igers network caught their attention. It’s probably the first time a mobile app is generating an independent Fans network around the world – with the same philosophy, organizing events and with members contacting and helping others who live a thousand kilometers away with their tips.

Right now we have around 230 groups worldwide – some of them more active than others but sharing the same community sense. Local groups are always open to help and give their opinion. We have a kind of Intranet or “Private group” on Facebook which allows local groups or ManIgers (as I call them 🙂 promoting their ideas, contests or sharing their thoughts with other people around the world.

If a group is already constituted we can integrate it without a problem. If new people are interested in launching an Igers Group in their own city, they just have to send an email to Igers@Instagramers.com and we will explain the basic process, send them a logo and integrate them in the ManIger group.

B:  What are your expectations of each IGer city?  Being a part of IGers Seattle, we have been doing our best to feature photographers so that they may gain exposure and in the process aim to show what Seattle is like – via architecture, music, art, landmarks, etc.  In doing so, trying to be as personal as possible.  What else would you like to see happen on IGers?  Also, do you have any suggestions on how to make it more interactive?

P:  I think Instagram will be successful if it goes on offering a value to the users. Instagram will have to evolve offering more personal gain than just having a number of followers, likes or Pops but offering more incentives like exhibits, global events or business opportunities for companies. I know people who found themselves a way to sell their pics and earn some money.  Companies like Ford Europe and Burberry’s have truly innovated their marketing strategy, integrating Instagram as an important tool.

For our Igers local groups, it’s just the same – a local group will have a meaning if the group provides an added value to its members. A value can be simply featuring members and give visibility to them but it has to move to event organizations, meet ups and finding partners who will offer gifts for contests or bars hosting Instameets for free. At the end, the amazing side of Instagram is that people not only want to meet on IG but soon want to meet in person.

B:  And finally, what continues to inspire you?  What do you do to get out of a creative slump?

P:  People inspire me, every single day. Sometimes, it’s just a kind comment that moves me forward and sometimes it’s simply the necessity to help people.

Helping people can mean giving them tips or connecting them but it can be making them laugh.

I love to feature people unknown with a different life, like @Tuana or @Ktrap, two different lives with two different meanings on Instagram:



As a photographer, really, I sometimes feel frustrated as I wish I had more time to spend in the street looking for the perfect shot, taking dozens of pics each day… but I don’t have time anymore! So I have to do my best when I go out at night, to a concert, etc. These last weeks I’m focusing on #Nighthawks (night life) probably inspired by one of my fav canvas paintings by Edward Hopper – “Nighthawks”.

It’s not always easy to take pics by night with an iPhone camera but as you probably realized, I love challenges.


Phil Gonzalez


About Bridgette S.

Seattle, WA

Three words that describe me are simple, social and creative – all of which have played a part in strengthening my passion for iPhoneography. What you see is my vision of the ordinary and not so ordinary, most of which are captured whilst I’m out and about with my son.  As a mom to a toddler, it’s important I catch all those milestones and have a record of our daily adventures. Having an iPhone means I don’t miss a snap and it also means the world gets to see what I see – at all times.  Mobile photography has also given me the chance to meet like-minded enthusiasts both in person and on the web.  It’s truly remarkable to see the community grow and be amongst those who offer support and inspiration.  It has opened new doors and reawakened my imagination; I embrace it and will continue to learn in the process.

Instagram:  @sippinlattes

Twitter:  @sippinlattes