Through the (Google) Glass: Linda Stokes

Through the (Google) Glass: Linda Stokes by BP

I am one of the folks who run the We Are Juxt Twitter account.  I see a lot of the photos that are tagged as well as shared for us to see.  There are many great images and because of the shear volume it’s almost hard to find an artist on Twitter to feature on our site.  Until recently!  Linda had tagged a few of her photos one week and they were great.  Then I realized that she was using Google’s Glass and was intrigued to learn more about her, her process with Glass, and of course her images. 

Folks meet Linda, Linda meet the folks! – BP

I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma,  and carry with me a great love of open space, with an unobstructed view of the sky.  When I was 21, I  went to graduate school in Fine Art at UC Berkeley and ended up staying in California for years, working in animation and special effects for the movie and tv industries. I  directed commercials, music videos, fake TV commercials for SNL, and special FX for Sci-Fi movies . It was great fun, and I got to work with many of the best in the business.  I came back to Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation for a family emergency, and realized  I was ‘home’.

As a life-long artist, I love to draw, especially from life,  Sometimes I  teach college classes in life drawing, design or Art History, but mostly I just do my Art.   I show my work regularly in Dallas, and the southwest, but  the ‘gallery system’ feels like a dying breed..  Social media online is  a great way to share  what I’m working on, and I’m pleased to have over 45,000 followers.  Currently I’m  looking at ways to bring my mobile photography into the 3rd dimension, and thinking about how this habit could be monetized.  The show I’m in right now, I shot the piece with glass, and worked back into a print with drawing.

Music is part of my life and I enjoy listening to world music that has a Native feel to it when I’m editing. Though I love oldies/ nineties music, hip-hop and reggae.  I had the pleasure of spending time in Guatemala learning Spanish, and Austin, Texas for ASL, and I bagged  a California Community College teaching credential, along the way.

Like most artists, I like perspective changes, and changes in perception.   I meditate daily, and have been actively seeking to use my obsession with mobile photography as an exercise in pure seeing, or  seeing ‘that which is ’  I see the sunrise every morning, and watch it set every evening.  I spend much time watching the sky, looking at trees, plants and fellow creatures.

According to Kahlil Gibran,   “When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things, even in the eyes that are blind to beauty.”

When I glimpse what I feel to be a distillation of beauty, I try to capture  it from time, and drag it back to the construct, for  display.   I rely on my eye, and faint visceral tugs to know when to shoot, if I remember …and   go into a place where external reality barely intrudes.( Once I’m finished shooting, I realize there are thorns sticking into me and I’m freezing.)  Naturally I am addicted to this feeling, and hope to keep doing it for years.

When I was taking care of my mother while she died, a couple of years back, I longed for an instant mode of creative expression, that didn’t require lots of equipment or supplies.  I’d had a show of new drawings in 2011, and participated  in several gallery shows, but  wasn’t interested in getting back into being bound to the desk or easel.   Pretty soon I discovered the perfect tool was my phone, and  began my experiment of trying to see and distill  the beauty of now.  My phone cams, and their attending editing apps eased my creative anxiety, and another rabidly obsessed Mobile Photographer came into being,

Last summer I went out to Google in Mountain View, Ca, and got setup with glass. (I got picked because  a photo I put in their online contest  February 2013 got thousands of hits and reshares.)  The color and clarity of the Glass device shots are similar to my Samsung Galaxy S3. but it shoots hands free, by voice command and is a wider angle . The technology  is a wild ride, fraught with instant elation when it works right and you get the shot , and abject misery when it screws up… there are so many layers to keep together.  I have my Samsung GalaxyS3,  iPhone, iPad,  and Glass to keep charged and functioning smoothly, and then, there is the never ending task of staying on top of  the seemingly constant updates, where once again, your favorite apps appear unfamiliar,  and have new bugs.

One photo usually isn’t enough to work through a concept, so I tend to work in series. When I saw a wonderful Mack truck by the side of the highway,  I felt that its ominous qualities could be better appreciated  if my legs, in red heels, were in the foreground. Juxtaposed so to speak. This began my “Heel Overhead” series, which includes my legs in front of various presenting pieces of large equipment.  I did one with a big Android statue at Google HQ as my first shot through glass. A lot of jaws dropped, but I just HAD to.

I  like driving around looking at things, and  love using my car in my work, whether shooting  through the windshield or getting out and shooting the car in a cool spot. I love shooting rain through the windshield,  and shooting with Glass is hands free, easier while driving.  I try to catch those  places in the road where you can’t see where the road ahead goes, or if its even there.

I’m back living in the middle of nowhere, with vast expanses of earth and sky, and the wonder of new love.  My partner and I are exploring our own construct of what life and love can entail,  in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma.  We are on some acreage, with no city services, no TV,  a wood stove for heat, and its awesome!

My favorite  Inspirational Hero has always been Che Guevara,  whose very spirit embodies the idea that one person taking actions from the heart can change things.  When I was young,  I got to meet and  hang out with  numerous artists and writers who were true to their own instincts,  notably Andy Warhol, Williams Burroughs and Peter Voulkos.   People who take action inspire me, and the Occupy movement, and Anonymous  are heartening.  In my own family, my Granny  inspired me with her ability to do whatever needed to be done, with what she had on hand. She grew vegetables, milked goats, made butter, sewed clothes without a pattern, and could handle a huge chainsaw into her seventies.. Throughout her life, she continued doing  things she’d never done before,  like finally getting her driver’s license at an advanced age.

Most of my shots are through glass, at least partially.  I wear it when I drive,  and when out shooting.  It works pretty well inside the car,  if you keep your tunes dialed down.  It has voice activation, so you don’t have to touch it to shoot, as long as it can  hear you..  It doesn’t understand well in high wind, and I’ve had to manually shoot it in storms, which is cumbersome.

There is no viewfinder in the glass, and you don’t see anything when you are shooting.  You just look, and when you see a shot, you say “Okay Glass, take a picture”  The device is  above your right eye, held up with a nose piece on a metal band, like wearing glasses. There are other commands, for shooting video, sharing to your Google+ circles, and adding captions.  You can check your email, message people, use your phone,  see what’s happening on your Google+, Facebook or Twitter streams, check the news, get maps and directions,  find public transportation and see how long it will take you to get somewhere. Its tethered to your phone as a bluetooth device.

That’s all pretty cool, but the best thing is shooting hands free. Around here, I’ve been asked if it is a medical device.

My photos all auto-upload to a Picasa web album on Google+..thats android, iphone, ipad and glass.  If I want, they can be edited with the Google+ editor, which is really Snapseed.  Or, I  edit them  on the phone, and my first choice is Snapseed. This works great for shots that just need a little tweaking.

My editing style is intuitive, and begins when I’m shooting.  Like a lot of people, I enjoy combining my favorite images.  I shot the tractor, screen left , through glass, with the intent of pairing a perfect cloud in the blank area above. The  cloud appeared later, and I framed it  until  it looked like it would rock with the tractor, and snapped it with my iphone.  I took both images   through Snapseed ‘Tune Image’, and then to an image blending app on my ipad.,

PhotoBlender, and Image Blend are useful.   There,  I blended  them  in an old school DX, and took the composited photo back into Snapseed for texture and a little  drama.

Other apps I like are Photo fx Ultra, for its neutral density grad, and color grads, that can really add subtle color to landscapes. I also enjoy LensLight for popping lights in night shots. On android I like Pixlr Express, and several filter apps… ( they were wiped off my phone when I had to get it reset to factory settings last week.  Now I need to reinstall those…never a dull minute!)  I told the Glass Developers last summer they needed to have editing apps, at least Snapseed in the glass, after all Google owns it, too. I’m betting in a few months when my glass updates, it will appear.  The thing that makes my editing a pain is Android vs Apple. I use them both but they don’t make it easy.

Nature always inspire me, and so do other mobile photographers, with the different ways they glimpse their worlds. It totally rocks to be able to see work from all over the world on photo social sites.  I believe this is Fine Art of now.  Its new, and unsullied by rules or tradition. Its instant, and as  available as the creative spirit in us all.

Find Linda and her work below:
Facebook // Google+ // Pinterest // Twitter

Photographers Do Matter, Thank You Very Much!

Video courtesy Chicago Tribune

Photographers Do Matter, Thank You Very Much! by BP

BP’s Introduction
One of my most cherished memories of childhood is watching my Father read the newspaper. For the past 40 years, I’ve watched my father read the paper to catch up on politics and sports locally and globally. The newspaper was and is his tie to the world outside his front door. I remember him  showing my brother and I articles that he found to be important enough to share with us. My brother and I were too young to understand the full import of the articles but we could comprehend  the photographs that were present in the articles. The first time that we had an in-depth conversation about a news event was the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. My pops looked at me sadly and told me, “We lost heroes today.” I looked at him, as he drank his cup of coffee, a usually stoic man, with somewhat of a puzzled look on my face. He saw this and told me to look at the photo. It was of the explosion. The photo told  enough of the story  for me to understand how devastated he and the rest of the world were by the tragedy. I later learned to read the paper like my father but even to this day, I scan the newspaper for photographs first..

I first heard about the layoffs of all the photojournalists over at the Chicago Sun-Times from a friend and photojournalist, John Lok who shoots for the Seattle Times. It was retweet that John had put out from Robert Channick of the Chicago Tribune, “Chicago Sun-Times lays off entire photo staff; about 20 full-timers let go w/ plans to use freelancers going forward.” Immediately after that John had tweeted to Rob Hart, one of the photographers from the Sun-Times, “Rob, so sorry about this. Like Kendrick Brinson (an Atlanta-based photographer) said, I know you’ll figure it out. I salute you +the S-T photo crew today.”

Photo Credit: John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

I was speechless with surprise as I  hadn’t had a chance to read any articles yet that day. When I went looking for more details, I  saw a photo of a man, holding his wife, with a look of hurtful disbelief of the news that was given to him and his crew. That photo resonated with me. A lot!

So I began to read more about it and saw how disgraceful it was to treat such a dedicated team of photojournalists. The photography community was in full support for these great journalists. Twitter was on fire that week. Protests against Chicago S-T were being organized and letters of support were circulating throughout the cyber world. People weren’t trying to save their jobs as they were trying preserve the culture of photojournalism. Then I thought to myself, right after these photojournalists who are the ones to suffer from such an idiotic move by the S-T?

People like my pops who reads the paper everyday with a cup of coffee and a doughnut. People like me who get so much from each photograph. People like my son who will not be able to see the world through the lens of the greats.

My anger and disbelief continued growing as I read article after article about the layoffs. During my reading,   I came across a name  that stood out for me. Not too long ago, I wanted to find the most compelling images from 1973 (the year I was born) and use them as guides in my own photography. John H. White was a name I could not let go of. I didn’t know him or his name really until now. It was his work that resonated with me. In that post, “I Am Not A Crook: Photography from 1973” I put up just one of his amazing photos, “A Young Black Man Showing His Muscle During A Small Community Program In Chicago On The South Side.” So this is one of the photojournalists who is being laid off? A Pulitzer Prize winner? This is how you treat him and his colleagues? I continued to read on about this story.

This is where I found Rob Hart. I had put a name to the photograph of the man and his wife in disbelief. Even more so, I found a connection with the photographer I admired in John H. White and this deep empathy I had for this man in the photograph. Along with the John H. White and the other photojournalists, Rob was outspoken about the layoffs and found solace in doing what he does best; tell his stories with his photographs – Nikon or iPhone.

B: BP R: Rob

B: First of all thanks for agreeing to interview.  If you would please let our readers know who is Rob Hart outside of photography and the world of photojournalism?

R: He’s a guy that likes to hang out with his wife, kid, cats, and take pictures. Photography is my mistress, it’s what I do when I m not sleeping. Everyone in my life just lives with it, like being married to an addict, but I have all my teeth and never steal your money to buy a camera. Well now that I need a D4 I might.

“The day I met John H. White was the day I decided to change my life…” Rob Hart, 10/02/1997 7:00 PM

B: What got you started with photography and photojournalism? Who are your mentors? How’d you know you had the instinct of visual journalism?

R: My first two photojournalism teachers, George Waldman and John H. White were huge in turning my life into being what John calls a “visual servant.” They both look at photojournalism from the perspective of a contentious human. They both pushed me into developing my seeing and making, not taking pictures. I was always curious about the world and a camera is a great excuse to explore it. If I knock on your door and say, “Can I come in and take pictures of you?” People will open their door and lives to you. It’s amazing. How many other careers do you get to experience that?

I was talking recently with a high school friend of my wife and I, Stacy Thomson, and she wanted to be a photojournalist back in high school too. She said “I remember one day being in the darkroom with you and I looked over and your images in the developer, they were so much better than mine, you just had it in you.” As a child my room was covered in photographs of my favorite athletes. My grandfather read the paper every day, my father would bring the newspaper home and I’d pour over the hockey stats and stories about the Red Wings. Newspapers, magazines, and art books where a gateway to the world. Photography was the only thing I could do well, so I stuck with it. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.

B: If you would can you explain more about the “instinct” and how one may know if they have it? Also what are some ways to hone that instinct?

R: I hammer this into my students; plan, patience, execute. Put yourself in the place where you think you need to be when what you think is going to happen happens. Learning to anticipate is the best skill a photojournalist can develop. Just like any other skill it’s doing, and failing, and learning, and doing it again. There’s no secret to being good at something, it’s all about immersing yourself in it for a decade and doing it every day and surrounding yourself with people who are invested in you being a success.

I owe everything to the circle of photojournalists I grew up with. My Columbia College family, my A Photo A Day family, and my Sun-Times family. Spending 12 years in a newsroom with other talented people looking at work everyday, discussing photos, and laughing. That’s the only way to get better.

Bulls forward Carlos Boozer screams as he slam dunks the ball in the second half of of Chicago’s 92-79 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 22, 2011. Photo: Rob Hart

B: Can you tell us one or two of the most exciting events you had covered as well as the most emotional and personal one?

R: I loved the little things, like shooting pet of the week, or the teacher of the year. When I show work to middle school kids they want to see Derrick Rose, but I loved making images of people that no one else knew existed. That old Carl Smith classic “I Overlooked an Orchid,” well I want to find that orchid. I worked for a few years with a great photojournalist Suzanne Tennant and I shared a lot of the same ways of seeing with her. We both  looked for the perfect imperfection, the moment you don’t notice, or as  I’ve said un-eloquently, ‘shot on the downbeat.’ We both so want everything  to be beautiful, she found the highlight in every situation, and I’d be  drawn to the shadow.

“Talking with the elderly really gives me insights on how I want to live and age,” Ricke said. “I never really thought about aging before. (This job) has taught me to live more deliberately.”   Photo: Rob Hart

I worked on a story about a woman who drove cancer patients to their appointments, and the photos were borderline terrible, but after it ran the non-profit told me they got a dozen more volunteers to help out because of the story. Chris LaFortune wrote that story and many others that we worked on together and it really did have an immediate impact on the lives of others. I love making photos that make me happy, but affecting real measurable change on my community was great too. My last reprint request was a photograph of a hockey player holding up the state championship trophy. His mother was framing an 11×14 for his graduation present. That’s a cool thing to be a part of. To know your work will always be a part of the history of that family is pretty awesome.

Photographing the birth of my child was one of the most amazing, emotional and scary experiences. 50 years ago maybe neither child or mother would have survived, and photographing a team of doctors trying to get your 60-second-old baby to breath was terrifying. In that moment the two most important people to me were in danger and all I could do was keep making photos. A doctor told me to stop shooting and that’s when I understood the gravity of the situation. But I knew either way I wanted to have these moments preserved. I’m glad I did because my wife has no memory of the first time she saw Parker, and it was only for a second before she was whisked away to the NICU. We’re told in college to shoot what we love. Sometimes you’re given the best assignments of your life without knowing it. And more and more my best images were being made on my own time.

B: So our readers would like to know, what happened with the Chicago Sun-Times?

R: It was a cost thing. Photographers are expensive. We use expensive gear, you gotta pay to maintain that gear. We cost money to drive to assignments, freelancers eat those costs and there’s a ton of people willing to shoot for $65 per assignment. I’ve had sources tell me they know there’s a small window of time they have to make money for investors, so one way to make more money is spend less money. It’s pretty simple economics.

It breaks my heart that so many of the people in my community have reached out to me and said they no longer read the Sun-Times or my local paper, the Oak Leaves. Because all my friends that are still there churning out stories need to feed their kids too. All the research that comes out of the Poynter Institute says stories with compelling art gets read at a higher rate than stories without photos. Photo galleries get tons of hits but pre-roll video is easier to sell to advertisers. Just like any business they’re pushing the item with the highest margin on their customers. It’s the extended warranty model so to speak.

“Zero hour. Carpet on the 14th floor of the Holiday Inn where 28 Sun-Times photographers lost their jobs.” Photo: Rob Hart

B: I know that you had taken an iPhone shot (which also is the first photo on your blog) of the carpet and floor that day of the announcement.  Can you describe for us why this photo was taken and describe the rest of that day?

R: It was just how I felt at that moment. I had just been told the only job I’ve ever had was gone. I was starring at the face of my hero John H. White when he was laid off after 44 years. Without anyone even saying thank you. It sucked and was totally opposite of how most of us were raised to treat others. So when I walked out I just wanted to preserve that feeling and that horrible/awesome carpet was exactly what I’ll always remember about that moment.

I grabbed my co-worker Curtis Lemkuhl and we went to the Billy Goat. It was where we went after college classes, where every serious journalist drank. If you’re going to have a wake for the photo staff that was the place. Newspapers like the Detroit Free Press called and tried to buy us all a round and my weird sports amigo Sol Neelman called to buy a round, alas the Goat is cash only. Every TV news station started showing up and we did press all day. Then the Tribune folks all donated money to buy us beers. So you can imagine how getting laid off at 9:30 AM then having people buy you drinks ended. Let’s just say my wife wasn’t happy and Friday morning taking care of my baby was rough.

B: You’ve mentioned John White many times in your interviews, on your blog, in photographs; can you talk more about your relationship with him from taking his class to being in the same room with him when being let go?

R: Besides my parents and wife, John had the biggest impact on the trajectory of my life and career. My good friend Tamara Bell kept a journal from our first photo class together with John, Oct. 2nd, 1997. It’s full of his quotes and I still live by his lessons and practice them every day. I show my current class a picture of John and I together because without him, I’m not standing there passing on the wisdom he handed down.

Some of my favorite quotes:
“You must have intimacy with light and nature.”
“Stay connected to the people that fuel your journey.”
“We are visual servants.”
“Talent unused loses it’s usefulness.”
“One of the greatest things in life you can do is give.”
“Be like the lightning bug, never let anyone contain your light.”

Photo credit: Ray Whitehouse, Chicago Sun-Times

I could recite these and more all day. His class changed my life in three hours. He was so supportive and positive. He would inspire you to do your best and take you to task when you weren’t. I always wanted to be like him. When my photo was printed in the same paper as his, on the same page I was ecstatic. I am now teaching a class at Medill that John once taught. He was there when a great chapter of my photographic life started and he was there when that chapter ended. As I’ve said it was a huge honor to be there in that room. I just wish I had made photos with my D3. I couldn’t stand to see the bloodbath. I shook John and everyone’s hands, told them how much they all meant to me and left for the Billy Goat. I mean it was 9:30AM…

B: Let’s talk a bit about your thoughts on mobile photography and photojournalism.

I know that I can speak on behalf of quite a few mobile shooters in saying, there is no way we believe that replacing a photojournalist with a reporter who has just learned how to take a picture with their smartphone, is best practice. For many of us, we know that storytelling by way of visual imaging is totally different than a journalist with a keyboard and an iPhone.  Prior to the layoffs, how did you view mobile photography?  After the layoffs and the news of S-T teaching reporters to use their iPhones as photographic tools, has it changed how you view mobile photography?

R: I’ve viewed every camera I’ve owned as a tool. It has it’s limitations and a good photographer knows it and exploits the tool for it usefulness. Years ago, like 2008 or something, I saw my homie Shawn Rocco shooting at A Photo A Day’s Geekfest with a crappy little cell phone and the images were amazing. I think he called it the Kodak Brownie of the digital age. We all need ways to keep us creative, and the iPhone is pretty rad for that. I can shoot a photo of my cat and send it to my wife in a second. With my D3 it’s a process of editing, and converting the RAW file and toning and exporting, and sometimes you just want to do something that’s not like work. An iPhone in the hands of someone who knows light, understands human emotions, and has the experience to be in the right spot will always yield better results than someone who is trained to ask “What happened?” Photographers live on an emotional level, where reporters are largely detail and fact orientated. It’s a different skill set.

When you think about the Boston bombings you don’t remember all the crappy cell phone video. The John Tlumacki photo of the runner knocked off his feet or Kelvin Ma’s images of the guy with the cowboy hat. Photos are our collective memory. I think great content will continue to be produced by talented people. A bad photo taken with a DSLR is no better than a bad photo taken on an iPhone. The DSLR will be WIFI enabled soon enough and the iPhone will continue to get better. These are all tools to get a job done. If a person is 45 feet away, at this moment the iPhone is not that tool, but it could be soon.




B: Your blog, #LaidOffFromTheSunTimes, best captures the storytelling aspect of your photojournalism background. What is your mission behind your blog?

R: It was just a gut reaction, honestly. I was just shooting to keep from feeling it. I enjoy things that are equal parts heartfelt and sarcastic. I slowly realized that the stupid iPhone flicks I was making could tell a story that isn’t told often. My wife has been laid off numerous times and never got interviewed about it. So I’m lucky enough to have made something that resonated with people. I got hundreds of emails and a few late night phone calls in support. I figured it would be a good record of a time in my life. I didn’t intend it to be so big, but again life just presents you with things and you gotta use your talents.

B: Since we are on the topic of mobile photography, what apps do you got on your phone, man?

R: I started shooting with the Hipstamatic app, because I don’t know why. It just seemed like the time to shoot with something I couldn’t control. That’s one of the things I love about mobil photography with these apps is it’s unpredictable and I don’t have to think about it. I use the Black Keys Super Grain + John S  for B&W and and Foxy + Sugar for color. One of my major hero’s Scott Strazzante shows his iPhone and regular photos to my class and I think we both land on the same side of this, it’s just fun dammit. I don’t care that someone thinks using hipstamatic is stupid, and maybe it is. I’m sure in 20 years I’ll curse myself for this but who cares. It’s just a picture. Pre-layoff I was shooting everything in Camera Control Plus and editing in Snapseed. But sometimes you just want to whip out your phone and hold time. I do wish there was an app that allowed me to control my exposure. Maybe there is? I’m sure one of your readers could help make my iPhone flicks better.



B: As a photojournalist, as a teacher, what can you tell mobile photographers, who may or may not have had experience with photography ever, what can you tell us if we want to tell our stories with our smartphone?

R: I’ve always been a fan of loving the camera that you’re with. I’ve shot with a fixed 35mm lens everyday for 7 years now. Uncomplicate things. I tell my students to spend a week and really learn your camera, then forget it’s there and make photos. If you’re focused on the camera and what it can do and what it can’t you’re not feeling the moment. I find the people that get into photography for the gear love to talk about the gear and those of us that fell in love with the process and experience of photography don’t want to be bothered with anything but the photo. I had a student that was having a hard time after we learned the Sam Abel “Compose and wait” lesson. So she went and shot little league baseball and I could tell looking at her take every photo she shot with a huge smile on her face. Photography is super fun. Reach out to professionals and ask them for their opinions. Seek out a community who will give you criticism instead of just a pat on the back. I take crappy photos all the time. The magic bullet is a decade of experience. If I spent the next 10 years learning to build a gazebo I’m sure it’d be way better than me building one today. And at the end of the day it’s just a photo. We just take a rectangle (or square) and fill it with stuff. We allow light in.

One of my goals with my students, who ironically are graduate students studying journalism, is that they are going to be making images their entire lives, not just for their jobs. Photography is best when it’s personal. People documenting stories they care about should be celebrated, no matter the skill level. These awesome mobile camera devices take some of the technical mumbo jumbo out of the equation. You don’t need to know shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO. I helps to know, but you can focus on just making a photo and send it around the world in the blink of an eye. That’s pretty damn fantastic and almost unbelievable.

One thing that still hasn’t changed is going back and looking at the classics and what made each image work. Garry Winnogrand is as revenant today with mobile photography as ever. I still pull out my photo books and just loose myself in some Robert Frank or Walker Evans. Feed your visual language through books and galleries. I find getting offline for a bit and spending time with an image is a much better option than my Instagram feed some days. I think there’s room for both in my life.

B: What’s next for you Rob?

R: Well, I’m planning for my baby’s first birthday party, so that’s going to be amazing. For work I’m shooting a lot for non editorial clients and I’d love to make the jump to more commercial and advertising work. I’m joining a new news delivery platform as a visuals editor or photo coach (we’ve yet to decide) called that is going to revolutionize the way news content is delivered, monetized and consumed. Our goal is to create a news organization that operates for the benefit of the community and it’s employees, not some investors. We’re going to pay people to tell great stories. I do miss waking up everyday and not knowing what situation I am going to find myself in. The adrenaline rush of a deadline or covering a big structure fire was kinda sweet. I’ve had more people thank me for my work in 3 weeks than I had in 12 years at the paper. There’s much less security, but it’s more rewarding. Freelancing fits my lifestyle but not really my personality. I loved being part of a team and feeling ownership over coverage of a neighborhood. I’m really enjoying editing photos while watching Steven Seagal movies, couldn’t do that in a newsroom.

B: Big thanks Rob! Best to you and the others!

With the reds, yellows and blues from the DJ’s lights rotating around the room, Melissa Broz danced as if she were in the spotlight at The Snowflake Prom, a dance for residents with special needs. Each song the DJ played, she seemed to know the words. “Greased Lightning” pumped from the speakers, and Broz not only mouthed the words, but mimicked John Travolta’s dance routine.  John Travolta, Broz said, is the best. The dance scene, she has it memorized. Broz enjoys dancing, to say the least. “Because it gets me moving,” the Franklin Park resident said. Photo: Rob Hart

Contact Rob Hart:
Email // Website // Hot Soft Light Blog
#LaidOffFromTheSunTimes (mobile photos) // Twitter // Instagram

Freaksbcn: Hailing from Barcelona

As stated in their mission, “Grupo de adictos a la fotografia con sede en la ciudad condal” or in English, “A group of addicts about photography based in Barcelona” the Freaksbcn represent mobile photography in one of the world’s most active (as far as mobile photography) cities in the world.  Let’s learn a bit more about them and please do visit them through their networks.  Trust us you will be amazed by the work that each member produces.

What is the mission behind the group?
The main activity of our group is to show our city through our eyes, its places, its people and the different events or actions we have the chance to go there.

The addiction to photo social sharing apps such as Instagram is a global phenomenon.  Can you explain to us the importance of a supportive group like @freaksbcn?
FreaksBCN was born as one of the first groups of “mobile photography” enthusiasts in Spain and was formed by IG users. We are proud to share our vision of the city through our Walking Freaks, a kind of photowalk around our city, Barcelona.

Who are the current members and can you tell us a little about each member?
Born inTenerife, Canary Islands, but living in Barcelona since more than 5 years now, Andrés de León  is a graduated in Art history who has found his vocation in graphic design and illustration fields. After discovering iphoneography around 2010, this new way of taking photos changed his perception of the city he was living in. Cofounder member of Freaksbcn group, he has been highlighted in some IG accounts like @photooftheday, @ic_thestreets, @ink361,etc… Also he has taken part in several exhibitions, has won a few contests like the last one promoted by @topcreation and the First Price in The First Photomobile contest in Blipoint, also he has participated in the 24 hour project in 2012 and 2013.


My name is Roger Parera, I’ m a second year student of photography in Fotoespai bci of Barcelona and I work as a waiter in a restaurant on weekends.  Passionate about street photography but more focused  into documentary and author’s reports.

I express my day-to-day but also my fears and insecurities and my secret desires too on it. Every image is different than the other. Mobile photography, the possibility of shooting, editing and sharing with the same device it fascinates me. Also the fact of sharing it on Internet and getting a constant feedback with people from different countries. I don’t care about the device that it is used unless the result what it gets.


My name is Lluis and I live in Barcelona and I work as a clerk in a company near the center. I try to capture everyday moments in my photos that I think can be special and I try to show what is around me in a different way.

My passion about photography has been increase with the chance of taking pictures and editing with the same device, my iPhone. I discovered a camera I can carry always with me a way to taking photos covertly. Hard to get otherwise. I have a classic vision about photography.


A journey to New York was the reason to I got my first the middle of another journey , an irreparable breakdown make me by another camera but in this case a digital one. In this moment I start using social networks about photography as Flickr. But when I get my first IPhone with its ability to take photos and edit in the same device, I decide searching for a platform to share them.  It’s when I discover Instagram and quickly it becomes an addiction. After that I discover @freaksbcn group who offer me to join them and I accept without a doubt. Now I can declare that have won some prices is in fact interesting but it’s been more gratifying to have met wonderful people, some of them are now great friends. What more can I ask for a hobby like this, the photography?  By the way, my name is Roldán.


My name is Silvia. I live in Barcelona and I am pedagogue and nowadays I am ending my studies of Social Education, an area that I love and I would like to work as it. Since I was a child, I like photography, but my interest for it began two years ago when I discovered Instagram. This application has given me the opportunity to discover wonderful people, across whom I am learning very much and in addition some of them have turned into great friends. I am one of the founders of @freaksbcn and thanks to it I can continue enjoying this madness of creating magic moments with photography. My style is not defined, but I always try to show pieces of moments that attracts me and  I  love to photograph the streets of my dear Barcelona.


Behind Sushidetortilla hides Carol de Britos, an elementary school teacher that has always admired photographers but thought taking pictures was something difficult that required a good equipment and a lot of preparation. On January 2011 she bought her second iphone and downloaded Instagram for the first time. Without knowing it, her life was about to change. Two years later, Sushidetortilla has won several contests (the last one hosted by Maison Valentino, Paris) and has taken part in several exhibitions. Actually, she’s teaching mobile photography workshops in different Universities (in Sevilla, for instance) and is programmer and curator of Spain’s first Mobile Photography Festival (D-IVE 2013). She’s one of the founders of FreaksBcn as well as EyeEm’s ambassador in Barcelona, jury of Blipoint and member of AMPt community.

How does each member see themselves in the next year? Next 5 years?  What would they like to accomplish with their work as individuals?
We don’t know what will be our lives within 5 years as a group. We are not waiting for anything in concrete but first of all we are in our present and trying to enjoying as it is today.

We just want this passion for mobile photography to not die with the years and to keep on sharing together come what may.

Barcelona is a beautiful city.  Bringing together such amazing artists to document the city is a great idea.  What are the plans for @freaksbcn in the future?
We have several plans for the future, including preparing a website with various content related to our group and pictures made with our phones.

And of course, continue to share our vision of the city, enjoying taking pictures and sharing it with all our friends and followers.

Thank you for your time.  What are some last words from @freaksbcn? Is there a formal way to submit to become a member? What advice can you give to mobile photographers around the world?
About the submitting to become a member of the group there is no requirement. We are open to accept new members.

More than any advice, the most important thing for us is to keep enjoying photography and sharing it with all who is around us.

Contact Freaksbcn
Instagram // Facebook // Email

Tehran, Iran: A City of Contrasts

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

Tehran is a city of contrasts. Photography from Tehran has its own restrictions and sensitivities. Despite the problems, mobile photographers like Shahram Sharif and Ako Salemi have been photographing this city for several years.  In this interview they tell us how they got to know each other and will share with us their experiences of street photography in the capital of Iran.

Tell us about yourselves? When did you start and how did you become interested in mobile photography?

Shahram: Well I’ve been working as a Technology journalist for a long time and I’m currently working for  one of the well known financial newspapers in Iran. Photography and Cinema have been two of my priorities in life. However, I gave up film making very early after a few experiences in making a short films. Unlike cinema I continued photography passionately. It’s now 17 years that I am taking photos and my favorite fields are documentary and nature (although these two are totally different). Now that I look at my archive I see that as a technology lover I have had photography experiences even with my first basic smart phones. However, they were not significant experiences and low quality of cameras was disappointing. In the recent years quality of mobile cameras has dramatically improved and the wide variety of applications have transformed the world of photography. My first serious experience of mobile photography happened after I joined Instagram. I saw good photos taken by mobile phones on Instagram. This made me think that it’s possible to take good photos with mobile. Moreover, I found Instagram filters very interesting.  Despite this many of the Instagram photos where loose selfies and it made it difficult to think of serious mobile photography. I was astonished when Ako first showed me the Hipstamatic.  The afternoon I first started to take photos using Hipstamatic was the same as the first day you go photographing with a new camera. Watching a film by Koci on Linda, seeing the black and white street photos of some of the Instagram members such as Dan Cristea and also seeing the Wearejuxt website made me think What an ideal place.

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif

Ako: I became fascinated by cameras ten years ago and I started walking and taking photos in the streets of Tehran with my pentax analogue camera. It is now eight years that I am working as a photojournalist in some of the famous Iranian newspapers.  Walking around in the streets and taking photos of people has been my passion for years. This habit has provided me with a moving photo studio. Big size of SLR cameras and the attention they attract was one of my concerns during all these years. It even caused me troubles a few times. Two years ago I got an ipod touch and took a few photos with it just for fun. At the same time I joined Instagram and I was lucky to see photos of Koci and Elif. Little by little I became more serious in taking mobile photos and sharing them on Instagram. I was also very excited when I first used Hipstamatic and its black and white films. I then got an iPhone for its camera quality. Over the past two years I gradually became an iPhoneographer. Now I only use my camera when taking photos for the newspaper I work for.

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

What are your subjects for photography? Has mobile photography made any changes to your photographic vision?

Shahram: I like buildings and places. Cities are remembered by their buildings. However, in my work I try to capture presence of people in the streets. I basically document the life going on the streets of my city. I like nature photography. When photographing the nature I usually use wide lenses and capture vast areas. Photography from nature feels like reading a poem or listening to a soft music. However, I feel like mobile and street photography makes me more realistic. Using normal lenses takes you closer to the subject. You can capture every movement of your subject and the beautiful or ugly reality in front of the camera. I don’t put any effort for making the truth captured in the photos better or worse but I try to find frames that seem unfamiliar at the first look.

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif

Ako: I still don’t know why streets and people motivates me for photography more than anything. Although I have tried many different fields of photography street photography has remained my main area of interest. I sometimes think this interest comes from my childhood when I spent most of my time playing with other children in alleys of the small town I was born in. I was interested in watching people and following their actions since I was a kid. Graphic connection between people and their surrounding, shadows, light and reflections in windows have always been the main attraction of a scene for me. That’s maybe the reason why I pay less attention to the colors and see my environment in black and white.

People usually don’t notice you when photographing with mobile and even if they do they won’t take you seriously. My photos are therefore more natural. I act faster and little time is wasted for preparing the camera. Most importantly I can easily share my mobile photos on the web. I am however aware that I miss on quality of the photos and I have less control over light  in using a mobile instead of a camera. But I think these aspects are of less importance in street photography.

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

How did you two meet and what do you think of each other’s works?

Ako: I’ve been working for a financial newspaper as the editor of the photography group since 4 years ago and Shahram was the editor of the technology desk of the same newspaper.We were just colleagues until I realized that Shahram also shares his photos on Instagram. We talked to each other about street photography. We started going out together for photographing after working hours. Shahram doesn’t pass any visually attractive wall without taking a photo. His stranded and confused people well represent the reality of everyday life in this city. Accurate compositions and the fine balance of black and white makes his photos spectacular.

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

Shahram: َAko and I were just colleagues for years. One of those colleagues you pass by everyday with a smile. Mobile photography  became a reason for our friendship. It’s now almost a year that we are taking photos together while walking in the streets of Tehran after work time. He usually borrows my portable charger! We sometimes use the lunch times at work to show our photos to each other and get feedback. A few months ago we formed a group for Iranian mobile photographers  named Fotomobers and we organised a few mobile photography training sessions for interested applicants.

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif

Why is the theme of your work so close? And how do you think you two have influenced each other?

Ako: We usually show our photos to each other and sometimes even edit them together. That’s why the atmosphere of our photos have gradually become close. However, despite photographing sometimes even similar scenes I believe each of us has kept his independence and has his our own photographic vision.

I think one of  Shahram’s important strengths is his ability to make positive contacts and I have learnt a lot from him in this aspect. His motivation, encouragement and valuable experience were also vital for forming the Fotomobers.  As for my influence over his work I think my black and white style has mostly affected Shahram’s taste for photography.

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

Shahram: I think this similarity is because of two things.Firstly the environment we work in and secondly our vision to photography. Yet these similarities are only in appearance.We have different styles of photography. When I am taking a photo I mostly pay attention to the background and composition of people in the frame. But in Ako’s photos the emphasis is on the relation between elements. I love Ako’s work. He grabs the subjects and doesn’t miss his favorite subjects like birds or pedestrians wearing a hat. I confess that I sometimes envy his photos.

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif

What is the Tehran you are working in like and how do your photos portray this city?

Shahram: Tehran is a vast city full of contrasts. This contrast is not only the contrast of lights, urban areas and the weather but a contrast is also evident in very different lifestyles and behaviour of people. You may find the most elegant buildings next to the houses of the poor. The happiest and the most nervous people pass you by at the same time.On the other hand street phptpgraphy in Tehran is not at all an easy job.In many of the streets you see the “No Photography” sign .”No photography” sign has become a part of urban culture. Even in some cultural places such as the Book City you are not allowed to take photos. Most of the shopkeepers don’t like to be photographed.Interestingly these people love photos in their personal lives.Nevertheless, despite the political and social restrictions photographing Tehran can be a very joyful experience. It is a beautiful city and as a photographer you find many interesting and beautiful subjects for your photos.Mobile photography gave me the confidence and ability it takes to get closer to the truth of this city.

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif

Ako : A big city like Tehran with more 20 millions population,various districts and buildings,different classes of people and a dynamic environment is a rich source of inspiration for me.We have four different seasons in this city. Tehran’s snowy,rainy,sunny and cloudy and even polluted days make a variety of subjects  and situations for photography.However as any other place photography in Tehran has its own problems. I usually try not to draw attention when taking photos and mobile helped me alot with this. The reason some people don’t like to be photographed is that they think their photo will be misused. This may cause troubles for the photographer. It might even become dangerous if you a government building is in your frame by accident. Therefore, photography in Tehran must be done with caution and it’s basically a risky job. Despite all the risks  photography in this city is very attractive and these risks have not discouraged me. My love for street photography provides enough motivation for me to face these problems. I don’t have the experience of photographing in other big cities in the world so I can’t compare but I’m sure it has its own problems everywhere but the only thing than make everyone to carry on is love and passion for mobile photography.

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

You’ve been among the 24 hours project photographers. How was 24 hours of photographing Tehran and did you encounter any problems?

Shahram: 24 hours project was a great idea however I think  it was more than anything an opportunity for us to  examine ourselves to see whether we are able to take 24 good photos during 24 hours. I believe the most significant aspect of this project was the time pressure on photographers. One hour is a very short time and fatigue of mind may disturb one’s concentration.The other problem that Ako and I had in this project was that Tehran doesn’t stay up late into the night and we had to capture half of our photos during the night. I personally didn’t think it will be this difficult to photograph in the streets of Tehran at night. Despite its difficulty the 24 hour project was an amazing experience. We are planning to  exhibit some of  these photos in the “1st Tehran Mobile Photo and Film Festival”  in Tehran as agreed by Renzo and Sam.

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif

Ako: I had not followed this project over the previous years so when Renzo first explained the project to me the project was somehow unknown to me. According to local timing Shahram and I had to start after the photographers in Australia,Japan and Indonesia. It did not seem to be a difficult task to post one photo per hour on instagram at first. However, after the first hours of the project and as we became more picky about which photo to post it became more difficult and sometimes even stressful. As the project happened at the time of the Iranian New Year holidays we faced a quiet and rather empty Tehran. This was a challenge for us since we are very much interested in capturing people in our photos.Nevertheless the emptiness of the streets helped us to take photos of almost  all the important places in Tehran without getting stuck in the Traffic. At the end I should thank Renzo and Sam for the management of the project and also other photographers in other countries for their participation that  made this somehow difficult experience also fun. I should  also thank Brad and We Are Juxt website  for giving us this opportunity to share our experiences in mobile photography.

Photo Credit: Ako Salemi

Contact Information:
Shahram Sharif    IG | eyeem |flickr
Ako Salemi   IG | eyeem | flickr | FB

Emily Chen: Mobile Street Photographer & EyeEm Ambassador

Emily Chen: Mobile Street Photographer & EyeEm Ambassador by BP

Tell us about youself:
My name is Emily Chen. I am a specialist in wealth management technology, currently I am managing a mobile app project for financial advisers. I am passionate about beautiful software, and I am also passionate about documenting the streets of Sydney.

My phone is always on stand by, I often joke about the best way to find me, is through my photo stream, I take photos of everything but what generally fills my camera roll are candid street photography. I shoot and edit with my iPhone 4S, more recently I’ve purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and have started to explore the photo apps in Google Play.

Where are you from:
I am originally from Taichung Taiwan.

During my Year 6 summer break, instead of sending me to the Scout camp down the road, my folks put me on a flight to a small coastal town in Queensland. I lived with an Australian family, played cricket and attended English classes. A summer holiday turned into something much more. I’ve been living in Australia ever since & currently I am in the beautiful city of Sydney.

How does your answer above influence your work:
Taiwan is a fair distance away from Australia, so I don’t get to see my family much! I use mobile photography as a way to stay connected with them – I shoot things I see, places I’ve been, and I share the photos real time.

What really inspires me are the work of fellow mobile street photographers.

One photographer in particularly I would like to mention is Olly Lang, fellow Sydney street photographer. I first came across Olly’s work back in mid 2011, he was walking the streets that I walked everyday, yet he saw them so differently. Everyone of his posts had me in awe. How did he do that? I find myself asking.

Late 2011 I met Olly in person at one of the photo walk meet ups and he was so open to share his techniques & experiences as a street photographer. He encouraged me to chase that beautiful Australian light, and to continue to develop my own styles.

When did you start shooting:
I’ve always been interested in photography but it was when I got my iPhone 3GS in 2011 that’s when I started to shoot street photography.

I commute during the week to the Sydney CBD. I started taking photos of commuters during my train journey, the way light would fall onto their faces, the way they are immersed in reading the news or applying makeup, or simply fallen asleep.

And then I find myself getting off the train one or two stops before my destination so I can walk to the office by foot. And popping out of the office at ‘golden hour’ so I can squeeze in some shooting. I started to document the streets and getting to know the sunlight. I find myself shooting the same spots, over and over again & not get tired of it because the light was always different and the people, people are just so interesting.

What brought you into the world of street photography? What words of wisdom can you share with others who are wanting to learn more and get involved in shooting street?
iPhone 4S and the wonderful street photographer community on Instagram were the key catalysts that brought me into street photography. To me, the user community is what differentiate mobile photography to the other forms. The way we interact with each other, provide constructive feedback and the sharing process, are what makes mobile photography special. And the realisation when I upgraded to iPhone 4S (from iPhone 3GS) that I have a real, substantial camera in my hand, all the time, made me try all forms of photography. Street photography really clicked and in the last 12 months, it’s been a consistent body of street photo work that I’ve pursued.

My two cents worth for the photographers interested to shoot street:

Shoot and shoot more! You can’t improve by simply imagining your shots. Yes, picture your compo in your head, walk the streets, keep shooting, shoot lots! Try different angles, try to shoot single figure, try to shoot urbanscape. Find your feet and find your style.Always have your mobile phone on standby. Always be ready.

Be selective with what you post. Post images that represent you, post regularly and interact with the community to seek feedback. But never spam.

Tell us a bit more about the light and its importance to mobile and street photography.  Walk us through what you do to prepare to go and shoot street. Tell us more about the beautiful light of Sydney.
For me, light is the most important element in street photography. Most models of mobile phones are not great in low light situation, which makes the natural sunlight even more important to mobile street photographers.

Light in Sydney is full of characters, light is golden and warm in the morning and afternoon; strong and harsh at midday but that’s where reflections from the tall buildings & windows are most interesting.

I am a light chaser. I walk a lot, I study the light and remember how and where they fall & reflect.

My workflow is fairly simple really. Pre-set my exposure, phone is on standby and I walk and look for interesting figures and light spots. I keep walking. I don’t stop to check my shots, I complete my walk, continue with my day to day activities. And I review the shots later in the day, preferably through my iPad.

As a woman street photographer, have you found any barriers in getting your work noticed? respected? Recently there was discussion of how many women street photographers are out in the world but bigger names have mostly been by men.  Can you talk about your thoughts on this?
Honestly, I don’t think there is a relevance in male or female photographer numbers on the street. I dont think gender matters. Perhaps the style of male and female photographers differ? I certainly wouldn’t shoot alone 2am in the morning, but that’s a personal choice. I don’t see or feel the barriers. The body of work is the most important thing here. Shoot, and shoot well, shoot with style are what matters.

As lame as it sounds, you know, it’s hard to tell whether one is a male or female tog through the mobile photography platforms with those little avatar photos and usernames!

I am just going to leave it at that!

Street photography requires having the eye, chasing the light, and being patient.  With these photos in particular can you describe for us these 3 factors?

Commuters, Martin Place Station

Martin Place Station
This is a recent shot, taken at about 6pm in the early autumn light.
I am learning about layers and have become quite fascinated with depth and distance.
Here I was about to walk down the set of stairs, I can see my silhouette down the bottom of the stairs as I always do around this time of the day, and I saw the man hesitated about which direction he was going to turn. And when he did, I was ready to shoot.

Light is so important, as it will define and shape your image.
Being ready, and on a look out, compose the image in your mind to make a shot interesting.
Patience, ah, yes, patience in waiting for the right moment. And don’t beat yourself up when you miss the shot, there is always tomorrow.

Prayers, Martin Place Stage

Martin Place Stage- chasing the light.
This was also an afternoon shot. This lady was soaking up the sun, I got brave and walked up to get this shot. She had her eyes closed the whole time. I got lucky 🙂

Lanterns, Angel Place

Angel Place – patience & composition
Midday. The harsh midday sun created such a intriguing shadow around this little laneway.
I waited, not long, for the right composition. Lunch, was well deserved after this.

Pirate, George Street

George Street – light, and lots of luck!
Midday. One of the few shots from a photo walk. This one I recall quite vividly, I was with Olly Lang. We were lurking around this spot, sharing notes on how the light reflects off adjacent buildings. Discussing interesting subjects in Sydney. And this man slowly walked up the street. It was a quick capture but a fun one.

Commuters, Wynyard Station

Wynyard Station – light
This is an earlier work. I was learning about light, but to this date, one of my favourite shots.
I saw the light pouring into the train station. I stood and waited. I was there quite sometime, just observing how light fell on people’s faces as they exit the station. This was a moment worth waiting for.

I shoot mostly during my commute, I love morning and afternoon sunlight with elongated shadows and the way light falls on my subject’s faces. Some of my work are currently been shown in the Daily Commutes project at the Format Festival.

What apps do you use? What do you shoot with? What do you postprocess in?
I shoot mostly with an iPhone 4S.
My go to shooting app is ProCamera for colour street; and lately, the Thirty Six app for b&w street.
Majority of my colour street work are unedited, I want to show the image the way I saw it through my iPhone.
If and when I need to touch them up, I use Snapseed and VSCOcam apps. And more recently, Misho’s Perspective Correct to fix any crooked buildings. I highly recommend all the above apps, they are all great for mobile photography in general.

I have just purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, will be exploring the Android apps for shooting and editing.

In closing, any last thoughts regarding mobile photography in general.  Street photography in specific. and then plans for where you are going with your work.
Mobile photography is no longer a questionable form of photography. It is a legit form of photography. It is less conspicuous because of the camera size, which brings a new dimension to street photography in particular. The movement of street and documentary style of photography is being influenced by mobile, it is bringing new chllanges, and in a good way.

I plan to keep shooting. There is more to learn and there are always, always more to shoot. My style is street candid, I love and will keep improving on that. Maybe other forms of street, perhaps portraiture, when I am brave enough to talk to strangers, a bit of work to do.

And as an EyeEm ambassador, I would like to continue to help and reach out to the community here in Sydney and more, interact with other togs and people interested in photography, and do my part in pushing mobile photography further.

Emily Chen
EyeEm / Instagram / Twitter

Praying to Chamundeshwari: The Result of Joined Forces

Meet Crystal

“True presence is a sacred act.” ~Ferrell and Coyle

This is a quote from two nurses who have done extensive research on caring for patients at the end of life.  It is meant to describe the act of deep observation and human connection that can occur in those final precious moments.  I am a nurse specializing in oncology and end of life care, but am also trained as a painter and mixed media artist.  It has been a long while since I’ve participated in anything I would call “art making” but it seems I’ve always managed to be making something.  When I first began nursing I hard a hard time reconciling the two practices in my mind, but recently I’ve found they are not so different at all.  They both require total engagement of the senses, and to do either reasonably well requires discipline and that “true presence” which these nurses are describing.  Generally I enjoy photographing repeating forms, lines, and patterns I find in my environment.  Only recently I have switched from an HTC Inspire to an i5 and I have been beside myself exploring apps like Snapseed, Picfx, and particularly the exercise in chaos theory which is Decim8.  I’m constantly amazed by their intuitive interfaces, and by how expressive they can be (a LOT less clinical than I remember Photoshop being).

When Jess proposed a collaboration I was thrilled.  To say I had been admiring her brilliant portraits (and eloquent narratives) for several months is an understatement.  How Jess is able to achieve the richness and textures she does with her magic phone continues to escape me.  Even more than this, she has an unbelievable and beautiful connection with each individual she photographs.  Her images do not simply describe, they are really artifacts of the the true presence which she so easily achieves with everyone she meets.

We each exchanged a series of images leaving the selection and edit up to the other.  I had been working on some Decim8ed street shots (with actual people!) and was really just blown away by the image at the temple.  Clearly this is a BIG image with themes and subject matter which transcends time.  I really wanted to see if it would be possible to explore this image via my decim8 experiments, while maintaining the dignity and sacredness of this moment.

Favorite shots Jessica chose of Crystal’s work

Meet Jessica

My passion is simple, my passion is life and the photos I take are just that, life unfolding before my very eyes.  As an American nomad living abroad in South Asia I’m exposed to different cultures, people, languages, faiths, music, architecture, surroundings and sights.  I’m learning so much from my own experiences so I want to share what I learn with those in my life and I tried blogging but it just wasn’t effective for me so  the best way I know how is through my photography and the narrative I include with each moment.  I absolutely LOVE capturing people doing what they do, not posed, not acted, but living their daily life.  Life is the old man gripping the bars of the local train as we chug south to Mysore.  Life is the woman walking out of her hut to see the sun peeking out from the clouds.  Life is a mother and daughter crouched in front of their house drawing the new Rangoli for the day.  Life is hawks soaring between the buildings in the middle of downtown Mysore as the sun beats down on a hot afternoon.  Life is a moped chillin inside the doorway of a concrete house.  Life is men and women embracing the temple wall in devotion to their goddess after paying tribute to her figure.  Sometimes I see life in black and white, sometimes I see it in color, sometimes I see it with a twist but to me, it’s all the same life and my goal is to share what I see while also honoring and respecting those whose lives I’ve captured.

I use my HTC One X exclusively and I am the newest member of @DroidEdit.

Favorite shots Crystal chose of Jessica’s work

Jessica Introduces the Collaboration

What I love about Crystal’s work is that there is a deep appreciation for the details, regardless of how small or large and she can make ANYTHING beautiful… seriously… ANYTHING, like baseball and fat, two things which I am very adverse!!  We both shoot different subjects and tackle our images differently but that’s what I found most intriguing about working with her and why I wanted to work with her.  WWCD?! ?  Would she go all decim8’y with it?  Will she pick out some obscure detail and twist the image in a way that I would never have even dreamed?  The only thing I knew is that I trusted her 147% with my images and the vision she would have for my raw shots so I didn’t guide at all and I wanted her to have full artistic liberties over what the edits would look like.  My contribution to this collaboration – I sneakily parked my butt next to this wall at the Chamundeshwari Temple on Chamundi Hill in Mysore, India and tried to snap a decent picture that I could possibly work with in the future… she did the rest 😉

Crystal sent me 2 separate edits and this one just grabbed my heart like a grappling hook!  This edit was so powerful, the colors intense and the decim8 lines drawing you from one side of the mirror to the other.  In a lot of the eastern religions and philosophies there are these external gods/goddesses/deities that are worshipped but when you break it down, what you pray for, when praying for them, is the quality those gods/goddesses/deities have that you want to possess and that you want to shine bright.  Like when you pray to Buddha, you’re not praying to Gautama, you’re praying to the Buddha qualities within you.  When you pray to Ganesha, you’re not praying Ganesha comes and saves you from all your woes but that the wisdom and the ability to overcome obstacles rises within you and that you have the strength to face your own challenges.  In yoga, it’s said that the best teacher is the teacher you have within yourself.  I’m by no means an expert in these philosophies, not even close, and there are so many complexities but this is what I’ve come to understand during my time here so forgive me if I’m missing the mark a bit.  The way Crystal edited my original image portrays this understanding impeccably!!  Yes this man is praying to Chamundeshwari but what he’s also praying for courage, strength and power within himself that Chamundeshwari was known for.  I cannot envision capturing the act of honoring one’s faith and oneself any better than she has.  I love this woman’s brain and heart so much!

Crystal Breaks it Down

1. I can’t begin to describe how excited I was when I saw this.  I think all of the intensity and beauty of the moment Jess saw is conveyed so clearly here.  Usually I crop the images I work with first, before taking them to other apps.  I tried this method first but found I was losing some of the space and compositional strength when I went to Decim8.  I decided to start over and take another approach.

2. I ran the whole image through a few versions of Veth in Decim8 before finding this.

3. I then took the image to Snapseed and decided on a crop which would leave as much of the texture of the shirt in combination with the lines describing the angle of the wall and decided on a 1/4 turn.

4. Decim8 produces some high key colors, so I fine tuned a little in VSCO Cam, adjusting fade, contrast, saturation, and grain.

5. Back to Decim8 one more time for a Beamrider filter.  Then a trip to Picfx for one of the PFX Film filters.

The image was originally published to the “iDroid challenge” hosted by @AMPt, @DroidEdit and @WeAreJuxt (all on Instagram).


See the first feature on Juxt from the challenge:

Moose:  The Result of Joined Forces by Atle and Tom

A challenge where Android and iPhone photographers and artists collaborate across the technical platforms.

Photography. Community. Survivorship.

Survivorship & Photography by Rae and BP

Interview with Siri Okland for the Breast Cancer Awareness Challenge 2012

Rae’s Introduction
…Until we have a cure, early detection is vital…

As most of you know, October was breast cancer awareness month.  I was over the moon excited when I was asked to join hosting this years 2nd annual BCA challenge with Trinia (@trinia) Kris (@leftcoastadventures) Renee (@azulbandit) and Kelsey (@kelseyhope)  This was my first challenge on the hosting end of things.  I learned right away that there was a lot more work behind the scenes then I ever imagined but giving the challenge topic at hand, it didn’t matter.  Seeing the support by everyone and hearing their stories, made it all worth it.  When we first announced the challenge, we wanted to make sure we focused on raising awareness.  Just knowing one person booked an appointment and/or did a self examination made us happy.  I know each of my cohost and I were told on different occasions that our end of the day goal was affective.  It was so moving to have people come together and share their stories on how cancer had affected them, their families and/or friends.  Many just wanted to know how they could help (ie sponsoring, donating, promoting on their feeds or just asking others to join in.)  Before we knew it, the challenge just kept growing.  This is the community I love.

Our first place winner was Anna (@annacox) and Anna being the gracious women she is, kindly gifted this interview to our second place winner, Siri. .  We couldnt be more pleased with this interview and who you are about to meet.

BP’s Introduction
First off, BIG thanks to Trinia, Kris, Renee, Kelsey, and Rae for pulling off such an important contest. I have been totally moved by the stories and the photos that was shared all in the name of awareness for breast cancer. I’ve opened my story on one of the photos on my feed and so for those of you who haven’t read it, this, THIS cancer shit, has affected too many lives – most notably one who I love so dearly. My ask to the organizers was to not only have the involvement of Juxt, but to carry the story past the contest win and continue the education. As you’ve read above in Rae’s introduction, there are so many great stories of how this contest, this month has reached many people. Those affected in the past, those affected currently, and those who may be affected in the future, took a stand against this horrid monster. Breast cancer is only one of its ugly heads. We must continue to find ways to help those who are working on the cure. October was a rough month. There were 3 diagnosis and 2 scares just within my circle. Cancer has spread viral as usual AND in this day and age, our fight should take the same position – we go viral in stories, in education, and in support for those we love affected by cancer.

BIG thanks again to Trinia, Kris, Renee, Kelsey, and Rae…BIG thanks to all of you who contributed and spread the awareness about breast cancer…and BIG thanks to Siri for opening up her art, story, and life to the world.

Below you will find questions that Rae and I asked Siri. She, like her photographs, is truly inspiring.

Folks meet Siri.

Found this little scared and frozen cutie in the street today. Seemed to have given up life, but after warming up, he flew up to the lamp in my bathroom. Next step: Convince him that others than Mom can feed him.”

It’s not often you get this close to a wild bird, and certainly not often a bird looks like it’s posing for you like this. As all of my pictures on IG, this is shot with my phone.

Siri on mobile photography

What is it about mobile photography that has you hooked?

I fully discovered the fun of mobile photography when I joined Instagram. Of course I had used the phone as a camera earlier, but mostly to document things that happens, like birthdays and stuff. With IG I discovered editing, which was new for me. I got hooked right from the start. First it was like “Hey, look what I can do!”, which in fact was more of a “Hey, look what the IG filters can do!” But the initial fascination over the filters faded after some postings. The overall reason that I still am hooked, is that mobile photography has made me see my surroundings with new eyes. Or perhaps I should say sharpened eyes. I also like the instant about it. You see something and snap a shot as you go. Sometimes I post it immediately, sometimes I use more time to watch it over.

What do you love about the community of mobile photography? how has the community helped you in process?

The fun of mobile photography is the sharing part. I follow great photographers from nearly all over the world, and love the diversity in motives, styles and preferences they show. Moscow subways, Hawaiian flora, Canadian nature, Indonesian fishermen or Iranian creations – I like to get square glimpses from total different everyday lives, I like to get other’s local views, other’s personal or artistic colored perspectives of their country’s directly into my phone. And I like to share my own photos too. The communities on IG are great. I’ve only met supportive people who cheer and clap each other’s back. Subcommunities like @joshjohnson, @colorsofthewwek and @dailyphototopics are great examples of this.

“Into the courtyard.”

There’s a lot of doors and gates on IG, and I can understand why. They are inviting, colorful and often small pieces of art. When I passed this one, I fetched the phone from my purse immediately. The color tones in this picture are one of my favorite palettes.

“Going to need one soon.”

Another example of how common objects can turn into something else, something different, something more, when you put it into a square on Instagram.

“Going to pieces.”

I don’t know why so many of us like macros, but it might have something to do with an urge to reveal the mystery of objects or nature – in this case wood. Peeling paint and other textures amazes IGers in the same way as art do to the audience in an exhibition. Who hasn’t put the face up close to a painting in order to study the traces from the paintbrush?

“Delightful in a hot summer’s day in Lisbon.”

My family were on holiday in Lisbon, where it was extremely hot. Outside the aquarium we were drawn to this huge fountain. There was a wall of falling water, and we all were happy to get cooled under it. The waterfall was so noisy that we couldn’t hear each other, and we all screamed of joy. I like the dress in motion and the gesture my daughter is making when the cold water hits her neck.

When did you join IG? And how do you feel about the shift in how this app is being used?

I joined IG in April this year. I didn’t expect anything from it, just wanted to check what kind of app Facebook found it so important to buy. Despite this I got hooked immediately, as I told before. I understand that some people regret that IG has turned into more of a social community than an artistic arena. I haven’t been around long enough to observe this shift, but as far as I see, IG works well serving both those functions. There is space enough for everyone. Of course one can regret though, that great tags are being “polluted” by people who don’t have photos that fit the theme, but just want to get seen.

What are your go-to editing apps?

In about 7 out of 10 photos, I stick to the filters IG provide. On my way I’ve tried six or seven editing apps, but dismissed most of them. For my own photos, I don’t like too much edit, but Snapseed is my friend. If Snapseed can’t help me to get where I want to go, I check Photo fx. If I’m not satisfied, I simply don’t post. Along the way, I’ve improved in controlling (some of the) the factors before I shoot, and that’s a greater joy than heavy edit, I think.

Siri and Her Story

Were you surprised with how much positive feedback you received on the image posted of yourself? and how do you feel about it?

Yes, I was really surprised and overwhelmed by the support and positive feedback I got after I posted this self portrait (which – that is important for my to underline – my husband shot). A whole lot of IGers told me that the photo touched their heart. Cancer affects many people, directly or indirectly, so I guess it’s easy to draw some lines to one’s own life. I was deeply touched by the encouragement people gave me, and also touched by the stories some of them shared with me.

Can you provide stories of your journey (finding out about the diagnosis, your reaction, and/or family reaction)?

When I got the cancer diagnosis the first time, of course the world fell apart for me and my family of five. I didn’t see that one coming at all. Our three girls were 9 years, 4 years and 11 months, so my husband and I had no choice but manage the situation. Breaking down was not an option. I was breastfeeding the baby when I got the diagnosis. After the mastectomy a week later, it was quite weird: At one side the lifegiving milk were flooding. At the other there were nothing but potential death. My husband was great during this time (as always). To me, it was a great sorrow to lose a breast, but his humour helped a lot: To me, it doesn’t matter. You know I’m not good at thinking of two things at the same time anyway, he said. The nicest thing someone ever told me. Ever!

Having someone to care about is a good medicine and helps you through the days. When our youngest picked the day after I got the diagnosis to walk her first steps, it got clear to me that life goes on, and I was definitely going to fight to be a part of it! And here I am!

“Blue vases in silhouette”

This window is in my parents’ house and I’ve seen it for years, but after starting IG photography I SAW the beauty of it for the first time. That’s what thrills me here: It makes me see my surroundings differently. This picture is one of my earliest, and I keep coming back to it because it reminds me of this discovery.

“Broken angel and bulbs at wait.”

This photo is an example of the fun of challenges. The task was something like “still life with three objects”. I looked around in the house to find a still life that fitted, because I didn’t want to make it easy by putting something together myself. In this vase I had stored some used bulbs waiting to be recirculated and an angel waiting to be mended. Decorative leftovers.

“From the beach today.”

What can I say? Nothing trumps the nature.

As a cancer survivor, did you find the need to reprioritize things in your life and if so, what?

Actually, I never felt that I had to reprioritize any major directions in my life. My husband and I already had put family first, so there were no need to change something in that regard. It was a good feeling to be content over this. When it comes to minor insignificances, such as shining windows and stuff like that, I’ve learned to say to myself: Frankly, I don’t give a damn!

What are some words you would like to give to a woman and her support systems who are currently going through this horrible situation?

It’s not easy to give general advices to others, because there are no rights and wrongs when it comes to handling cancer and coping with the pain, the fear, the treatment, the existential loneliness. We are all different, and have different needs. But I can tell what helped me, though, and that was a couple of things: A lot of talking and practical help. The first one was a natural result of me being open about what had happened to me and my family. The second one was a natural result of the same.

If I shall give one advice to people who know someone who is ill, there is one thing I want to stress: Try to help and be there for them also after the initial shock and crisis. It’s a long run to recover, and they need someone at the later soup stations of this marathon run as well.

At last, I want to tell how grateful I am to live in the western part of the world, where we are lucky to have good health care. Not everyone in the world has drawn that winning ticket. I’m fully aware that I am healthy because of medical research that has been going on for decades in order to find cure for cancer. Therefore I’m thankful for every coin people generously donate to research and grateful for every pink ribbon I see.


 Thank you Siri. Thank you Rae.

 This article is dedicated to all the survivors and supporters of cancer. 

You are always in our thoughts and prayers.

God Speed. – We Are Juxt


 Below you will find the photos tagged to #BCA_Challenge2

[instapress tag=”BCA_Challenge2″ piccount=”25″ size=”90″ effect=”fancybox” paging=”1″]



Beyond Novelty, the Changing Face of Photography Pt. 2

Read Beyond Novelty, the Changing Face of Photography PART One

Hiding and Seeking A Photo Book Kickstarter

B: BP A: Andre

B: Tell us more about the idea of the project, mission and vision.

A: This project originally began as an experiment in self-promotion. After being given the opportunity to exhibit my camera phone images at a local gallery I began thinking of how to promote my work. The idea was to create a series of small photo books and hide them throughout the city, giving people clues on where to find them in hopes to generate interest in my work. At the time I was also questioning whether people (the general public) with their smart phones, still believed in the printed image. Or had everyone’s perception of photography been conditioned to see it only as digital images viewed online. How were people interacting with these images online? Had it lost its personal, intimate touch? Had photography been boiled down to sitting at a computer or using our smart phones clicking the “like,” “comment” and “send buttons?” Is this what our experience with photography had become? A physical photograph is the very thing that makes photography, well, photography. So what has photography become? What does it continue to be? What happens to all of these images we create? Do they get stored on HDs never to be born into the physical world? If these digital files don’t last forever, what remains? What of our memories? I wanted to address this.

With this experiment, I considered how I could connect the audience with my work through physical interactivity. Aside from challenging people’s perception of photography, I wanted to challenge how people interacted with the physical images and the urban environment. With physical photo albums we could flip through pages. There was something very intimate and personal about holding, controlling those pages. By creating a photo book and hiding it for people to find I challenged them to get out from their computer, engage their environment, along the way they’d find something new, be rewarded by a truly unique experience, and a free signed and numbered photo book that would contain a one-of-a-kind story, theirs. This was a book that was created especially for the one who found it. And my plan was to engage every individual in the creative process. They would help create their own experience.

I thought about what I would like to experience if given this opportunity. What does it mean to create a book? What would it mean to find a book? Is there a story within it? Can there be a story attached to it? A memory? I thought of this experiment from the user’s perspective in two ways:

  1. Everyone loves a treasure hunt and exploring new places, sights and things.
  2. If I could engage them in the process, and they were successful at finding the book, they would have a photo book embedded with a memory of the adventure they went on to find it, a book that only a small number of people would own. This book would be extremely specialized because no two people’s experience finding the book would be the same.

Would people go out and find this book, a free book? Did it matter who made it? Did a book in printed form, that intimate experience we have touching and turning its pages matter anymore? An adventure outside of traveling to the bookstore or buying a book online that everyone and their brother may own? Oh no, there had to be more, and I was going to challenge this idea.

After hiding two different series I realized that people would be challenged on multiple levels. People’s perception of what a book was, where one would go in order to find one, and how they might interact with the environment once there.

“Life is a game we play with friends in a park.” Lower East Side, NYC

“They casually strolled looking for the catch of the day.” Coney Island, NY

B: Can you provide some testimony/ story with the first book? Who found it?

A: I’ll share with you the story of SF book #15. It has the most interesting story of all. This particular book had one seeker, two finders, was lost and then found again. Book #15 was one of those books where I found myself tired. I really wanted to just get it off my hands. I had walked all over trying to hide it. I knew that right across the street from my office in an alley was a beautiful graffiti mural. I knew I wanted to hide it there but was stumped on how to do it. Taking a quick walk over before a meeting with a student, I got to the mural and looked around, first for security cameras, and second, for a hiding spot. After a little thought I found a fire main that ran down the building ended in a large brass fitting that had four nozzles on it. Bingo.  No security cameras, bonus. I hid the book in a newspaper disguise, so it looked like someone had just stashed a read newspaper. I hid the book behind the large pipe, sat there for 10-15 minutes to enter the hint on the blog. Satisfied, I split. Here’s where it gets interesting. After meeting with my student he emailed stating that he saw the book was hidden near by and went to find it. “Has anyone found it yet?” I answered, “no.” Check again, I told him, revealing an additional hint. This was one of the more obvious books. The book had been hidden right outside of a bar/art gallery called 111 Minna. While my student was standing there looking for the book a guy came out of the building to have a smoke. The student asked if he had seen a tall tattooed guy hide something right around here. The person answered that he had. He sees everything, he stated, there was a well-hidden security camera apparently. After witnessing me place something behind the pipe, he came out to see what it was after I had left. He admitted looking at it. He was quoted as saying it was the weirdest gallery submission they had ever received. Obviously, uninterested, and failing to be unique enough for him, he threw it away. Really? After hearing this the student asked where he discarded the book. The guy point at a trash bin, and my student retrieved his book.

I was surprised to hear this story. Man, this kid had one hell of a story attached to this book now. He couldn’t believe the person at the bar/gallery had looked at it, seen a photo book and then threw it away. I would have put it back or kept it. Its not everyday you find something like that on the street. My student loved the experience, and the idea. He had been following the project but never had the opportunity to find a book. When he was finally given an opportunity he had to put one hell-of-an effort into getting his book. And now he’ll never forget it.

This obviously was an extreme example but it shows that each person’s experience in finding one of these books is unique. This experience is embedded in the book as a memory forever. Making the book even more unique. I created the book, and he helped create the experience that would define his book. It really is truly awesome.

B: What are some of the lessons learned being that this is such an innovative project under the new social networking/social media/ mobile photography/ tech world we live?

A: Hiding books in both SF and NYC posed their own unique challenges. I swear it feels like almost every book was a lesson learned. But to keep it simple here’s a list:

  1. Embrace the digital in order to love the physical. Yes, sounds oxymoronic. But this project would not have been possible without the web.
  2. I thought it would be really easy to hide small photo books in a dense city. It’s actually a lot harder to hide a book than I thought it would be.
  3. When I first started hiding books I went in with high expectations. “This is new, fresh, everyone will love this, it’ll go viral and life will be good.” Um, ya, don’t go into a project like this with expectations. Just do it because you feel passionate about the concept or the thought behind it, and then just go with the flow if it takes off. Otherwise, you’ll be distracted by a self-imposed sense of failure.
  4. One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to promote the hell out of this idea. Let’s face it. You could hide a million dollars out on the streets, no one’s going to find it unless you tell them its there. I had to figure out how to create a want, a need, for these books. I wanted to get people talking about it. This was probably my biggest challenge, especially being a book of images created using a smart phone. Not everyone values these images or what they represent. When someone found the book I would post a congratulations stating their name and the book number so everyone would see. I spread it all over the web, IG, FB, twitter, my blog. I had a big wall to scale. And honestly, I’m still scaling it.
  5. People will put their hands in strange places to find a book
  6. Wrap your books in waterproof storage bags, rain and sprinklers aren’t healthy for a book.
  7. Hide your books in stable locations and include a brief “finders‘s” statement inside so if they’re found accidentally the person will know what to either log it or put it back. Expect one or two books to be lost to oblivion. Yes, it’s happened, SF, book #13, NYC books #6, 10, 11. They were either trashed, or someone found them and didn’t know what to do with it.
  8. Have a theme or an idea of where to place the books otherwise you’ll spend more time walking and less time hiding.
  9. Disguise your books. This is where you can be really creative. I disguised them in daily newspapers. This aided my success in NYC where there seems to be a million “eyes in the sky,” and a public policy that if you see something, say something. I would hide the book in a paper sit down and take my time reading an article and then stash it as if I was done reading. No one thought twice, and I hid some books in some extremely popular places.
  10. There are now options at book publishers where you can also create a digital version of your book for people to purchase or download. I considered making this available for my books. I decided against it. I wanted to retain a mysterious aura to the books. There was only one way you were going to get this book and that was to go out and find it.

“In his dreams maybe.” East Village, NYC

“There comes an image that defines every photographer’s existence, reason for being. This is mine.” In the subway coming from Yankees game, NY

B: Were there any historical references you used in developing this project? 

A: Good old treasure hunting, adventure, and the love for printed photography. 

B: Can you tell the readers more about why you feel that this validates the photography developed from a mobile device?

A: This validates mobile phone photography by proving that these images we are creating with our phone-enabled cameras are in fact a true form of photography, coming full circle. We are creating images and completing the photographic process by printing them. No matter what device we are using to capture the image it is still, and always will be an organic process, unique to the individual. Without that final step in the process of making that physical print, the process lies incomplete. And lets face it. There are a lot of people out there who don’t believe a good quality print can be pulled from the images being created on these smartphones. Making books like these, and prints prove that wrong.

B: When putting a book together, what do you look for in your images that you put in the book?  Can you give us some production ideas as I know that some folks have stated they love the idea and may possibly try something smaller scale amongst family and friends?

A: When I put a book together I find it to be a somewhat simple, yet difficult process. What makes this process simple is the fact that I shoot in one genre of photography, street photography, with a specific style. I don’t have to worry about what images to combine. I just have to choose my favorites. I DO NOT choose everyone elses favorites or my most commented on or popular as seen on my IG feed. Be careful of this. In the beginning I was tempted to choose images from my IG feed that had the highest views to put into my books. I realized very quickly that by going this route my audience wouldn’t be seeing me for who I really am, but as everyone else thought I was. These books are an opportunity for me to share my work, what I feel are my strongest, and my thought process on a more intimate level. Maybe even throwing in something you’ve never seen before as a little surprise.

Once the images are chosen I then face the challenge of arranging them in an order, what images is first? What image is last? My goal is to create a flow, a rhythm. Think poetry. Verts, horizontals, squares, b&w, color, how will all of these elements relate with one another on the page, communicate as a whole in the book? Once I get an initial layout then begins the process of finessing to finalize the feel of the book. The challenging part of all though is choosing the cover, and deciding on a title.

Production ideas

  1. Have a theme for your book. Try to keep it consistent. Not to say that chaotic book without a theme can’t be your theme.
  2. Pool your choice images into a working edit before you begin designing the pages.
  3. Edit that pool down to your favorites, based on how many pages you’ll be including.
  4. Think about layout. If you’re going to put multiple images on a page how do they relate to one another? How do they communicate as a “whole?” Are you Juxtaposing thoughts? Pairing similarities? Or just randomly placing images? Give sit some thought to bring deeper meaning to your book, and the story within.
  5. Consider writing captions for your images or include some text about your process. Everyone loves a little extra story.
  6. Title your book.

“Peeking into his subconscious the man knew there was work to be done.” Brooklyn, NY

“I had no idea what I had until I looked later.” Times Square, NYC

B: What do you feel about your project being duplicated by others?

A: I think that’s an awesome compliment to myself, and my project if others find it fascinating enough to want to explore the concept as well. What I would challenge people out there to do who might be considering a project like this is to not copy my project verbatim, but take the idea and use it as a spring board to create a unique project of their own. I was originally inspired by a local illustrator who was a stay at home dad. To pass his time he created 100 illustrations with one theme and hid them all around our town, one a week, using a blog to post hints. The idea was awesome. I even went looking for them with my wife and daughter a few times only to be beat to the treasure. But what I was fascinated by was the intimacy of the search, how I was included in the process. Look, there really are no new or original ideas anymore that weren’t inspired by something or someone else, as is the case with my book project. Think of it as an open source project. We’ll all benefit from the proliferation of creative ideas, and if we all contribute to ideas that help move the art of photography even one baby step forward then we can say we were successful in leaving our mark, even it’s a tiny one.  If you find inspiration in this project, great! Now take that inspiration and spin it into something that reflects you.

B: In each book, can you tell us the storyline, the effect you wish to have on the audience?

A: These books contain my favorite images at a particular moment in time that I took great care in choosing and editing. Throughout the pages I am sharing my thought process visually. I want the audience to look at these images. Touch them. Feel the paper. Smell the ink. Well, ok, maybe that’s going too far. I am hoping to create an internal dialogue in their heads. Why did he choose these? “Oh, that’s my favorite as well.” Or, “Not my favorite. He has better.” “Where’d he print this?” “Man! It looks so much better printed.”

There isn’t necessarily a storyline in the books when I hide them as much as they’re a portfolio of images, a celebration of the street, and how I see it. The images in the book are important but not as important as the memory of the experience that will be embedded in this book. That’s the effect I hope to have on my audience. They may be going to find one of these books because they like my images, or just want an adventure, or enjoy collecting photography. But one thing’s for certain, when they’re done this book will now contain a story that tells the tale of their adventure to find it, transforming it into a book that is uniquely theirs. Essentially, they help to complete the book with their story.

B: Share with us the process of developing the book, deciding where you want to hide, the significance of where you may hide a book, what hints you share with the audience?

A: When I first started the project in SF I truly had no idea where to hide these books. I just knew I wanted to hide them in random places. Honestly, this made the project even more difficult. Each time I went out to hide a book I would walk for blocks, sometimes miles unsuccessful. Unsure of what I was looking for, aside from an interesting crack or crevice that was slightly out of view. This made for some really obscure hiding places and even more general clues.

SF Book #2, “There’s a tunnel in the city, a gateway from the new and modern to the old. A gateway to another world that moves both people and vehicles. The book is hidden near the entrance. Look closely. What you find may be deceiving. Post your find here.”

With this problem at hand I would find myself wanting to get rid of the book as quick as I could, stashing them in the first place I could find. I had to fight this. I did not want to succumb to this laziness. After that experience which wasn’t bad, I thought about how I could approach hiding books in a dense city in which I was completely unfamiliar.


The second series in NYC I was particularly challenged because I knew nothing of the city’s urban landscape. I had to come up with a game plan if I was to successfully hide 20 books in NYC over 5 days. Giving it thought I knew that NYC was swelling with photographic history. I chose to hide books in, around or near locations that were historically relevant to street and documentary photography allowed me to add a whole new level to the experience for the audience. Whether you were actively searching for the books or just following the project’s progress you were about to be taken on a journey through photographic history, and hopefully learn about a photographer or event you knew nothing about. And that’s exactly what happened in NYC.

For example, Book #15, “Photographer Helen Levitt spent nearly 70 years shooting street photography in NYC. She had an eye for capturing private, tender moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. According to her Wikipedia page, she has been called the most celebrated and least known street photographer of her time.

Book #15 is hidden in the lower east side. Near the corner of Stanton and orchard are two faded blue boxes. One hides your disguised book. Have a seat and look carefully.

Please log your find here.”

“She pushed her cart up the hill like a modern day Sisyphus.” Chinatown, NY

B: How can we help you in your project?  (insert kickstarter or any other fashion you think folks can help out)

A: Thank you for asking. Throughout the life of both SF and the NYC campaigns I received many requests to hide books in other states across the US and in other countries. I couldn’t believe the interest that was generated from this project. I began to toy with the idea of approaching a much larger project, hiding books across the country. As you can imagine this would be a major undertaking. I quickly began to write out details and create a game plan. I won’t get into the process in full detail here. But lets just say I knew I wanted to up the ante here and make this special. I wanted these books to be hardbound. I approached a few different book-publishing companies. Of those, the folks at saw the unique value of this project and jumped onboard immediately to help produce the books that would be hidden upon the successful funding of this project. I also wanted to make sure that all of the donor rewards were also physical, printed limited edition items. The folks at,,, and all got on board to help produce some cool rewards featuring my images.

So please if you really admire the idea, wish you had thought of it first, want a aeries of books hidden in your town, or just like my photography please donate to the cause at: Kickstarter, if you can’t donate at least $1 or $5 please share the link with your friends and family I would really appreciate it.

Artists for Trayvon: Seattle’s Hip Hop Community Stands Against Racism

BP’s Introduction 

Hey everyone.  I am honored to not only get this out there but to be honest introduce ya’ll to a homie here in the Pacific Northwest who is an amazing and dope artist.  I’ve actually met him through my nephew who is part of the Class Project.  You may have heard of them.  They were the crew that Juxt challenged to shoot the “Darkroom Series” Gallery with just mobile devices.

Tony Sosa aka @taylorswiftgang on Instagram and EyeEm, has some great imagery on his feed.  I featured him on my Sunday Shoutouts quite awhile back.  This interview was going to happen either way, but he also won runner-up to the Canvas Pop/ FX PhotoStudio/ Juxt “Where I’m From” Contest recently.  I posed to him if instead of just an interview about him but if we could also highlight the project that he was currently working on.

I believe he was fairly new to Hipstamatic but he wanted to utilize the app to work on a project for Trayvon Martin and his family.  He had already decided to get his community, the Seattle Hip Hop community, involved in this project.  Portraits of artists who stand united against racism and in support for Trayvon Martin and his family.

Sosa, you know I got mad respect for you and the crew and am honored to have you and them on the Juxt site.  Let’s GO!

Artists for Trayvon Statements

“I felt compelled to be a part of the project because I’ve been similarly profiled & attacked. Being part of the project means adding a voice to the collective asking to be heard” – DJ DV One (Rock Steady Crew)

“I wanted to be a part of this project because I am no different from this young man. I am black. I wear hoodies on a regular basis and live in a predominantly white city. Should I be feared? To me this project was about making it clear that no matter what background you come from, we can all identify with this man.” – Kellen H. (The Good Sin)

“I’m involved with Anthony’s project as a friend, and because I believe in the work, which is simple, potent, and as relevant to Seattle youth as it is to anyone that’s walked outside and felt unwarranted judgment from others” – Roger H. (10.4 Rog)

BP: BP T:  Tony Sosa

BP: What made you want to do this project?

T:  I think it was combination of different events throughout my community that sparked my ambition for this project. I live in South Seattle, which is known to have its fair share of neighborhood crimes, and in the recent past, amongst young children & teens. This incident with Trayvon Martin was the tipping point for me, regardless of where it happened.

BP: What is the message you are portraying in the project?

T:  There is a bit more to the “I am Trayvon Martin” aspect in this particular piece. I display all the photos in Black & White with the hopes of giving the viewer that feeling of being colorblind. The artists involved are clearly people of different backgrounds, but displayed in black & white, it’s hard for the viewer to differentiate the race. There in lies the ultimate message, we’re all the same, regardless of color.

BP: How has the Trayvon incident affected you personally?

T:  I’m the proud uncle of a 2 & 13 year old girl that currently live with me. To think that they could be a random act of violence scares me. Hate doesn’t recognize innocence, so if this incident hasn’t hit my family or I directly, we still sympathize because we know what it’s like to raise children. I also know the feeling of losing someone at a very young age because of a violent act.

BP: As a mobile photographer and a cinematographer, what is the vision of this project and what are your hopes for the project and future projects such as the Artists for Trayvon project?

T:  As far as this project goes, I’m taking it one step at a time. Right now it’s just a display piece for Instagram. Aside from only displaying on IG, I was intending on printing the pictures onto canvas pieces using some prize money I won from another photo contest. Once that happens, if I can find a venue in the Seattle area, willing to let me display the photos for public viewing, that’s another great step! As far as future projects go, I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I tend to work in the moment, and right now, I’m focusing on completing this piece, in hopes to keep the awareness going. Whatever the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case, we’ll need to remain active and ensure that our youth stay safe.

BP: Tell us about yourself, loves likes, dislikes, inspirations, artist background.

T:  Since I LOVE talking about myself so much, I guess I can tell you a bit about moi. I tend to try my hand at many crafts, but I’m pretty sure I have A.D.D. so I also tend to stop pursuing them pretty quickly for new hobbies. DJing has always been an art I’ve admired. I was probably about 9 or 10 the first time I witnessed DJ DV One. He was doing an in store set at my friend Valentines Barber Shop back in 95-96, and I was blown away. I knew one day I would be doing that! My friend had a setup in middle school that we’d used to play around on, mix records & try to scratch by taking notes from Q-Bert videos. I started taking the craft more to heart when I was about 19, luckily with a good mentor & amazing DJ, BlesOne, showing me some tips and tricks. He had me spin some low key b-boy battles when I first started, after that it was just practicing as much as I could with my crew. I feel like there will always be room for improvement with my DJing. Plus, I love it too much to drop it like another hobby.

Same idea goes for our photography/cinematography. There are no limitations when it comes to these arts. There is always a concept or an envelope waiting to be pushed, so my crew (Class Project) and I are always taking positive steps to help accomplish whatever is presented for us. We have a Vimeo website that showcases small pieces of work we’ve done. That URL is for those who are interested in viewing. My friends & business partners of Class Project, Joseph & Roger, are currently working on a piece commissioned by Wing Luke Museum in Seattle that will run till the end of May, I believe. As far as work I’ve done, my most prized piece was for Make A Wish Foundation, which can also be found on our Vimeo page. I have a few other projects that are currently under wraps at the moment, one of which is a clothing line my girlfriend and I are working on, but you won’t get much more info than that ;). Keep an eye out on my IG feed for info pertaining to that particular project. Hopefully we’ll have it up and running by the beginning of June.

If I can, I’d like to thank all of those who made themselves available for my project, and to those who I still have left to capture. Special thanks to my crew, Class Project, and my girlfriend Reina. Also, thanks to everyone on IG showing support, you guys are truly an awesome community. Plus, my mom was happy I was doing this, so special I love you to Mom & Dad!

Juxt thanks Sosa and all the artists for their contribution and dedication.

Contact Info:

Sosa: / Twitter: meestersosa

Roger (10.4 Rog): /

Kellen (The Good Sin): /

Mike G. (Clockwork):

DJ Supreme La Rock / /

Isabella Du Graf (Jazz & R&B Songstress):

Malice & Mario Sweet (R&B Singers): /


Damien Giard: Amazing French Mobile Photographer


Little Red already looked nice on the street. I like when pictures tell stories or ask questions. What kind of urban wolf may threaten this modern Little Red?

Canvas Pop, FX PhotoStudios, and We Are Juxt held a joint contest entitled “Where I’m From”.  The submissions were all beautiful and this is an opportunity to share with you all the works from the winner of the contest, Damien Giard.  Trust us when we tell you, the work from Damien is beautiful, amazing, and inspirational.

BP:  BP =) D:  Damien Giard

BP:  Please tell us about yourself.  Where are you from?  What do you do?  Describe to us who the person behind the images is.

D:  I’m a french guy who travel a lot 😉 I’m a little workaholic because I always get passionate with everything I do, including my job. I’m a producer at a publishing company. We focus on educational and interactive programs for kids such as

BP:  Please describe to us more in detail about where you live.  What is the culture? What are the demographics? What are the geographics?

D:  Part time in Paris, part time in Toulouse, more and more in Montreal, where I’ll be permanently settled in June.

Toulouse. The “pink city” of the south west of France. The ancient brick walls are actually pink and red, orange, terracotta… It is an awesome area with its Garonne river, the Pyrenees mountains and beautiful landscapes.

Paris. Wherever you look there is history, culture, past time glory… Beyond the perfect settings I like grabbing pictures of everyday people in the city of arts and love.

Montreal. A friendly and multicultural city. I like the mix of american and european influence, the architecture, the graffiti artists… Definitely a great place for street photography.

I’m a commuter. Plane, taxi, train and plane again… I spend a lot of time in airports, waiting peacefully, watching the planes take off. The unreal atmosphere of these transit zones. A piano playing smoothly in the background. As we switch from waiting lounge to boarding zone and into the airplane, the music keeps playing the same elevator tunes, endlessly.

BP:  Tell us more about your mobile photography and mobile artistry.  How did you get started in the world of mobile photography? What are the main subjects of your work?  What catches your eye?

D:  My experience of iphoneography started with the iPhone 4. My photos are a visual flow of everyday urban life. People and spaces and transportations. I enjoy my trips to capture unusual moments, snapshots of life, play with pictures, tell stories …

Music is also very important. Like images, music create powerful emotional memories for the moments in life. I wish I was able to create visual music! Meanwhile, music inspires many of my photos (#lifetomusic) like this one (“The blue bus is callin’ us” from The End – The Doors) 

BP:  What apps do you use and why?

D:  Most of the times I use 3 apps: snapseed, noir and camera+

I generally use filters to deliver my mood and express my feeling of the moment. Digital filters are like developing baths and camera lenses in traditional photography, it helps to enhance the rough natural image to recreate a full atmosphere.

The lost gravel beach at the end of the world (actually Dungeness, UK). A lunar place with haunted fishermen houses. There was this girl playing hopscotch on an abandoned railway…

BP:  Have you printed out your work?  Were you happy with the outcome?

D:  I have printed a small book and I was quite happy with the result.

I would like to print large images, but I will have to wait for the evolution of the IG in HD 😉

First print exhibition in Paris (April) and another in Toulouse (May)

Soho Gallery for digital art  in NY : iPhoneography FX Photo Studio exhibit (dec.2011)

Some of my images have been used for an advocate cabinet (

BP:  Who are your influences in your work and who are your favorite mobile photographers/ artists and why?

My influences come from many sides: pop culture, music and movies covers, tv series, artists…  I like candid and streetphotography, but I don’t follow guidelines, only my feeling of the moment.

There are many talented iPhotographers. After a heartbreaking selection, here is my short list:

@osqui @clok_moitie @eros_sana @brooklyntheory @magneticart @seb_gordon @vutheara @knitterbird @ekalex @janske

special mention goes to @cachafaz work with the homeless

There were flocks of starling birds flowing from tree to tree. I was completely against the light, hence the rendering, like a shadow theatre. This one has been selected by the FXStudio for the iphoneography exhibit at the Soho Gallery for digital art  in NY 🙂

BP:  Describe for us your experiences thus far in the world of mobile photography.  How long have you been on IG?  What have you learned and what would you like to pass down to new folks just joining in?

D:  I’ve been on IG for one year now. I wasn’t really a photographer before.

I used to practice photography when i was a kid, with an old Pentax of the 70s. The iPhone gave me the occasion to get back to my former hobby.

At the beginning it was only a basic lifestream: food, pets, home… All boring stuff! We need to get to the next level. Now I want my photos to convey an atmosphere, express emotional states, and most of all tell stories.

I had the chance to be a speaker at the iPhoneography conference during the Social Media Week in february ( with @vutheara and @iphotographe and we talked about the revolution of iPhotography. I will share my slides in the next days 😉

BP:  What is your favorite quote and how does it sum you up as a person/artist in a nutshell?

“Almost every new technology is an amplification of our body, Computers, the internet, social networks expand everything. The most important thing they expand is our imaginations and our brains.” Will Wright (creator of the Sims)

D:  This quote fits perfectly the mobile photography movement. The swiss-knife-phone is a handy

camera that comes as an extension of your eye and helps to capture sights, moods, moments…

“The photographer must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who sees the world for the first time or the traveler who enters a strange country” Bill Brandt

This quote totally reflects my vision of photography: think as a child so that life still surprises us every day.

Fall tree eye crying the last leaves.
I look for poetry in pictures. Sometimes poetry comes out from the most unexpected places. Coincidentally the French poet Stephane Bataillon created 24 “Instapoems”, like haikus based on my photos

BP:  Any last thoughts you would like to share?

D:  I just would like to thanks you again for choosing me and giving me the opportunity to explain more my works, loves and feelings 🙂

And thank you for the brilliant work with WeAreJuxt 😉

Juxt thanks you for your art and your words.

Contact Damien Giard

IG:  MrFreakZ

Meredith Winn: Shutter Sister, Freelance Photographer, and Writer (Winner of the Best of Winter 2012 Contest)

Recently We Are Juxt teamed up withPostalPix for the Best of Winter Contest. Meredith Winn submitted a beautiful image, one that garnished the community’s approval for the win.  We Are Juxt and PostalPix presents to you, Meredith Winn.

BP:  BP =) MW:  Meredith Winn

BP:  Please tell us about yourself.  Where are you from?  What do you do?  Describe to us who the person behind the images is.

MW:  Hi, I’m Meredith Winn. I’m a freelance photographer and writer. I am a Shutter Sister, a contributing photography to Getty Images, a contributor to Taproot Magazine, and co-founder of Now You Workshops. I weave stories from truth and optical illusions from images. I’m from anywhere on any given day. I grew up on the East coast with salt water in my veins but most of my adult life was spent out West. I relocated to New England last year. My words and images are the result of a life that dances between childhood and motherhood, always on the cusp of transition. I’m drawn to the story of an image and how something so personal can, at the same time, feel so universally human.

I live here now, after years of pining, after years of knowing that my world was larger than what Austin, Texas could provide. After years of working towards a goal a career a passion, after years of watching relationships grow and bloom behind art and photography… after knowing my place, the place that called to me from a deep sleep. I live here now and I doubt it will ever cease to blow my mind. This was taken in the early evening with a wicked good sky full of moody pre-sunset clouds. Because of the low tide, I was able to walk out and shoot this pier straight on, really embracing that negative space. I feel that gathering up sky into frame really helps tell the story of the image. I boosted the color a bit in camera+ to really let the buildings pop and then added some tilt shift to soften out the clouds.

BP:  Please describe to us more in detail about where you live.  What is the culture? What are the demographics? What are the geographics?

MW:  After living in Austin, Texas for nearly a decade, I followed my heart back to my family’s roots. I call the western Maine foothills home, where I live off-grid in a yurt with my sweetheart and a trio of boys. The earth is moist and soft here, it’s alive with love and family and laughter and barefoot children (treeforts, fairyland… sunny days, dewy mornings… big red barns and the happy souls that live in them.)

This is home to me. Rural country roads tucked into the woods at the edge of snowy mountains. Far enough for peace and solitude to invoke creativity, yet still close enough to smell the salt air of Maine’s rocky coastline.

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird and when we find someone who’s weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

Life intersects and intertwines, and with it family’s grow. People’s presence gains importance until you look around one day and wonder if there was ever a time when you did not wake to see their face each morning. I love headcovers for the way they can make a normal situation feel surreal and strangely out of place. This is my sweetheart’s (sketched) self portrait used as a headcover. I asked him to jump up on that chair to get closer to the windows, the light in his studio required minimal processing to help set the mood of this shot. It was processed through Instagram’s filters.

BP:  Tell us more about your mobile photography and mobile artistry.  How did you get started in the world of mobile photography? What are the main subjects of your work?  What catches your eye?

MW:  I’m fairly new to mobile photography. Although I cheered from the sidelines as I watched my peers pioneer the industry (Stephanie Roberts, a fellow Shutter Sister, wrote The Art of iPhoneography) I was a late bloomer. I didn’t get my first iphone until March 2011. I was drawn to the simplicity of it all: the convenience and humble attributes that come from creating art with a phone in a non-intrusive way. In my freelance work, I am drawn to nature and portraits. I find images more interesting if there are people to aid in the storytelling. Everyday moments are what I seek with my iphone: the walk to the bus stop, the body language of children, the reflections in puddles, the texture that comes from our environment.

BP:  What apps do you use and why?

MW:  Well, I started out with an iphone 3G and mainly used camera+ as my go-to processing app. Since upgrading to an iphone 4, I shoot in my native camera and send most everything to camera+ before anything else (old habits die hard!) I also use Iris Photo Suite, tilt shift generator, and cross process. I’ve recently begun dabbling with Snapseed and I really like what I see with that app.

I’m not always certain what I’m seeking, sometimes I just go looking for something to help me feel connected. A visual image that helps me tie these threads of past and present and future. It makes me giddy to be at the sea, especially the empty coast of winter in Maine. The novelty of snow on sand conjures up good memories from childhood and good dreams of the future I see before us. It didn’t take much to process this naturally monochromatic image. I tweaked the exposure a bit by using the “night” filter in camera+ then running it through a hint of cross processing to bring out the contrast of beachcombers. A bit of tilt shift softened out the edges where sand and sky and snow and sea all blur into one.

BP:  Have you printed out your work?  Were you happy with the outcome?

MW:  I am a big fan of printed images. As a child, heaven for me was digging through the photograph drawer in my mother’s office. I want to leave these treasures for my family as well, so I’ve always found it important to print photographs. With digital photography, one has to be more mindful of follow through and actually printing images so they don’t get lost forever on hard drives. When I began collecting iphone images, Postal Pix was a fairly new company and I was thrilled at their accessibility. I’ve been with them ever since! I love their work and their customer service is fantastic. It’s been fun to watch them grow and bloom as a company.

BP:  Who are your influences in your work and who are your favorite mobile photographers/ artists and why?

MW:  My photographic influences are many: Harry Callahan is a major inspiration for his minimalist portraits and landscapes. I have an appreciation and a desire for Lothar Wolleh’s symmetry in composition. His power is in placement (self and environment) and his resulting portraits truly reveal a person’s inner essence. I am always on the search for new artists as well. I am intrigued by Julie Blackmon and her depiction of struggle for self in a child-centered society. This is perhaps why I have a large collection self-portraits in my portfolio of motherhood. My list of favorite mobile photographers is always growing: I find joy in the simplicity and creativity of Paul Octavious (@pauloctavious) His ingenuity of new projects is compelling. Stephanie Roberts (@littlepurplecow) has a way with documenting real life that really draws me into the scene and keeps me there. Stephen Pullan (@artfarmer) is brilliant in his composition and how he creates abstract art from his every day environment. Erica Bartel (@ericabartel) is pure magic with light and dreaminess. Andrea Corrona Jenkins (@hulaseventy) makes my heart flutter with all things vintage and color.

This was my first adult winter in New England. I found myself approaching it with a giddiness and certain childlike innocence that bordered on naive. What I had forgotten from the winters of my youth was how the winter world is able to create a sense of freedom from all that vast whiteness. I love nothing more than to feel humbled my nature, to put people into scenes to help set perspective. This shot is the epitome of what I crave from nature. This was just a simple moment on a sledding hill. But for me, the moment became something more than just an aesthetically pleasing composition, it became the storyline for their adventure: these boys, this life, this great big beautiful (sometimes scary) world. Processed in camera+ with a hint of HDR to bring out the clarity of the clouds then run through Instagram’s filters for cool blues.

BP:  Describe for us your experiences thus far in the world of mobile photography.  How long have you been on IG?  What have you learned and what would you like to pass down to new folks just joining in?

MW:  After getting my iphone in March 2011, the first app I got was Instagram. It felt like such a small community to me (a welcome change to the online existence I have elsewhere for my work.) I kept my circles very small at first, wanting to use IG as a cozy friendly place for conversation and shared images with friends. I’m never about numbers, and I’m not searching for comments or followers or tips on how to make it to the popular page. I mostly just do my own thing and share my art with friends, so I’m not sure I have much advice for new folks just joining in. I know that if you want to broaden your circle, hashtags is the way to do it. See who inspires your favorite photographers. Following people who inspire you is the best tip I could give. There’s nothing more satisfying than a full feed of photographic inspiration to get your creative juices flowing!

BP:  What is your favorite quote and how does it sum you up as a person/artist in a nutshell?

MW:  “Almost every new technology is an amplification of our body, Computers, the internet, social networks expand everything. The most important thing they expand is our imaginations and our brains.” Will Wright (creator of the Sims)

“To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.” – Harry Callahan

I learn by doing. Photography itself is the life project. It catches the space between.

(silhouettes) Home is a place we leave and come back to again and again. Home is a place of creation; where we come to be ourselves, where we come to find ourselves. Home is home no matter where you live. This photo embraces togetherness as we see it happen in a simple afternoon walk. As they approached this rock wall, I got down on the grass to shoot up at them and create this moment in silhouette. I shot it in camera+ which gave me maximum control over exposure. A hint of cross process gave the sky that rich turquoise that I crave in my everyday reality.

BP:  Any last thoughts you would like to share?

MW:  Shoot something new everyday. Thanks for the interview!

Juxt thanks you for your art and your work!

Contact Meredith

Website and Blog:

Instagram and Twitter: @camerashymomma



Michael Bartos: Berlin As Seen Through the Eyes of King Fisher by BP

B:  BP  M: Michael

B:  Tell us who is Michael Bartos and @King_Fisher?

M: My name is Michael Bartos and living in Berlin, in my eyes the most thrilling, inspiring, charming, fast changing and sometimes annoying city in Germany. What I like most here are the regional distinctions of the city districts. “Charlottenburg” is much different to “Prenzlauer Berg” and “Grunewald” is not comparable to “Mitte” – in almost all means: architecture, people, even restaurants. But they all have some things in common: the city is green. There are trees and parks all over. If you arrive by plane and your destination airport is TXL (hurry up, it will be closed in summer this year), you’ll see its beauty.

Edit process: I don’t remember.

This is nothing special, I took it in the stairway of my house, so I see it every day. 🙂
But somehow I like it.

In real life I am a web-developer and -consultant. I create or extend e-commerce systems like online shops and a couple of other projects, for example InstaChallenge, but this could be a different topic. 🙂

I was not that much into photography before I entered Instagram in November 2010. I just had a small digital camera and until now I don’t own a DSLR. I’m fascinated by lo-fi photography. It is the moment, that counts, the perspective, the angle, the idea or the situation, the colors – if any, sometimes the editing, but not (generally) the sharpness, the megapixels or the clarity. And I like everything that’s new to me – especially old things, abandoned places, dark scenes, spectacular locations and I love to explore and to experiment. I love reduction, but I’m not very good in it.

B:  Sounds like the city is truly beautiful.  Can you go into further detail of the different districts.  Their characters, the fasion, the people who live in those neighborhoods.

M: Let me try to describe the districts I lived in. I spent my childhood in the southern part of Berlin/Tempelhof, a very down-to-earthy area called “Marienfelde”. Each time I get back there I’m suprised how different it is compared to the district I live now. It appears as if everything is much slower, everyone is at least ten years older, roads are cleaner and the air is fresher than in “Prenzlauer Berg”. After this I used to live even more south. This subdistrict of “Neukölln” is called “Rudow” and even slower than “Marienfelde”. It was more a suburb, of course not a real suburb, because we had the Wall at this time and I lived only a couple of meters from it. After this real quiet time I moved to “Kreuzberg” to get in touch with civilazation again. After overcoming the cultural shock I enjoyed the streetlife of this district, all the bars and restaurants (they only had italian and chinese cuisine in Rudow). Kreuzberg is multi-cultural, young and open-minded (“Rudow” is exactly the opposite). I love to shoot in Kreuzberg. It has lots of interesting places. After a couple of years I moved to “Charlottenburg” which is a very bohemian district, well known for its theatres, the Kurfürstendamm, the Zoo, the Charlottenburg Palace with its park (great photo spot) and the Europa-Center. I lived close to the Savignyplatz which was and partly still is a great place for bar hopping and street cafes. Charlottenburg is also kind of a business district with lots of hotels and shops. It was the city center before the reunification and now plays only in the second line after “Mitte”. In some way you can see this when watching carefully. After Charlottenburg I moved to my current destination. It felt it is time to checkout a district that belonged to former East-Berlin: “Prenzlauer Berg”. There are still some differences to the western part: street lamps have yellow light here and there are trams on the street, to name only two. Prenzlauer Berg has a very young population, but it is also threatened by gentrification. I live near Schönhauser Allee which is a very busy street with a subway line as an elevated train. You’ll find many pictures of the street in my stream. (I would also suggest my friend @jn who lives in the neigborhood and posts a photo around the subway station “Eberswalder Straße” almost every day.) I guess, I’ll stay here for some more years… 🙂

Taken in June 2011, Hipstamatic Lens: John-S, Film: Claunch 72,
applied “Hefe” filter when posting to Instagram

Oranienstraße is the heart of Kreuzberg/SO36. The flair of this region is very distinctive. There is so much life and creativity in this street. And it is an area of massive cultural interchange. Very inspiring!

B:  The beauty of your work lies in the character of the shot/s.  What is it that catches your eye specifically before you shoot something?  Do you have a specific area/ district that you get totally lost in? 

M: A special area? No. As I told you, I’m mostly attracted by everthing new, but of course there are areas where I can find new views every time. One is the “Mauerpark” with its flea market, the “Gleimtunnel” and the area around. I take everyone there who is new to Berlin! When looking for architectural motifs the “Postdamer Platz” is one of my favorites.

Lots of editing, but I don’t remember them exactly. I think it was taken with “Camera+”, then applied its “Clarity” filter, some alignment and corrections with “Filterstorm”, esp. color reduction.

Did I mention my weakness for bridges? The “Bösebrücke” is one reason for that. There is only one railway track for both directions of the Tram and the lanes are quite narrow for two cars on both ways. But most exciting is the history of this bridge: On November 9th, 1989 it was the first checkpoint that opened the way from East to West Berlin when the wall fell. Always a great spot for photoshootings!

B:  Who are you’re influences in art?  in mobile photography?

M: I really never thought about that. I visited lots of exhibitions and I was mostly impressed by Helmut Newton, but hey, he was an absolute professional. It would be inappropriate to talk of influences.

And there is another problem: I always forget names. There are many artists I admire, but I forgot their names… 🙁

Taken in September 2011, Hipstamatic Lens: John-S, Film: Ina’s 1969,
no further editing

This was taken in Berlin-Kreuzberg, near the former airport Tempelhof. Because I like traveling and urban scenes I have a strong relation to this snapshot. By the way, i took this on a photowalk with @thomas_k, @goldie77 and @chantree last summer.

B:  Where in the world would you like to shoot based on the mobile photos that you’ve seen on the various platforms? and why?

M: That’s easy! I love beaches – preferred in equatorial locations. One reason for this is the light. The sun climbs to the azimuth, the weather is much better and life seems to be happier. 🙂

I have been to the caribbean (Jamaica, Yucatan, Key West) and to asia (Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and others) – but I was not into photography at these times. So I should revisit some of these places. Same applies to many cities and regions in the US. I visited a lot of cities in the United States, but without a camera – or without concern. (Just discovered this passion when traveling to Vienna last year and to Norway this year.)

B:  Tell the readers a bit more about InstaChallenge.  What is the concept behind it?  What is your mission and what is the vision here on out for InstaChallenge?

M: As I said, this could be a different story. In short: Last year I wanted to start a challenge, because I have seen this from others. The idea was to produce a photobook from the results. Among the problems that had to be solved was a) how do I manage a jury of 4 or 5 people, b) how do I keep track of submissions and each judges votes, c) how do I present the results and d) how do I get all the images? And because I am a web developer I created I website for this.

Please have a look at, if you like! Currently there is a #ic_songpic challenge hosted by @instantvuka running until March, 11th. It is about visualization of songs and you can win prizes! 🙂 — Maybe you’ll host a challenge for JUXT?

Taken in June 2011, Hipstamatic Lens: John-S, Film: Claunch 72,
no further editing

I love bridges, intense contrast and lines. The trainstation “Gesundbrunnen” has lots of them.

B:  I just recently found out how much I like to shoot abandoned places.  I even want to go find Bigfoot for goodness sake. Tell us more about why you like old things. Can you tell us a story of when you shot an abandoned place and did you find out about the history of the place?

M: Abandoned places have always been fascinating to me. From ghost towns in the wild west to Tschernobyl. In Berlin we have lots of places with an interesting history. The olympic village from 1936, many bunkers from WW2, industrial areas, hospitals, listening stations (like Teufelsberg – and many more. Even the former city airport Tempelhof can be seen as an abandoned place now – and it has lots of interesting spots.

It is like a journey through time.

B:  I love you’re quote, “It is the moment that counts, the perspective, the angle, the idea or the situration.”  Tell us more about your fascination with lo-fi photography.  What is it about “big” cameras that may take this away? 

M: In some way there is a connection between my love for abandoned places and lo-fi photography. By the time of those places, photography was not that much developed and the look of historical pictures sometimes are quite similar to modern grunge edits; I guess that’s why they created those apps. 🙂

But I would like to repeat that: Especially Mobile Photography is about the moment. And this moment might be gone if you have to select the object lens and install your tripot first. In addition to this I’m sometimes distracted by details of high resolution images. This won’t happen with lo-fi  photos. The Instagram resolution of 612×612 is perfect to focus on the overall picture.

Taken in June 2011, Hipstamatic Lens: John-S, Film: Claunch 72,
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On the way from “S-Bahn” to “U-Bahn” in Berlin-Wedding. There are some elements that represent the multi-cultural way of life in this district.

B:  What do you see is the future for mobile photography?

M: In general I think technology will develop further – as seen in the past. Small cameras with better and better lenses, faster processing and more intelligent options will influence the way people use photography in their daily life. Sharing platforms and community functions will continue to get integrated in more and more sophisticated services. And small mobile devices will play a growing role in this game.

B:  What do you see is the future for you in mobile photography?

M: Not easy to see. I’ll keep experimenting. Maybe, some day, I’ll find “my” style. Hopefully.

Juxt thanks you for your work and your art.

To contact Michael:

IG: @king_fisher

Twitter: @King_Fisher


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