What I love most about this crazy, creative community we are a part of is when connections are formed and out of those connects creativity is brought to a new level that would not have been reached otherwise. Being an artist in a community that is constantly sharing, changing and growing is astounding and stretches me constantly. Everyday we are bombarded with images, thoughts and ideas that test our limits as artists and move us further into our journey. I love hearing stories of projects and collaborations that never would have happened without technology. Dilshad and Matt created a connection and through that connection challenged one another to flex their creative muscles while shooting for 18 hours straight. Dilshad was armed with his iPhone and Matt with his DSLR as they took to the streets from 3 pm to 9 am the next day. They were not shooting to out do one another but shooting to compare the strengths and weaknesses of each tool. Although both photographers will tell you their best laid plans went awry, you will see from the beautiful shots they captured that the project was a success.- Anna
My name is Dilshad Corleone (italianbrother, pretty much everywhere on the social medias). I consider myself to be a smart-phone photographer, or better, an iPhoneographer. I shoot only with my iPhone, and I have had exhibition all over the world, from the UK to the US, including a lot of countries in the middle and around these two… I have also been published in various magazines, such as Shooter Mag., The Drum, and Carephone Wharehouses’ The Guide to name but a few; and of course on some fantastic E-Magz too, such as Mobiography, Snap from The Haus of Hipstamatic, and Mob Fiction! The Highlight of last year, for me, definitely was the video of me walking the streets of Barcelona while I photographed the day-to-day life of its dwellers. Photography and mobile photography has absolutely changed my life (and I am not trying to be cheesy here). This year has started pretty nicely too: hanging out with Matt it’s a lot of fun, he is an incredible photographer and a great friend too. The video we did was really revitalising! I loved every minute of it and it was a great exercise and experiment. My name is Matt Davey; 23, self-employed and loving it, I am a music photographer. My work is based around shooting local bands of Essex, England. I’ve got bit of a name for myself locally over my past (and first) year of business (Jackal Media), especially after shooting for Electronic Daisy Carnival back in 2013. I started photography when I was 14, I worked in a small Kodak Express shop developing films and doing small touchup jobs with Photoshop, which I then got my first point and shoot; a year later I got my first SLR – a Canon 450D, and then things got real for the young Matt Davey. Things got professional for me when I helped re-open my local youth club last year, which is a music venue every Friday supporting the discovery of local talent. Since then, I have been a professional music photographer. Then I decided to hang out with Dilshad Corleone a lot more…
It has been two years since my last trip to New York City.
I went to see the “Art Meet Technology” exhibit which featured one of my photos. I was super stoked to say the least. I reached out to friends, former colleagues and high school friends to join me in the event; it was great to see those who showed up.
Seeing everyone got me talking about life as a photographer. I think that this was the first time I actually called myself a photographer. Let me explain…
As I’ve been documenting my life through images I just categorized myself as someone who enjoys taking photos, casually. I never really saw myself as a photographer since I feel I still have so much to learn and there are things that I’d still like to try and do to push my limits; I suppose that goes with anything in life. But what I do know is that something changed for me that night. Seeing my image up on a wall, in the city where I grew up, made things different and official, unlike any other time. It was a combination of people asking me about this whole mobile photography business and what it is that I do, all of them intrigued by how this came about using a mobile phone.
They asked questions which made me think about my role and why I love the scene so much. I’d like to think of myself as a magnet, bringing everyone together under one roof. This is what makes me happy and keeps me going. Meeting people face to face that I’ve “met” online or randomly in person – whether at a coffee shop or event – add to the power of connection.
I was in NYC for one week and did my best to get out and about despite the freezing cold. I felt like such a tourist, in one of the most amazing places on earth – my home away from home.
I felt like a kid in a candy shop, trying to figure out which treat to try first as I planned my week. I was on the subway more times than I could count and probably more times than I ever did in a year when I lived there.
The first thing I wanted to do was take a walk down 5th Avenue. I wanted to be in the midst of all the fashion and glamour and submerge myself with all the visitors while getting lost in the sea of tourists. I noticed many of the same stores and of course, some high tech billboards which were new. But what caught my attention was the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Looking at it made me think of La Sagrada Familia, all caged up under construction. I wondered what was going on so I went inside.
There she was as beautiful as ever even with the metal frames.
People were walking in for the evening mass, taking a seat on the pew, while others prayed and left. It felt so calming and rejuvenating to be in there. It gave me a sense of belonging.
At night I’d stare at the skyscrapers, with their flashing lights as they illuminated the sky. It got me excited and the thrill ran through my veins. I felt like I was twenty again.
And then I was reminded of home…
and started to miss my husband and son dearly. It was the first time I had left them for this long since SuperMax was born and it felt strange. Being in the big city without them made me feel empty even though I was so happy to be home again. This feeling was so new to me so I coped as best as I could and continued to have fun and enjoy the moment.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was so nice to spend a few hours there and really take notice of the people and exhibits around me. I wanted to capture the beauty of the architecture and art, all of which makes the Met so special and grand.
So I stood there for a while as time went by.
As I mentioned it was super cold the week I was there. Snow was still on the ground and the wind chill made it almost unbearable to stay outside. As the sun started to set, people swiftly made their way home and the streets became empty again.
A rare happening in New York City.
On my list left to do before heading back to Seattle was to go see the 9/11 Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge so I did just that.
It was the first time I walked around ground zero since the attack. I could never face it nor come to grip with how I felt about the Freedom Tower project.
Stepping on sacred ground, where so many people lost their lives made me feel a bit uneasy, as if it were wrong of me to be there. As I looked at all the people gathered around the memorial sites, a darkness came over me, and seeing the names of those lost was heavy on my soul.
Having gone through such an experience and seeing our city rebuild itself makes me try to process it all. I will never recover from such a horrible event but what I do know is that no one can take away the love I have for the place I grew up in.
I continued my quest til the very last minute. The morning of my flight I made it down to the Brooklyn Bridge, recounting my week as I mentally said goodbye to my home away from home. Not knowing when I’d be back again, I wanted to get a good look at my beautiful city.
As I admired the architecture all I could think of was how proud I am to be a native New Yorker.
All the images were taken with a Lumia 1020 as part of the Windows Challenge.
Creating & Looking :: An Experiment with Two Photographers by Rebecca C
I’m interested in the differences between the intention of the artist vs the reception of the image by the viewer; what the artist puts out in to the world and what we, the viewer, receive. To investigate this idea I’ve asked two photographers, Michel and Deena, to choose a work of their own and write a little bit about their purpose in creating the image and/or some background about how the particular image came about. I asked each of them to write about what they saw in their own image and then to exchange images with each other.
Once they received the image from the other, I asked them to write their thoughts about the other artist’s work. I asked them how it made them feel and how they read the image, a gut reaction and not a critique
This is what Michel and Deena shared with me about their own images as well as their initial thoughts about each other’s images.
I would like to thank both Deena and Michel for participating in this experiment.
Deena’s thoughts on her image:
My way of editing is very unconscious most times. I see things and make note of the intention for that image. Working within the squares is what I think of first, and secondly, the image that will overlay those squares. This image was made after spending a weekend with my two siblings. When I started making the piece, I always start with the content of the squares. I make sure the images won’t be too invasive once I’ve added the overlay. My sister has an infectious smile. For this image I knew I wanted to make an image to reflect that while creating a piece that tells another story within each frame. The starkness of snow scene with its minor details of trees and power lines worked for this piece as an overlay, adding story elements without detracting from my original intent.
Michel’s thoughts on Deena’s image :
The photograph is musical. I first sense the count, the numbers involved. The four images, three frames, two overlaid pictures and the single composition. The square frames measure a melody of lines. There’s a catalog of linear elements, straights, arcs and scratches, wiggles and woggles. This melody plays across the scene looking for an anchor, an alignment to hold on to. The anchor it plays to are those tones, the larger scaled human form that rests so quietly. Finally, I see two different spaces, the perspectival depths of the lines against the flat human tones and their shared fragile tethers
Michel’s thoughts on his image:
There’s a found horizon line which sets up two spaces in the photograph. One space harbors solid forms and bodies the other is ephemeral and fragile. Between them lies a tension. That tension is described in the fragmented and reflected pieces, an altered third space, a new layer beyond that horizon. This reflected view is what holds the picture still, a glimpse of the unexpected, if even just for a moment.
Deena’s thoughts on Michel’s image:
Black and white and architectural. The element I find myself gravitating toward in Michel’s imagery is not always shape, line, and form but the space between what he sees. This image feels as though there is a dialogue happening between the two buildings. Being pulled upward by the lines and feeling the balance. One building seems almost transparent and yet the viewer can see the reflection in the other building’s façade. The words chosen to accompany the images always provoke my imagination.
You can see more of Michel’s work on G+ // twitter // Flickr // Instagram and Deena’s work here.
An interview with David Ridgway by Bridgette S.
It is with great pleasure to introduce David Ridgway, a local artist who resides here in Washington State.
I was first drawn to his gallery because of his abstract art and then found out he has been painting most of his life. The images you see below are samples of his work created using Decim8.
A collection of his artwork along with other Northwest artists is currently on exhibit at the Karla Matzke Gallery and Sculpture Park, so if you’re in the area be sure to check it out (details below).
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Whereabouts do you live now?
I was born in Seattle and lived in the area until I was 14, at which time my family moved to Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I lived in Maine until the mid 80s when I headed to the Caribbean to work on a friend’s ketch. Met my wife in St. Croix and we headed for Maui with a friend. Ended staying for 5 years and it is where I studied color with Richard Nelson and got my start as a professional artist. We then spent several years in Maine and Maryland near family and friends. A CBS Sunday Morning feature about a local sculptor inspired a move to Orcas Island in the San Juan’s in 98 and we were there for 12 years. Bellingham is now our home.
Has art always been your passion? How did it develop?
I was always interested in drawing and painting as a child. My family had a strong interest in the visual arts and many painter, sculptor and photographer friends. I majored in Art at college but am primarily self taught.
How would you describe your art? How has it evolved?
The oil paintings I have been doing for several years have developed from an attraction to architecture in the landscape and how man relates to place. The work seems to get more simplified at times and then veers back to details. While on Orcas I did quite a bit of on site painting. Lately it has been more studio work.
Describe your workspace. What gets you in the mood to create new artwork?
I work in our converted 2 car garage which we finished during the remodel of our mid-century ranch home in 2010. It has track lights, heat and a small wood shop.
Seeing a new intriguing architectural situation in the landscape has always been an inspiration. Lately, creating something visually compelling on my iPhone or iPad has also been a strong impetus.
What are some of your inspirations? How do you keep the momentum going?
Seeing other work of painting’s I admire is always an inspiration, especially those whose work leaves some of the process visible. Visiting a new location is always stimulating. I recently went to Palm Springs to see the Richard Diebenkorn Berkeley Years exhibit and found the trip rewarding. Having shows scheduled is also a good reason to keep moving forward.
How much has digital art influenced you? Were you open to it from the very start?
I got my first Mac in 97 ( 2GB drive) and started playing with Photoshop and Painter using a graphics pad. I used some of those images as reference for oil paintings early on. While on Orcas, I used my PowerBook and graphics pad for life drawing. Now I use an iPhone 5 and iPad to draw, paint and manipulate photos digitally and am using some as reference for abstract/non-representational paintings.
In the digital era, everything is at one’s fingertips. I wonder if this, in turn, makes you lean toward creating on your mobile device(s)? If not, how do you balance both mediums?
I have found my iPhone and iPad to be convenient tools for capturing a scene or moment, sketching and creating abstract digital imagery. Useful more as sketch pads or preliminary drawing media, as opposed to creating an end product, when I’m using them for reference. My ‘for Instagram only’ pieces may show up somewhere else eventually and I have sold some prints made with PrintStudio and canvas prints through twenty20.com. Having new tools with which to work does create the need to keep things in balance. The ‘always with you’ aspect of the iPhone adds to the immediacy and freshness of imagery. Many of my paintings lately have used iPhone images and digital sketches. Hands on, paint to canvas does remain my first love.
What app(s) do you use most? And why?
A year and a half ago a friend on Instagram, Julie, posted an Android glitched image and I asked her about it. She mentioned Decim8 and I tried it. Since then I have tried many apps and have several I use regularly: Snapseed, Picgrunger, Superimpose, Artrage and lately Photoshop Touch. I occasionally use Hipstamatic and Oggl to capture or post edit. Decim8 remains my favorite editing tool using Sigstop and Graboid effects. It creates a broken collage effect that I find appealing. Combining Decim8 with the weathered grunge effect in Picgrunger adds depth and visual interest.
What do you foresee for the future? Will you continue to transfer digital to painting?
I am intrigued by mobile photography/graphics manipulation apps and particularly what artists, fine art photographers and designers are doing with the medium. I plan to continue interpreting my digital images in oil and mixed media. Some of the digitally referenced work is informing my more representational paintings as well.
Do you feel that art enthusiasts appreciate digital art as much as fine arts? What are your thoughts regarding this topic?
New tools and media are often adopted early by painters and photographers. The advent of smartphones and tablets has created a revolutionary movement in the visual arts. Art enthusiasts are becoming more aware and accepting. The younger generation has already embraced it.
Have you been in any exhibits showcasing your digital art? What response have you gotten?
I had several digitally referenced abstract paintings in a show with two other painters entitled ‘Driven to Abstraction’ at Simon Mace Gallery in Port Townsend, WA in December. The show was well received and it was inspiring talking with people about the new work.
Which painters do you admire?
Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Mitchell, Picasso, Lois Dodd, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Peter Doig and many more.
Which digital artists do you admire?
I was born and have spent most of my life in Western Washington.
I enjoy painting the local landscape on-site or in studio. My work often is about the places where man and the landscape coincide. Architectural and other man-made objects feature prominently. My compositions are more about interlocking colored shapes than a realistic depiction of a specific place.
I occasionally enjoy working in a series based on a favored location. The series often acquires more simplified and/or playful imagery over time.
The path I have taken in making my paintings resembles meandering stepping-stones that often take an unforeseen turn. Conveying my pleasure in the process of painting is a primary intention. Lately I am also interpreting abstract digital imagery created on mobile devices in mixed media and oil. I have been working digitally since 1997.
Website / Instagram / Facebook / twitter /
My work is included in the recently released book ‘100 Artists of the Northwest’ by E. Ashley Rooney and Karla Matzke.
An exhibit with 25 of the included artists is currently at Karla Matzke Gallery and Sculpture Park, Camano Island, WA.
March 1st-April 23rd.
Searching for Carcosa by Joel A
Fifteen years ago, a mid-western young man fell in love with a red-headed Louisiana bayou girl and without a thought left the snow and flat plains behind for the wetlands and pine trees of Louisiana. Culture shock was a given.
Long before “YOLO”, Louisianans have been marching to the beat of their own drummer, declaring “laissez bon temps rouler”. Most of the world may hear Louisiana and relive drunken memories of stumbling around Bourbon Street, but New Orleans is but a small part of what makes Louisiana unique.
Recently, a large number of people’s attentions, including my own, have been captured by HBO’s “True Detective” and though the lead actors, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, sizzle, I believe the Louisiana scenery steals the show.
Though filming in and around New Orleans, the director captured the gritty realism far removed from the French Quarter and it’s what contributes to the believability of the story line. Deep in the marshes of the Louisiana bayou, hidden behind the natural gas plants and oil refineries, you can believe that Carcosa exists.
“He said there’s this place down south, er, all these rich men go to, er, devil worship… He said, er… they sacrifice kids and whatnot, women and children all got, all got, murdered there… and, um, something about some place called Carcosa, and the Yellow King. He said there’s all these like old stones out in the woods, people go to, like, worship… He said, er, he said there’s just so much good killing down there…” –Charlie Lang – “True Detective”
Even I, someone surrounded by the state every day, was drawn into the locations mentioned in the series, I couldn’t wait to grab my Nokia Lumina 1020 and see if I can capture the abandoned, forgotten quality of some of these scenes that make you wonder what could have happened there and why everyone left.
I drove the real locations mentioned in the series, even though the director may have filmed far away, the Creole Nature Trail area which has been ravaged by two major hurricanes in the last ten years. Areas where FEMA trailers still dot the landscape, alligators outnumber people and sometimes three meals a week served on their dinner tables will consist of seafood caught themselves.
I drove Hwy 31, down by Bayou Teche, through Breaux Bridge, past St Martinville, close to Spanish Lake where the show mentioned the Bunny Ranch existed. I walked around Lake Martin, past signs warning me not to feed the alligators.
As I drove through some small towns, past derelict buildings, I remember Matthew McConaughey’s character, Rust’s quote from the show, “This place is like someone’s memory of a town, and the memory is fading.” The Louisiana marsh is disappearing almost as quickly as its population.
Yet the population that remains is determined. Though the show that inspired this photo trip is steeped in violence, murders and drugs, and I know that these things exist here in Louisiana, as well as everywhere, the people that I encountered were the most welcoming I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. From the young boys crabbing on the dock, wanting me to see the big fish they caught, to the Cajun musicians I stopped to listen to at the Savoy Music Center in Eunice or the owner of the meat market that helped me pick out some of the best stuffed sausage I ever tasted, their Louisiana charm was contagious. No Yellow King or stick figures in sight, at least not this trip.
For the love of Punk and Photos… by David Norbut
A fifteen year old boy in an apartment building in Tampa, Florida is jumping around his bedroom singing at the top of his lungs making the needle skip on the turntable. Singing every word to an AVAIL record, dreaming it was him singing it to the crowd. Or perhaps just wishing he was in the crowd, longing for an escape. I have spent many a nights packed into firehalls, basements, theaters, you name it. I lived for going to shows. I lived for buying the records, the t-shirts, the patches of my heroes, my favorite bands. My friends and I would drive for miles to catch Fugazi, Hot Water Music, Avail and so many others… There was nothing like buying a record at your local record store never having heard it, this was before the days of Spotify and iTunes. Memorizing every word then seeing and hearing it live and every person in that room is screaming every word with you. It’s a hard feeling to describe and there are so many nights I will never forget. The best part is, now thanks to Spotify and iTunes with a click of the mouse I can be transported right back to those nights.
As long as I’ve been interested in photography I have always felt compelled to shoot music. The music had and still has such a grip on me, I’m easily drawn to capturing it. Trying to capture the right moment in a song or a band or musician in a real moment. It has long been one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Two great worlds combined. There are a few things that directly come to mind when I think about what it takes to capture music or musicians, especially live. The big one is ANTICIPATION. If you know a song, if you know a breakdown is coming or a chorus where the crowd is really coming alive, you know to be ready to get “the shot.” Another big thing is to try to catch interactions between the musicians and even the interactions between musician and audience. There is a beautiful thing going on during a live show, there is a lot of love there. That’s the emotional side of it. In my opinion if you don’t have some emotion or love for what you are doing it’s just going to fall flat. But emotion or feeling aren’t enough. The tool and the technique also play a big role. In this case I’m writing this article about the Nokia Lumia 1020. I want to share my experiments and experience shooting live music with this device. First off and most importantly it shoots better in low light then any other mobile device I have used. We all know when shooting live music that is a huge advantage because 9 times out of 10 shooting music there is no flash photography allowed. Unless of course we are taking photos at punk rock shows, which I just happened to be shooting for this article. Most folks in underground bands couldn’t care less if you use a flash. So during this particular show, I was shooting two bands that had long time friends of mine in each band. So I decided shoot one band with no flash to put the low light shooting to the test and for the other I would fire the flash for each photo.
I shot everything with a Nokia Lumia 1020 through the Proshot app. I found when the light was strong enough the lowlight shooting went well, you have to play with the exposure a bit, but the Proshot app makes that easy. As for the flash, make sure its allowed in the situation and give it a go. Remember anticipation and emotion.
VERSES NARROW, Nokia Lumia 1020, No flash
EASY CREATURES, Lumia 1020, Flash fired
EASY CREATURES, Nokia Lumia 1020, Flashed fired
VERSES NARROW, Nokia Lumia 1020, No flash
hear the tunes…
A Journey in The Surreal World of Cedric Blanchon by Dilshad Corleone
Cedric Blanchon “displays incredible dexterity as a traditional photographer whose imagination and skill with apps seems to have no boundaries. His strong personal messages are cryptic, disturbing, thought-provoking, and sometimes even witty.” The surreal seems to be the driving force behind Blanchon’s photos, each and every photo of his can be read in many different ways, for they are intricately embedded with an intrinsic meaning, or that is what I feel. I was truly honored when Cedric accepted my interview request. He is the man of the moment, and yet he is one humble, down to earth person that you will ever meet, so without much a do, Ladies and Gentlemen, please do welcome the winner of the 2013 Mobile Photography Award Grand Prize: Cedric Blanchon!
Henry, portrait of a cereal killer
DC- You are the man of the moment, and I am incredibly honoured to be able to interview you here! I came across your photo much before your great win at the Mobile Photography Award, and my true congratulations for that! As soon I saw your photos I was completely taken and although I have read and seen some of your incredible tutorials, I still cannot understand how you manage to create such amazing works of art, but we will talk about this just in a bit! To start with, however, I would love to know who truly is Cedric Blanchon, what can you tell us about yourself?
CB– So I shall introduce myself, my name is Cedric Blanchon I’m 34 years old, I have two children, I live in Troyes in France (approximately 200km from Paris), it is only just 2 years that I have started iPhoneography, and this has changed my life!
Smoking will kill me
DC- What is it that you do as your day job? Are you a professional graphic designer or a photographer?
CB- Oh no, not at all, I work in a real estate agency, I am a painter decorator, my days are like everyone’s else, except that I’m taking photos with my smartphone, it allows me to express myself, to be creative with this form of art I found a means of expression and to share with others, it’s like therapy for me, some will see a psychiatric, me I’m doing mobilephotography!
Follow me (the Brainwasher series)
DC- So how did photography entered in your life? What made you start snapping?
CB- One day I bought an iPhone, I was amazed by the capabilities of this device, at first I was doing short films for fun, I had fun to cut my movies, and then as I have always loved photography (when I was younger I had a polaroid) I started taking pictures, mainly in the street, at the beginning in black and white, I discovered the photo-sharing networks, and many incredible photographer and artist. I have always been imaginative and there I started to put myself on stage (I hadn’t much choice, I had only me as a model) and the editing always amused me!
Lose yourself in my mind (the Brainwasher series)
DC- When and what made you realise that the iPhone had great potential for what you wanted to do? What was, of course, if you remember the very first photograph that you took with your mobile and what device did you have at that time?
CB- I had an iphone4s, this is the beginning of my series Poladream, I simulate the grip of a pola, and I created some fun things with the phone, some of these were also surreal. It is at this point that I realized the potential of the iPhone and all the apps available; moreover, I believe that the imagination is very important. I had many very positive turns and this has pushed me further. For me this was really the beginning of everything that I’ve subsequently created
DC- I have purchased your E-book on the iBook Store, what a fantastic collection of street, black and white and coloured photographs, and while some of those are apped, however, these photographs are quite classic street takes, daily life, truly poignant moments by all means, and yet there is a significant difference with your recent work, so before we go into this, can you tell me more about your street photography:
DC- What is it that you want to show?
CB- I love street photography; I am a big fan of Robert Doisneau. Street photography is special, to capture moments of life is not easy, I have always wanted to show (especially on my ebook) the face and soul of hidden cities, most people show the Eiffel tower its many reflections in a puddle of water, it is very pretty and aesthetic but I prefer to show and photograph those who sleep under the bridges, not far away from the Eiffel Tower, you can see this in many of my photos, especially in my series the corporation for example. I always loved those who wanted to show the hidden things, we live in a world which I don’t find very pretty and to denounce it is a good thing, even if it is most of the time useless, with regards to the ebook, I would like to thank Tribegram and its creator Severine Mydame on IG, and thank you for having purchased it.
DC- You are more than welcome! I really loved it! Are you still into street-photography? Or, do you think you are moving away from it?
CB- I always take street photos, although less, I love experimenting with all genres and I do not want to be put into a box, I like to be surprised, and streetphotography will always do that to me!
DC- where do you go to catch your preys? Is there any particular location that you love and you keep going?
CB- I love taking pictures when there is fog for example, I do not really have a special place, I just need to feel it, however, when I go to Paris, I love taking photos in the streets, many of my photos of street (part of my ebook) are taken in Paris.
And we go leave in smoke our past memories
DC- what do you think that makes a perfect street photo?
CB- For me a good street photography is successful when you can smell the street.
Desperate house clothing
DC- HA!! BEST ANSWER EVER! Your recent work is just Magnificent! Surreal, to say the least; and the introduction to your work at the Mobile Photography Award page says that you: “display incredible dexterity as a traditional photographer whose imagination and skill with apps seems to have no boundaries. His strong personal messages are cryptic, disturbing, thought-provoking, and sometimes even witty.” I cannot but agree with every single word, so, my first question on this would be, how did you came across this style?
CB- I think I’ve always had this style in me, I kind a like experimenting with the surreal, dark humor, maybe I dare to do things that others do not dare. Cinema has had a huge influence on me and I try to reproduce that feel into my photos and through my work.
Human after all
DC- There is a strong story line and as they have mentioned it: there seems to be a personal message, which is quite cryptic, murky, incredibly thought provoking, and yet, at times disturbing, combined with a dark sense of humor. What is it that you are trying to say?
CB- it really depends, for the series of the corporation, I was heavily influenced by the black and white film Erasehead by David Lynch, the World of David Cronenberg and Shinya Tsukamoto, Franz Kafka and George Orwell and the movie la Jetée by Chris Marker, something dark, a futuristic universe where man is dependent of the machinery. The photos in this series depict the pipe and the organic hole, a mixture of technology and flesh, ultimately are always technologies like TV for example, that I try to condemn and criticize, I try to say be careful don’t be too dependent on it, the new videodrome series, or the brainwasher series talk about this being dependent. My photos also talk about the place of human beings in our society, what makes us human?
DC- Yes, what does really make us Humans… You are your own model, can you tell us more about the process of photo taking involved to create this work?
CB- I put myself on scene because I do not have anyone else to use.., I use camera + for its timer, I love to stage objects, it is very important to place some objects in my photos, as organic pipe that actually exists, I love those tinkering objects found after that in my photos
DC- How do you see the world around yourself?
CB- Let’s say I have a pretty dark vision of the future, but I believe in humans (some of my photos represent a fetus), I think my black humor comes from it, I prefer to laugh otherwise I would just cry.
DC- The surreal seems to be the driving force behind these photos, any source of inspiration? Each and every single photo of yours can be read in many different ways, for they are intricately embedded with an intrinsic meaning, or that is what I feel.. can you elaborate on this a little?
CB- The sources of my photos are mentioned earlier in the interview, for example overconsumption picture, there are two reading, or even three, first humor, surrealism, and then you can see a review on our consumer society, to want to eat too, literally we vomit, to want too possess things, these things eventually possess us!
The hunt is open
DC- That’s deep! I would love to see a complete tutorial of one photo that you are most fond off, would you like to make me happy?
CB- Yes of course with pleasure, I made a tutorial for: Henry’s portrait of a cereal killer; but I think the idea it’s most important than the edit.
DC- I completely agree, the idea is always more important than the edit! Although the edit is amazing and we will be posting it separately. Have you thought what is going to happen next? It, surely, is going to be a busy year for you, where do you want to take your work? What would you like to achieve?
CB- I Continue doing what I love, I am currently working for an exhibition at the Paul Toussaint empty space gallery, I wanted to show my work in real, a little out of the digital sphere and show my photos in galleries, it’s very important to me.
DC- Where can we find you?
CB iPhoneArt, EyeEm (EyeEm has created the eyeem market and people will be able to buy my photos online at the website) IG, flickr, Facebook, tadaa, tumblr, Website: http://www.cedricblanchon.com
Yes i know! my umbrella is pink!
DC- Is there anything that you would like to mention, or that I haven’t covered?
CB- No. Just perfect, this is the best interview I’ve done, This is the first time someone has bought my Ebook for an interview and to see all my work, thank you so much!
You also sell your chilhood memories ( the corporation series)
It was the best purchase in a long time, so I am the one that say Thank you ever so much for your time! And again, congratulations for your great win!
Your sexual hologram is ready
As the collective forgetfulness falls on the minds of the USA, Sam Smotherman revisits the killing of Trayvon Martin and the protests that erupted in response to the not guilty verdict with long time political organizer, Chris Crass to find out what can be learned to move forward to a more just society.
Protestor In Front of Los Angeles City Hall
Kenny (Father) and (Son) Kai | “I brought Kai here to teach him about politics and justice.”
What was the significance of the Trayvon Martin case? Why do you think it grabbed the nation’s attention?
The murder of Trayvon Martin exposed the enduring and brutal reality of white supremacy in the United States. We heard the logic of white supremacy on the 911 call Zimmerman made. We heard Zimmerman turn a Black kid on his way home into a violent criminal. We witnessed the murderous results of Zimmerman assuming that a Black teenage boy needed to be contained and punished by any means necessary, not because he had done anything wrong, but because in a white supremacist society, Blackness equates to a pathological culture of crime and violence that must always be monitored, policed, imprisoned, and feared. It isn’t that Zimmerman acted far outside the bounds of society, it’s that he expressed the murderous, paranoid, dangerous results of the racism deeply ingrained in our society.
Systemic racism in our society that affects everything from housing to jobs to life expectancy is often denied as being a thing of the past or alternately, the result of the failures in communities of color. For example, while studies consistently show that Black and white youth use illegal drugs at around the same rate, Black youth are more then twice as likely to be arrested, and far more likely to be incarcerated.
Michelle Alexander’s best selling book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” argues that the criminal justice system in the U.S. “operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.” Trayvon Martin’s murder showed the world that the New Jim Crow is the new racial order in the U.S. today.
How did protest and public expressions of outrage help make this one of the top national stories of 2013?
While the original murder grabbed headlines, what kept this story in the national spotlight, and ultimately forced the hard of the police to arrest George Zimmerman was the organized resistance of the Black community. Demonstrations erupted around the country within days of Trayvon’s murder. His family was vocal and public, and with the support of national Black leaders like Al Sharpton, they voiced outrage and grief that resonated in and beyond the Black community. Hundreds of demonstrations of tens of thousands of people took place in the initial weeks of Trayvon’s murder and this not only kept the story in the headlines, but it brought a strong race analysis to the forefront as Black people of all backgrounds denounced racial profiling and racism – from the Miami Heat basketball team to working class Black churches throughout the South.
To be clear, there were people of all backgrounds protesting the murder of Trayvon. In Knoxville, Tennessee, where I was living at the time, hundreds of white people joined with hundreds of Black people in one of the largest anti-racist demonstrations in recent memory. But that said, the organization and mobilization in the Black community is why Zimmerman was arrested, why he went on trial, and why the name Trayvon Martin is not only known around the country, but known as the name of a young man who’s life was stolen from him and all of us because white supremacy continues to shape U.S. society.
You were part of actions expressing outrage both when Trayvon Martin was murdered and when George Zimmerman was acquitted. What were you trying to accomplish and do you think it was successful?
As I mentioned before, I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee at the time of both the murder of Trayvon and the acquittal of Zimmerman. When Trayvon was murdered a coalition of groups and individuals in East Tennessee came together to form Knoxville United Against Racism. With leadership from the white, Black, and Latino community, we were able to mobilize over 400 people to express our outrage, grief, and resistance. With cities and towns around the country calling for Justice for Trayvon Martin, we brought together church groups, labor groups, LGBTQ, immigrant rights, and environmental groups, and we put forward a powerful message of unity against racism.
The Trayvon Martin murder created a dividing line in the country. Do you think Zimmerman murdered Trayvon or was it an act of self-defense? Was racism a major factor in this case or not? It is in moments like this when all of us who believe in social justice, who believe in equality, must step up and turn this travesty into a clarion call for change. Our goals were to raise awareness of the enduring reality of racism, to build momentum on the community and in society to fight racism and work for systemic equality, and to build unity across racial divisions in the process. For me, a major goal was to raise awareness in white communities and then turn that awareness into action. While there is far more that must be done, overall, I do think we were successful. Rather then Trayvon Martin’s murder being yet one of hundreds of cases of young Black people being murdered, it became a case that helped us draw attention to the epidemic of racist murders in this country. While it is true that since Trayvon, there have been dozens and dozens of horrendous murders of Black people – include several involving young Black women and men going for help after car accidents only to be shot and murder at the door of white neighbors who said they “feared for their lives” upon seeing Black people at their doors – we must do all we can to raise consciousness and get people active in the movement to end the New Jim Crow.
That brings up two important questions for me. First, how can we go from outrage of cases like Trayvon Martin and move to on-going work for social justice?
Shortly after Trayvon was murdered, I wrote the following for a national call to white people to deepen our efforts as we moved from outrage to organizing: “Let us turn our outrage and pain into commitment and action. Let us sound the alarm that silence and inaction in the face of injustice is consent and support. Let us learn from those who have come before us and get involved with those organizing for racial, gender and economic justice today. Let us be mindful of white privilege, but also remember to be powerful for racial justice. Let us act from our vision, see opportunities to challenge racism, engage in courageous efforts, create beloved community, and build our movements for collective liberation. Now is the time.”
Outrage is an important part of the journey. Outrage connects us to our sense of right and wrong and can motivate us to take action. Joining in demonstrations or organizing them ourselves is an important next step. Coming together with others in our communities is key to overcome the feelings of powerlessness and isolation, feelings which systems of inequality from apartheid, to capitalism, to white supremacy both create and thrive on. Come together with others to express our outrage, our opposition. But the next step is vital and that is the step of joining on-going efforts to win social, economic, racial, gender justice. This can be on the local, regional, national or global level, but the most important part is that we come together with link-minded people to work for positive long-term changes to the problems we face.
Shortly after the Zimmerman verdict was announced I write this short essay called, The Verdict is In: We Must Organize to Get Justice. I outline 10 steps people can take to move from outrage to organizing. Anyone who wants to explore that question further can read the essay here:
My next question is, why should white folks care about cases like Trayvon Martin? How do white folks participate in meaningful anti-racist organizing?
The question for white people is really, which side of history do you stand on? Do you stand with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that made every neighborhood watched by the slave patrols? Do you stand with the courts, police and juries that time and time again acquitted anyone accused of lynching a Black person? Do you stand with the White Citizenship Councils who were the most “respected” men of their community, who defended Jim Crow apartheid? Do you stand with the Klu Klux Klan who were the first to make the argument that the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action gave “special rights” to Blacks, an argument that quickly became a rally crying for white Americans around the country.
Or do you stand with the Abolitionists like Frederick Douglas, William Garrison and Harriet Tubman who were routinely told that they were creating racial hostility and disturbing the natural order. Do you stand with Ida B. Wells who launched an international campaign against lynching and used her skills as a journalist to expose the false accusations of rape and theft in story after story of Black men who were lynched? Do you stand with Emmett Till and his family when he, at 14 years of age, was brutally murdered by white men because he “didn’t know his place” and was supposedly flirting with a white girl. Do you stand with Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., the Freedom Riders and the Civil Rights movement as they faced angry white mobs from Chicago to Alabama?
My nephews, 5 and 7 years old, recently asked their Grandmother, at the Lincoln Presidential Library, “Nana, how could Christians have supported slavery?” It’s a heartbreaking question. And many of us who are white would respond with indignation about slavery, as we should. But how often do so many of us look back and wonder “how could people have supported slavery and segregation.” And when we look back, we are usually pretty clear that we’re not just talking about the people who actively supported, but also the people who through their indifference and inaction supported these systems. The argument is frequently made, well that was just considered normal at the time, even though it is appalling to us now. But what isn’t as frequently named is that it was the resistance of Black Americans, people of color and white anti-racists who took on those injustices and won institutional and cultural changes.
However, most white Americans would either say that they would have been on the right side of history working for justice or at the very least, they would not be on the wrong side of history supporting the slave system and segregation. But it is always so much easier to assume you would have been on the right side of history in retrospect. What is much more difficult is being on the right side of history in the here and now. Because in the here and now, we are living in the “what was considered normal,” the normal that in retrospect is so clearly racist.
The Trayvon Martin murder, and the verdict which acquitted George Zimmerman is just the tip of the iceberg, as a recent report found that in 2012 a Black man, woman or child was killed every 28 hours by police, security guards or vigilantes. It not the uniqueness of Trayvon Martin being racial profiled and killed for being Black “in the wrong neighborhood”, it’s that his story is so tragically familiar. While there have been many white people outraged by the murder and the verdict, there are many more who say “it’s just so complicated,” “they both made bad decisions that night,” “Martin got what he deserved,” or simply “the jury did a good job.”
It’s time to speak honestly. At all the points in history that we look back on and can’t understand how people supported such racism, in all those eras, white people said “it’s too complicated,” “it’s the way things are,” “that Black person must have done something to deserve it.” Even in the murder of Emmitt Till, many white people said, “it may have been extreme, but the boy forgot his place.” Today, the verdict of Zimmerman is now part of our history, but these cases continue to happen, over and over again, and white people have to choose what side of history we are on. It can be an intimidating prospect, but ultimately it is about who we choose to be as people. Our character, values, and legacies are shaped by the choices we make in the times we live, not by the stands we imagine ourselves taking in the past. I believe in our ability to stand, in the millions, in the tradition of the Abolitionists, the Freedom Riders, and the Dream Act students, the immigrant rights movement and the Justice for Trayvon Martin movement.
I believe that we can learn from white anti-racists of the past and present and make powerful and important contributions to creating a multiracial democratic society based on equality and justice for all. I recently wrote a book called Towards Collective Liberation and one of the main themes running throughout it is the process of white people coming into consciousness about racism and moving into anti-racist action. For me, anti-racism isn’t something I do on behalf of other people, it’s a struggle for the heart and soul of our society, for my family, and for myself. Racism is a cancer in white society. I organize for social justice and do this work in part because I don’t want my son to grow up to fear and hate others based on the color of their skin, I want him to grow up in the proud tradition of white anti-racists like Abbey Kelley, Anne and Carl Braden, and people I talk with in my book, contemporary white anti-racist leaders like Molly McClure, Carla Wallace, Z! Haukeness, Amy Dudley, and Marc Mascarenhas-Swan. I also do this work because I know that when we come together across divisions and work for a better world, we begin creating that new world in the here and now. We build the beloved community, that Dr. King envisioned, when we act against injustice, stand on the right side of history, join with others in our community and around the world, and work for political, economic, cultural, and social change. This is how we honor Trayvon Martin, Emmet Till, and Renisha McBride. This is how we create the world we want to give to our children and grandchildren. This is how we live with purpose, vision and values to guide us. We can do it.
Tre’ Love, Safiyyah and Safiyyah | He brought his daughter out to his first protest so, “As she grows up I want her to know when there is injustice to stand up
Ayesha Forrest | First protest | Age 13
Marion The Last / Self described Pray Fast Warrior who prays that she and others gain “revolution knowledge and deliverance from evil
Chris Crass is a longtime social justice organizer who writes and speaks widely about anti-racist organizing, feminism for men, lessons and strategies to build visionary movements, and leadership for liberation. His book Towards Collective Liberation: anti-racist organizing, feminist praxis, and movement building strategy was recently published by PM Press.
Meet Pete: Pete Halvorsen by Andres Tardio
A few years ago, Pete Halvorsen decided to take his daughter for a walk. Is there a better place for this than the nearby pier? The sand, the ocean, the beauty and the freshness give you a calm sense of joy. Perfect for a father-daughter stroll.
The pier also happens to be perfect for photography, something Halvorsen understands quite well. Since those first walks with his daughter, Pete has crafted some of his greatest works under and on that pier. His eye for the pier is a sharp one, and that love for photography has extended from the pier to other countries. His photographs, ranging from stunning landscapes to striking portraits, continue to impress.
AT: How did you get started with photography?
PH: I’d always been drawn to photography as a medium to tell stories. It wasn’t until 2010 when my eye began to be develop and sharpen that I decided to commit myself as a full time photographer.
AT: How has your life and perspective changed since you started working with mobile photography?
PH: In this image-based world a single snapshot has the ability to say so much. As an early adopter of Instagram I saw first hand how well non-tranditional (mobile) snapshot photography was received. From traveling around the world to walking down to the beach, I began looking for quick moments to share with my iPhone. Those moments wouldn’t have been as organic or easy to share before I had mobile photography as one of my weapons.
AT: Your work is pretty diverse. How do you approach portraits differently than you approach landscapes?
PH: I try to use the same approach to both; I strive to catch a real moment and freeze it. If it’s a sunset or a portrait of someone laughing, these are both experiences that can be felt if captured in the moment. I try not to over think it when shooting either, when I start “trying” to be creative it becomes inauthentic and that translates in the image.
AT: You’ve also done some humanitarian photography. How did you get involved with that initiative?
PH: A friend of mine was involved in a non-profit called Kusewera based out of Los Angeles that made humanitarian service trips to an orphanage in Malawi. She approached me travel with them live in the orphanage and document their work. I was also able to lead a mobile photography class for the kids. It was such a life changing experience not only professionally but also personally.
AT: Of course we have to speak about #pierpressure. How did this start and what do you think inspired that original spark?
PH: I was a stay at home dad to my daughter when I first downloaded Instagram, I live pretty close to the Manhattan Beach Pier and would take her on walks down to the pier almost daily. Two of my first Instagram friends Julya (@obscuralucida) and Greg (@leggomygreggo) would join me in providing hilarious puns on each others photos. I had noticed that posting a picture of the Pier at Sunset would get the most reaction of any photo I’d post. So one day I made the joke that I was giving in to the “Pier Pressure” of getting likes by posting another photo of this pier at sunset. It became a thing.
AT: A lot of people shoot the pier, but what advice do you give photographers to make their pier shots more creative?
PH: Piers all have such interesting personalities depending on the time of day or the time of year. From empty mornings during the winter to packed sunsets of summer there is always something different. I’d also recommend you go to geotags of whatever pier (or any location for that matter) and see how other people have shot it that you love. There are always images that pop off the screen to me and new angles I’ve never seen. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I enjoy the work of Peter Lik and saw one of his shots under a pier, this inspired me to slap an Olloclip fisheye on my iPhone and shoot a similar shot. I still remember the feeling when that image went to the Popular Page and got over 200 likes (that was a lot for back then).
The other advice I’d give is something that I’ve been working on myself. Turn around. So many times recently I’m shooting and do a 180 to look for the first thing that catches my eye. More often than not it’s a better shot than the one I had originally set up for.
AT: You’re also pretty involved with meets. What do you enjoy most about meets?
PH: Meets for me are a way to give back to this Instagram community that has given me so much. I feel blessed to have the platform I have. If it weren’t for the early Instameets I went to my network wouldn’t have grown like it has today.
AT: Which meet would you consider your favorite and most memorable thus far? Why?
PH: Great question – They are all so memorable for different reasons – #foggypierpressure because of its amazing climate change within 2 hours #givingpierpressure because of the amazing donations we were able to put together at Christmas time. #brodeotree was a religious experience with some of my now dearest Instagram friends. But you never forget your first Instameet. Mine was in San Francisco back in 2011. It was put on by Laura Lawson (lauralawsonviscontti) & Michael O’Neal (@moneal). I met so many amazing Instagrammers that day at the now infamous #gandhigram
AT: Meets can also bring some negativity sometimes. For example, people may be upset when a person they meet doesn’t follow them on Instagram after the meet. Or someone may not like another’s attitude or whatever. What conflicts have you seen at meets. What do you think people can do to resolve those conflicts?
PH: The follow aspect of Instagram adds a different dynamic for some. A few of Instagrammers I know who large followings won’t go to Instameets anymore because it becomes more about them being there than taking photos. For me, that high follow number has given me the ability to help organize our local southern California instagrammers. They’ll always be a few who aren’t there for the right reasons, but that’s life. The majority of the people at my meets (we had over 150 people at the #dogtowninstameet) are amazing people and photographers. The reward of the great people I’ve met is worth the risk of running into a few bad apples.
AT: When you go shooting, what are some things you are always mindful of?
PH: Story, story, story. What story am I telling with this image or video? Focus isn’t a bad thing either…of course you can always tag it #bluronpurpose and call it art.
AT: What apps do you recommend photographers use?
PH: I’ve been through a lot of different Apps but I keep coming back to a handful – Snapseed is normally my first stop for quick tweaks, I just like it’s interface. Then I usually go to either VSCOcam, PicTapGo or Afterlight if I want to play with tones or moods. I used to shoot with Camera+ but since I got the iPhone 5s I am only using the native camera to shoot with because I shoot so much video too.
Behind The Photographs
Pete Halvorsen also shared five of his most prized shots and discussed the photographs with some details. Those images and Halvorsen’s descriptions can be found below.
PH: While I was in Malawi I ran up and shot this while the kids were playing red light green light. While I was shooting all day with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment, this quick snap with my iPhone captured the essence of life within the walls of the orphanage.
“The Griffith Observatory”
PH: One of my favorites I ever took with my 4s. I’ve had good photographer friends of mine that couldn’t believe I shot it with an iPhone and I had to send them the original file so they’d believe me.
PH: I shot this of my daughters shadow on the playground, it was featured by Josh Johnson back in the day and was the first image that increased my following beyond the friends/family in my circle. I shot it with Hipstamatic and just rotated it because I thought it looked cooler.
“You’re Never Too Young To Dream Big”
PH: A street snap that caught a great moment of youth and art. This Banksy art on the side of the wall was across the street from where she was born (Cedars Sinai), so once again for me it held even more significant value of the message and the image.
PH: In this Chris Ozer portrait in New York, he and I were walking in SoHo just north of where the World Trade Center had stood…So to me, this flag which looks like it had been hanging for 10-plus years had a story.
Lost & Found In Los Angeles by Andres T
“20 years in the same city, still don’t know my way around,
I still get lost inside of my thoughts.” –Eyedea, “Weird Side”
I have a confession to make. I get lost. All the time. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I’ve finally come to terms with that disappointing fact. Ever since I was a little kid, I didn’t really care about directions.
Some people are awesome with directions. “Where are you going?” “Los Angeles.” “Oh. Perfect. Head South here. West there. East on this highway. Go North for a mile. Jump on this other other highway. Head South for 3 miles. Bam, you’re there.” Never cared about that stuff.
So, I can’t really give you a guided tour of these streets. I wish I could tell you to hit Spring Street or 6th Street, but I never really remember exactly which street is which. I kind of know how to find myself in these streets, but it’s hard to name them. As a photographer, that has been an interesting fact to deal with. GPS became incredibly handy, but sometimes, I toss that out the window too. I just rely on the wind and instinct to guide me.
Four Corners Of Architecture
That was the case on this calm morning. It was colder than usual for Los Angeles and the clouds looked like they were decorating the sky. I drove to where I usually go for peaceful Saturday or Sunday morning shoots and since I don’t really pay attention to street names, I can just say that it’s really close to the steel-palace that is Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Concert Hall’s website says it’s on Grand Avenue and that’s really close to the new Grand Park, so that makes sense. Anyway, near there, a really cool architectural gem stands above the street. One day a couple of years ago, I was driving to school nearby and thought I saw this. It was unbelievable. I hadn’t seen any pictures of it before because I wasn’t following too many Los Angeles photographers. I didn’t know I would find this there. I just stopped my car in the middle of street. Thankfully, it was an early morning class and no cars were coming. It’s not like I cared anyway. Instead, I just looked out of my car window towards the sky. There it was. Four buildings. Perfect. So, I went back to this spot for this photo journal because it’s still a really cool place, especially when the weather allows for this type of light. The original photograph is still my profile picture on Instagram and I’m not sure if that will ever change. Constantly reminds me to look around, look down and look up when shooting. Here’s a more recent shot I took at this place…with the Nokia Lumia 920.
Walking For Peace
After taking this shot, I thought I needed to park. I usually park in the same place because I’m a creature of habit. Plus parking in Los Angeles can be a painful journey. But, I park somewhere behind this pretty cool fountain and walk around. Because it’s usually early in the AM, I don’t have to pay the arm and/or leg that I normally would need to shell out for parking. So, after parking, I head over to that cool fountain, which is “Peace on Earth” by Jacques Lipchitz, according to a little Google search. The piece is pretty cool and it’s one of my favorite parts of Downtown L.A. I remember seeing it a few years ago and I loved how the water created an interesting contrast. You can see a shot of this below.
Walking Around Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walking around Walt Disney Concert Hall is almost always interesting. Nearly every time I walk around this space, I find a different angle, a new perspective for my shots. Sometimes, I replicate a shot, but the weather always changes the effect of said shot. In this case, the clouds really added some depth to everything. The light was just right. Having the Nokia in my hand also gave me a different way to see this space because I had never shot with this phone before. The display on the phone is large so I could see what I was shooting differently. Changing up the tools to shoot with can have that effect and this definitely served as a great eye-opener this morning.
Driving Around Downtown
People in Los Angeles usually drive. We walk around a bit (see above), but we generally like to drive. So, I usually do that around Downtown. On this day, I drove around unusually empty streets. That morning, I stopped whenever I got the chance and shot whatever I really wanted to. Usually, traffic really puts a dent on that, but for whatever reason, traffic wasn’t much of an issue on this morning. So, I drove, stopped, shot and drove some more. Since you just have to tap the screen on the Nokia, it made for a pretty excellent point-and-shoot experience for the drive-by shots.
Ever since I started shooting, much of it has been about self-discovery. Some of that self-discovery has been accidental and some of it intentional, but all of it life-altering. That’s why I no longer mind getting lost in the art, lost in photography, lost in the city. By getting lost in all of this, I’ve actually been able to find pieces of myself. The journey continues.
Old School Portraits with a New School Camera by Andre H
I am not a fine art portrait photographer. I am a mobile phone shooter. I love having the ability to use my mobile phone like my old Speed Graflex 4×5 camera. Combining my Lumia 1020 with Hipstamatic’s Oggl app, I did just that. What most excited me about the Oggl app paired with the Windows phone was a new film roll that emulated the old tintype prints of days past, and the razor sharp image quality from the optics in the device.
On Christmas Day, 2012, I began exploring the Oggl app and it’s ‘D-type plate’ film roll and various lens combinations. I immediately fell in love with the ability to duplicate this old historic process by digital means. I began creating portraits of friends and family. Soon this experiment blossomed into a portrait project that grew beyond friends and family and began attracting strangers and friends of friends.
At the time of this writing I have photographed 50 people. These portraits explore the very concept of identity. Since a good number of people are photographers who made portraits with me, my intention was to explore how people perceive themselves when asked to be, well, themselves, in front of the uncaring gaze of an, oddly-enough, mobile phone camera.
Creating these portraits were challenging. I did not have the benefit of hiding under cover of black fabric to look through a large 4×5 framed piece of ground glass to focus through. That would have been easy. No, I faced my subject with a fairly small, undiscerning digital camera, entertaining the questions and comments of how I was going to do this with a mobile phone. I assured everyone it would all be good and they wouldn’t know the difference. So what I am about to share with you is a step-by-step guide to how I used my Lumia 1020 and the Oggl app to transform my mobile camera into an antique medium format camera, creating beautiful tintype-like portraits.
Image #1-2: Before you get started, set the Oggl app to ‘portrait mode’ for shallow DOF (see image #1.) By choosing this setting you are telling the camera app that you want a shallow depth of field. Remember, large aperture (big opening) is a small number i.e f2.2. In portrait mode the Nokia 1020 will utilize a f2.2. aperture. When making portraits make sure to stand at least 2-3 feet away from your subject to avoid wide angle distortion. Focus on the corner of the mouth, (see image #2) to ensure all of the face is in-focus (this is an old/trusted technique.) This will come in especially handy if you’re trying to focus on the eyes of someone who wears glasses. The frame of the glasses will be in focus leaving the eyes soft.
Image #3-4: Open the image in ‘Photo editor by Aviary.’ (See image #3.) There aren’t that may good photo editor apps out there for Windows. This one I found to be pretty good, and there’s a Mac version as well.
Click ‘Effects’ choose ‘Clyde.’ This will immediately warm your image (see image #4.) Yes, apply ‘Effects’ before ‘Enhance.’ It makes a difference when it comes to filter stacking. Either way, please, experiment.
Image #5-6: Click ‘Enhance.’ Choose ‘Balance.’ This will adjust the white balance of your image, cooling it down slightly. If you look closely (see image #6), it is a minute change but a significant one in regards to toning. The slightest shift in color temperature can really make a difference sometimes.
Image #7: My image is now finished. At this point I can continue to tweak this image to my heart’s desire. And, I have experimented with adding/subtracting contrast, brightness, sharpening—the whole gamut. What I came to realize is that this final ‘magic mix’ was a good combination that resulted in an image that still felt organic, not over-processed. Feel free to give it a try and find a combo that works best for you. My next step would be to print or transfer these images on to tin plates to complete the process.
The whole set of images can be seen here.
Abstracting the Essence: A Conversation with Kristine by Crystal Labbato
There is little more satisfying about participating in a mobile photography community than the joy felt while watching the way a favorite photographer explores and re-explores their own private corner of the universe. Even better still is when that relentless pursuit of seeing continuously produces images that at once soothe and exhilarate the senses.Kristine Norlander (@kristinenor) is one of these photographers.
Kristine often describes her mobile photos as “daily sketches.” Indeed there is something to this in the sense that she has developed a very personal vocabulary to describe the whats and wheres and hows of the way she sees. Her photographs have the ability to tell entire stories in a single breath. She is able to capture all of the feelings of expansiveness and complexity in her environment, exquisitely reducing them to their most essential elements in a visual expression which is uniquely her own.- Crystal
Crystal: Will you share with us how you first became interested in mobile photography?
Kristine: A friend of mine showed me the app about two years ago, and my first thought was that this was a perfect place to collect everyday sketches of things that caught my eye. After a while I noticed that it was not only about collecting pretty stuff, but also receiving inspiration in different ways of seeing from other IGers all over the world. And then – I was kinda hooked. My ways of sharing pictures developed from shooting pretty things into a new way of communicating; expressing emotions and telling stories in my own visual language
Crystal: What is your usual process for creating one of your elegant mobile sketches?
Kristine: For me, mobile photography is basically about seeing. Looking at your surroundings with a different eye, finding beauty in the transformation of things as you place them into a new context. I shoot a lot – beauty is everywhere. And then the process continues as I edit; picking up pictures in Snapseed and check out what kind of cropping that works. What feels good. Straighten, tune – and I got this habit of desaturating the images, I guess. Colors tend to be too loud. Maybe a round in VSCOcam to see if it brings out some more quality. And that is basically it. Sometimes it is fun to play with different editing apps – like Decim8 and Woodcamera, but I tend to go back to my basic tools; Snapseed and VSCOcam.
Crystal: I feel like you draw inspiration from many sources, music, art, and especially the beauty and love in your life. Are there any particular themes or individuals influencing you especially right now?
Kristine: Inspiration like you say – is everywhere. Of course there are some kind of themes that I often find pleasure playing with; simple lines, empty spaces, shadowplay, reflections, wallportraits, transparency and so on… A theme I love to play with right now is the thing that is most common in this country during wintertime; the color white. How I can build images based on shades of white is really inspiring. And as far as individuals are inspiring me; posting and interacting on IG is all about being inspired by the perspective from users. I learn a lot from that
Crystal: The word “style” can sometimes be a limiting word… but I definitely see a distinct visual language in your photos, and ongoing themes that you revisit over time. What are the sorts of things you like to look for in your photographs? Do you have a favorite subject you like to explore?
Kristine: Well, I guess my visual language has been shaped by different aspects. I used to be a potter – made vessels and sculptures in clay – always in search of the perfect shape and texture. It was a powerful passion. The same passion is there when I shoot pictures; looking for shapes, surfaces and textures – the pure kinds. Perfection. Simplicity. Beauty
I have also been working as a teacher in visual arts in high school for over 15 years now. Teaching about subjects like composition for so long has brainwashed me, I guess. I am a sucker for compositions, loving the process of framing and balancing.
And I love abstract and minimal art; the idea of reaching towards some kind of basic, sublime truth. I love working with emptiness in my images. Something about quietness and how it allows associations to be noticed.
On Instagram, sharing pictures is much about communication. And I like the idea that other people can relate to my pictures in terms of their own memories, feelings or pictures seen. I think I really like the idea that we are all a bunch of sensitive people out there. And we all reach towards each other – wanting to know about ways to see and explore this life. And the visual language shared goes a bit deeper than words sometimes. I think we learn a lot by looking at our shared stories
Crystal: I know you share photos on EyeEm as well as IG. Sometimes IG seems to me very heavily influenced by American culture and trends. Will you talk a little bit about the landscape and culture of your beautiful homeland of Norway and how your environment shapes the images you make?
Kristine: Of course, as for many Norwegians, nature is a big inspiration for me too. Being outdoors, exploring deep woods or high mountains, being by the coast in summertime or go skiing in some big, white space during winter. We love that, and – we shoot it. Those pleasures along with the clean, Scandinavian design-style seems to influence the visual language of many Scandinavian IGers with me (for example @paldyb @elinlia @sannalin @ragnhildsvisuelle @dennishjelmstrom C: You have brought mobile photography to your classroom. What do your students come away with after a photowalk?
Kristine: That is an interesting theme, really. I am writing my masterdegree in arts and crafts these days – about how to use mobile photography as a creative tool. Mainly I write about my experience making my own work using IG as a case. But I also get to test it on some of my students. One of the subjects I teach is media design; where photography is a big theme. Traditionally the pupils use DSLR´s to shoot in school, but using their smartphones tends to change their ways of seeing. It´s more like sketching, which again tend to be more personal. The smartphone is basically a part of their body. They are used to shoot pictures, and post on IG – (aged 16-19 yrs) but when used in a context where I as a teacher give them simple subjects or themes to look for or work with, it makes them think a little different. And that is my goal. I give them something about which editing apps they should try and how they work, and I show them different IGer-artists. The wide range of possibilities and expressions that can be found out there. I try to give them inspiration, and to show them IG can be used to show so much more than pouty lips and party-pics.
So – before a photowalk, I give them different themes to look for. And then I use the account @ig_nvgs to post the themes as tags that they use on their pictures, and I highlight some of their work on that page Crystal: Recently you brought some of your photographs out of the phone and exhibited in a group gallery show. What was that experience like for you
Kristine: That was a big honor and a great experience. It was the first time I have shown my phonepics as something else than pixels on a screen. And of course talking to real people about our pictures without touching a screen is pretty awesome sometimes!
// IG // EyeEm //