Hi Robert! Could you tell us a little about your background and how you got started with creative iPhone photography and/or art?
I am from Cape Town, South Africa, where I live with my beautiful wife Belinda and our two sons, Seth (13) and Joseph (9). We share our apartment with our four cats Gracie, Lizzie, Dragon and Ryder.
I am a software engineer by profession and have not really had any creative endeavours apart from writing some poetry and many false starts in attempting to write a novel. I was lucky enough one year to get given an iPhone 3GS, which I still have and use, by my brother who was upgrading.
Once I started experimenting with the camera and the apps which were available a whole new creative outlet came into being. I have been reading websites and blogs and tutorials voraciously ever since in an effort to gain as much knowledge as I could. I am also a bona fida app junkie and download almost every photography related app I can get my hands on. This all carried on until one day I stumbled upon the MobiTog community and have never looked back. The people there were so friendly and helpful it made the transition into posting my work a whole lot easier. In the mean time I have also been given an iPad 2 (by the same brother who was once again was upgrading) and the bigger screen and more storage space has just fueled the creative fire. This has also allowed me to go into different fields from pure, naked images to the, often very over-apped, abstract. This all depends on my current mood and how amenable the weather is to allowing me to get outdoors and take pictures.
How do you feel when you're making iPhoneography images?
At the moment my life is quite stressful and busy and iPhoneography has become my outlet. When I am busy working on images I become relaxed and focused and am able to shut out stress for a while.
What are you thinking about most in your creative life these days?
At the moment I am using my creativity as a way of expressing my current emotional state. As I become more focused on an image and start to see an image forming which expresses my emotional state, I find it very uplifting, calming and empowering. My most recent works have featured a lot of heavy abstract images and not so many unprocessed images. This is a sure sign that things have been a bit hectic for me recently.
You mentioned that iPhoneography has become a way for you to express your emotional state. Would you say that it can play the role of a type of therapy or emotional self-care?
It is a bit of both. It helps me process what I am going through at that moment in time. Therapy in so far as it very calming and relaxing, and emotional self care by clearing the mind to process whatever is happening. This is especially true for the more abstract work. When the stress levels are lower is when I tend to work in a more photographic style.
Could you describe your creative process when you work with this type of abstract, expressive image?
An abstract being the freest form often has no thought process or set workflow, or even set of apps. Abstract to me is all about how it makes me feel. Each step is guided by the previous step. Whether you stay in one app or switch apps often also varies from piece to piece. I just keep working on each image, often for days and sometimes weeks, until the image is complete.
What would your suggestion be if someone asked you how to get going with their first abstract, expressive image?
For me it always starts off with an image which would normally be deleted. But the image has interesting lines or shapes or colours. Symmetry also plays a role. Look for an image which you would normally have deleted but for some or other reason is still on your camera roll or in your photo stream. You must have kept it for a reason, and maybe forming a piece of an abstract image is that reason.
You work both in an abstract, expressive style as well as in a more unprocessed or photographic style. This is a situation a lot of people struggle with. They work in a more "art style" and a more "photographic style", and find it hard to put them both on the same page. How do you deal with working in these two very different styles at once?
It was something I struggled with when I first started experimenting with iPhoneography. A lot of people seemed to have very distinct styles. I couldn't seem to settle on just one. This was until I realized that I did not need to force my work in one direction or another just to conform to a style. All I needed to conform to is what made me happy. If it makes me happy then I am sure that there other people who will appreciate it too.
Which role does the iPhoneography community MobiTog have in your creative life?
MobiTog is my creative home. It is full of friends, inspiration, caring, nurturing, teaching, learning and sharing. The art being shared at MobiTog is of the best, if not the best, anywhere on the internet. Since I discovered MobiTog it has become my social community of choice. I have tried Flickr, EyeEm, 500px, Instagram, Oggl and every other community on the web but always come back to MobiTog. I have learned most of what I know from the brilliant artists in the community like RoseCat (Catherine Restivo), lisamjw (Lisa Waddell),maktub77 (Sacha Dohmen), Bob Weil, Rudy Vogel and many, many others whose names I apologise for not mentioning here. Venomator (Rog) and Smooth (Matt) have created something very special in MobiTog and for this I am eternally grateful to them both.
Which are your favourite apps for expressing yourself creatively?
At the moment my favourite apps are (in no particular order) Snapseed, Glaze, iColorama and Repix. Image Blender and Superimpose for layering. Phonto for captioning and watermarking images. And I am a huge fan of all of the apps by JixiPix. For B&W images I use Noir Photo and Monokrom.
What do you find to be the greatest challenges and rewards of being an app junkie?
The greatest challenge to be an app junkie is to be able sift through all of the apps being made available to find thse that are any good, or could be of any use. This goes hand in hand with the greatest reward which would be discovering that one hidden little gem of an app that opens up a new creative outlet.
What is your creative advice to others who are inspired but don't know where to begin?
Join MobiTog! This is a must. The community is warm and inviting and friendly. You will be supported and helped with whatever questions you may have. There is no negativity at all, it is the perfect place for an inspired artist to land. There is so much incredible artwork to view and entertaining challenges to enter. All of which will inspire you more and encourage you to create and to share your creations.
Where can people see your work and connect with you online?
I have tried all of the image sharing and photography related social media websites like Instagram (@zaroblan), Flickr, IPA and Oggl. But all of these have not been updated in a long while. The main reason for this is MobiTog. I have been a member for around two years and post there regularly. I recently joined the ranks of Site Staff at MobiTog. Feel free to pop on over to visit us, we really are a friendly bunch.
Hello, Linda! Could you tell us a little about your background and how you got started with creative iPhone photography and/or art?
Born in South Africa, one of my first wishes as a child was to own a camera. I would make all the neighborhood children line up to have their photos taken!
I enjoy traveling, am fascinated by different cultures, have lived for almost ten years in Germany, and am currently living in Dubai.
Upon my arrival in the Middle East, I was inspired by stories of bedouins, nomads who lived in the deserts. They embodied wandering and mobility and an awareness of the interconnectedness of life. With this in mind I began a project which I called #mobileart. Photos were taken with my mobile phone while I was out wandering, were posted immediately via twitter, and many of them were of art in various forms.
Then came my iPhone, Instagram and the world of apps!
A lover of architecture, I began photographing and posting on Instagram, the wonderful architecture found in Dubai. Round about the same time, I started my website here2here on which I promote mindfulness as well as investigate cyberspace - the mindspace we find ourselves in when using technology to communicate.
Interested in exploring the architecture of cyberspace, I began experimenting with various apps to create a series I called “Digital Archways”. Later, in an attempt to express visually the experience of cyberspace using the very tools found there, I edited photos of Dubai architecture to create the series entitled “Corridors of Cyberspace” (These series can also be found in the Galleries section on my website)
My love for creative iPhone photography had begun.
What are you thinking about most in your creative life these days?
Shortly after I began experimenting with the app Slowshutter, I visited Istanbul and attended a Whirling Dervishes Sema Ceremony. This has inspired me to try to figure out new ways of portraying the whole concept of rootedness and movement occurring simultaneously, through my images.
Which subjects do you return to again and again?
Architectural structures are recurring subjects, but photographed and edited in such a way as to encourage the viewer to take on new perspectives. Lately I find myself drawn to photographing people, but in such a way that it does not reveal their identity.
Two of your recurring themes are architecture and a nomadic lifestyle. Do you feel there is a contrast between these two topics, how we design more permanent homes and how we live with mobile homes? Or do you feel they are connected, each shining a light on the other topic?
Architecture, in my opinion, is always a reflection of human experience. It is alive with the ideas and aspirations of its architects, and the culture they find themselves in. It glimmers with consciousness as it reflects the hopes and fears of its builders.
I believe that the whole concept of “home” is acquiring new meaning.
More people in this century have access to travel than ever before. Many individuals are in a sense nomadic in that they live in many different countries within a lifetime. Even without physical travel, the internet has made the viewing of new worlds available to the masses. This increase in movement and exposure undoubtedly affects, and is reflected in, the way we design the houses or apartments we live in.
You mentioned your interest in mindfulness and the architecture of cyberspace, perhaps one could say these are aspects of our inner landscape? Would you say that we at least partly create our identities, our mindspaces, and are in a way, the architects of our inner landscapes? Or would you say that when we go on an inner adventure, we can also encounter structures that were unknown to ourselves?
Much in our inner landscapes was planted there by parents, teachers, peers and experiences. When we make the decision to set out on an inner adventure this is the first thing we discover. Mindfulness over a period of time brings this to awareness as we discover that much of our behavior is simply programmed reaction.
When we decide to go on an inner adventure, we discover that we too have been architects of our inner landscapes through many of the choices we have made. In this terrain, if we look carefully, we will also find other structures - aspects of ourselves we have chosen to suppress or ignore and others we have not realized existed. Beyond it all we discover the vast openness filled with silence and from which all creativity arises.
Which role has the internet and image sharing taken in your development as an artist?
The availability of tutorials online, such as those you share in your flipboard magazines and your pinterest boards, have helped me to explore new techniques. The exposure to the works of other artists via the internet has fueled my creativity. The feedback received when sharing images on the spot across the globe, regardless of time and space, has helped me develop confidence in my art.
My art flows out of and into a shared community and I often think to myself lately, “I’m a cyborg now! ” (See “Technology and Transformation” )
Speaking of mindfulness, the internet and the many ways to share images online, how do you deal with internet related stress and overwhelm?
I don’t believe that we can speak about the “real” world and the “online” world as if they were two separate entities. Being online is part of everyday life for many of us. The challenge for me is to find the right balance in my activities and to remember to remain grounded. When online, I often just stop and take three deep breaths. Having read once that many people hold their breath and forget to breathe when checking emails, I thought this would be a good idea!
I also make use of the technology at our disposal and am exploring mindfulness meditation apps such as “Insight Timer” and “GPS for the Soul”.
How would you describe your style?
I am still searching to come up with a new word to describe my style. Using the terminology I have come across in the online photographic communities, I would say that it fluctuates often between the abstract and the painterly styles. Some people who have seen some of my recent work find it hard to believe that it was created on an iPhone.
I am of the opinion that true art takes the viewer beyond themselves and is so much more than mere technique. I suspect that we are currently witnessing a revolution in the creation of images, and that the boundaries between hand painted art and the art created on devices using photographs and apps, are beginning to blur. I am grateful to be part of this movement.
Can you tell us about your workflow and the apps you use the most?
The exact outcome of a piece I am working on is not always known to me at the onset. I mostly use the Iphone’s native camera to shoot my images except when I am using SlowShutter. The first app I use for fine tuning is Snapseed. I have recently begun to create my own textures using Gradient Color and Glaze. Working with various other apps such as Decim8, Scratchcam, XnView Fx and Blender, which often produce surprising results, I then go through the countless resulting images until I find one that fully resonates with what I am attempting to express.
Are you an appoholic, constantly trying out new apps and techniques, or do you tend to stick with a small set of tools?
I don’t know if I would describe myself as an appoholic but I do love to try out new apps and techniques. I will fall back on different ones depending on the image I am working on, but mostly use the ones mentioned above.
What is your creative advice to others who are inspired but don't know where to start?
In the field of creative iPhone photography and art I suggest downloading apps and experimenting. Play, have fun and discover your own style. Being part of a sharing community is also a great help and encouragement.
What would be your creative dream project?
This question excites me. I hope to have many dream projects, but at the moment my creative dream project is to exhibit the series I am currently working on.
We are so much more than just our bodies and even in cyberspace one begins to pick up on the energy of others by their avatars and the way in which they communicate and share. I am now attempting to portray this energy in my images and to show Essence and Presence. What started out as capturing movement in the mall has developed into this project.
Is there anything else you would like to add or share?
I'd like to thank you very much Kate for this interview. You are doing a wonderful job in the iphoneography world for mobile art and photography.
Where can people see your work and connect with you online?
You can also connect with me via my website here2here.
I've been experimenting with different ways of curating and sharing news around iPhoneography and my Pinterest board has got more than 3700 followers!
Pinterest is very focused around images, which is a reason why it can feel like such a peaceful space. But some nuggets are more text oriented and don't really work well to share on Pinterest. So I thought I'd try my hand at Flipboard, where the media is more geared towards sharing articles. Here's my new magazine, iPhoneography: Mobile Art & Photography Magazine. The magazine is focused around harnessing your creativity with your iPhone and offers tips, tutorials, tools, news, inspiration, gadgets and apps to keep you inspired. Take a look and see what you think!
In September I'll be taking a break from Marmalade Moon, but I'll still be updating my Pinterest board for Mobile Art & Photography with interesting bits of news. I'll also continue to write my creative journal, where you can follow my creative process, get a peek into my studio, find notes & reflections around illustration, art and design and read the stories behind my work. I hope to see you there!
There are several ways to organize your photos. Some of you may choose to use an app like DropBox, some may use iPhoto for Mac, or perhaps just the standard folder system on your computer. There are many ways to organize them after you transfer them to your computer, but what if you want to organize your photos directly in your iPhone prior to transferring them?
Here are some easy steps on how to create a folder for your photos and how you can move them to the new folder:
- On your iPhone, select the "Photos" icon, which has the picture of a sunflower on it.
- Click on "Albums" in the bottom left corner. You may see several folders created already, if you've been taking photos on your iPhone for a while, or have used several different photo apps. I have 5 myself.
- To create a new folder, tap the + at the top left.
- Type the name of the folder and hit save. A screen will pop up that allows you to go ahead and move some photos.
- Select the Camera Roll folder to locate the photos you would like to move to the new folder.
- Tap the photos that you would like to move and press "Done" in the top right corner.
- To go in and transfer photos to this folder later, after it has been created and saved, select the new folder, press "edit" in the top right corner, press "add" at the bottom, locate the photos in the camera roll that you want to add and press "Done".
*You will notice that the photos still appear in your camera roll. If you delete them from the camera roll, you are also deleting them from the folder that you created. Essentially, creating a folder is kind of like adding a hash tag. So each folder is a separate hash tag, but the main folder, the Camera Roll, contains ALL of the hash tags.
Photo Stream Folders
Creating a separate folder in your Photo Stream is meant for sending to someone in particular and not for organization. If you hit the + to create a new folder, it's going to ask you who you want it sent to. So this is not ideal for organizing.
The easiest way I find to organize my photos is to use the DropBox app. It just makes my life a whole lot easier, as I can create folders just like I would on my laptop, but also delete them from the folder they were in prior to moving them to the new folder.
Also, if you download the DropBox app for your Mac or PC, it will sync your iPhone with the DropBox folder when you are near your computer, which makes it nice when I need to access a photo from my phone for use on my Mac. Here's a tutorial for How to Automatically Backup Your Mobile Photos With Dropbox.
About the Author: Jennifer Lynn Bishop is a freelance graphic designer, artist, and iPhoneographer. Follow her artistic journey at Rainy Day Doodle.