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.