Mobileography And The Artist Behind The Lens
Image artists are not hard to find with the rise of both mobile photography and affordable DSLR camera gear. When Google+ arrived I wasn’t sure I had time for yet another network on top of the thought of social + Google being synonymous. After several weeks observing and trying out Google+ I found it was very conducive to photography and many well-known image creators were making it a new social home. Along that G+ journey I found mobile photographer Sinead McKeown. She jacked up my curiosity with her mix of Android images and a regular dose of her amazing DLSR macro photography creations. Four things stood out for me with her profile: she creates story images with a DSLR, she uses her Android device to create mobile images and tells a verbal and visual story, she created a community based on mobile photography that draws in people from across the globe, she is also a female (this part is relevant for me since a lot of my favorite photographers are mostly men, so, being able to connect a female perspective can be motivating). The main characteristic that keeps me coming back to Sinead on Google+ or Flickr is her genuine response to her own images or having her comments on other people’s images essentially following the basic rules of social media engagement.
Meet Sinead McKeown.
N: Nakeva S: Sinead
N: How does mobile photography play into your world of beautiful things, jewelry design and traditional photography?
S: Now is such an exciting time for mobile photography! I cheer on anything that allows people to express their creativity and mobileography is such an accessible outlet for that. I love the spontaneity of it, the ease, the joy of editing on the fly and sharing on the go. Mobile photography is everything that I love about traditional photography, with a whole new layer of fun added on top! In the same way that traditional photography requires you to develop an “eye”, mobileography allows you to use and hone that skill almost everywhere you go. I find that I see more and notice more when I’m out and about, because I’m aware of that powerful but tiny device in my purse and how I can use it to share something I found to be unique or beautiful.
Just like in my traditional photography work, I enjoy many different styles and tend to jump all over the place with subject matter in my mobile photography. I love finding new apps and experimenting with editing techniques.
N: What opportunities have been presented to you through your photography (mobile or otherwise)? [photo sales, meeting your favorite photographers, speaking opportunities or personal value from being involved in photo communities]
S: I have been fortunate enough to sell my work, get hired for commissions, participate in netcasts and even have my work published – all because of being involved in online photo communities.
I have made many friends and been inspired by so many people. Having a platform to share your work and hear from other photographers is really powerful, useful and encouraging. I love being part of a community that I can engage with, to share ideas, support each other and just generally be surrounded by other creative minds.
N: What are your thoughts on Android Photography in the art of mobile photography? (iPhoneography is well known and creates a lot of opportunities for exhibitions or expands the creative flow for working photographers. Android phones equally offer opportunity to be spontaneous, creative and take amazing images. Do you think of iPhoneography and Android Photography as one or two separate worlds?)
S: I have a philosophy that photography isn’t about the gear – it’s about the artist behind the lens. For that reason, I tend to treat mobileography as one world, regardless of the device. Purely from a tech standpoint, the cameras keep getting better and better with every new model released and phones are now rivaling point & shoots in terms of features and megapixels.
From the point of view of mobileography as art, I see mobile photography as its own art form in that it differs from SLR photography and often follows a different creative process. I don’t think viewers of mobileography are concerned with which brand of phone was used to make an image – they are interested in mobileography because it is creative, surprising, new and is something they can identify with and feels accessible to them. I think it’s inevitable that the distinction between handsets will disappear and the focus will be where it should be – on the art itself.
N: What prompted you to start the My Mobile Monday group on Google+?
S: I’m very active and involved on G+ and I saw an opportunity to try to bring other mobileographers together to share their work once a week – to inspire each other and to have a reason to keep working on improving the mobileography art form. I also wanted to make sure the group was inclusive of all phone types and to encourage people who hadn’t previously considered mobileography, to get out and give it a try.
I’m so excited by being in the beginning stages of mobile photography. Mobile photography is only going to grow from here and being part of that process is exciting to me. Getting my first Android phone (a Samsung Nexus S) ignited my passion for mobileography. The quality of the images it could produce blew me away and I saw the potential for this art form for the first time.
It has been such a rewarding venture – every week I am amazed at the creativity of the contributions and how encouraging and motivating the mobileography community is!
N: Working from an Android device, photo editing applications are different from iPhone and sometimes present challenges for creativity. What are your favorite processing apps for Android?
S: There are a number of apps that I use on a regular basis. PicSayPro is great for making corrections such as contrast, saturation, cropping etc. It allows you to insert photos on top of other photos for layering effects and also has advanced features such as masking and lens filters that you can control. It’s a great app.
I also enjoy Pixlr-o-matic – it has a TON of filters and effects and allows you to save the image in the original size (exciting!).
Cymera is specialized for portraits, has a nice selection of filters and effects and allows you to use the “tilt-shift” effect as you shoot.
PicShop Lite allows for image layering and has a very cool Focal Point tool that’s worth checking out.
Lastly, PicsArt is one I’ve begun to play around with and I’m enjoying the great selection of effects (listed under “masks”) as well as the textures.
Streamzoo, Vignette and Instagram also factor into my processing choices and I’m so impressed with the selection and quality of photo apps out there.
Huge thanks for sharing a little about your world, Sinead!
About Sinead McKeown
I am a Vancouver, B.C. based photographer working in both traditional and mobile photography. I photograph to express myself, to uncover the hidden things that go unnoticed, to see in a new way. I do a little bit of everything when it comes to photography, but I work mainly in macro, abstract, self-portraiture and mobileography.
Google+: Find the #MyMobileMonday group on Google+ where you can see the weekly TOP PICKS and learn how to participate: gplus.to/mymobilemonday