Online With Daniel Marcolina
Online With Daniel Marcolina by Anna Cox
Everyone wants to leave their mark on life. Dreams, ambitions, and goals are set. Some are realized while others are forgotten in the rush of life. Dan is realizing his dreams through mobile photography. He has authored two books solely featuring mobile photography’s ins and outs.
A: Anna D: Daniel
A:Tell me where in the world you are and how your location influences your art.
D: I am based just outside Philadelphia so I am 90 minutes from the ocean in New Jersey. So as a kid most of my interest in photography came when I wanted to capture my surfing buddies in waves. Included with that are the typical nature shots of beach, sky and girls. And since we would travel to certain places like Hatteras, North Carolina, Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii I discovered many pictures killing time between surf sessions. All this picture taking and the love of “surf based” design and graphics lead me to discover graphic design which I studied at Penn State University.
A: How has mobile photography changed your craft
D: My design career started before computers so I learn the “craft” of design without computer shortcuts. How to think conceptually, how to render typography and at the same time I got to work with many top photographers in art directing editorial, corporate and product shots. All along the way I was shooting lots of personal work for group shows. I shot with many different format film cameras and had my own darkroom. But fell in love with alternative cameras mostly Diana’s and Polaroid cameras and as a result I have a collection of over 120 toy and antique cameras. Anything to give the image an ambient interpretive feeling.
Then after working for someone else for many years along came Photoshop 1.0 that was enough to give me the confidence to go on my own so my wife Denise and I started Marcolina Design in 1990. Our early Photoshop collage work gave us an edge over the competition and got us into many design publications and photography books. I remember running to my desk and working late into the night so excited with what was possible, my head was spinning.
So fast forward 20 years and suddenly and as unexpectedly as Photoshop I am experiencing that excitement all over again. The iPhone has brought together all the elements I love; it is the best toy camera ever combined with Photoshop capabilities and now the resolution for excellent printed output. I work with digital images for a living and have been looking at photo imagery for 30 years to illustrate my various design projects. With the democratization of these image manipulation powers I’ve seen the most imaginative, conceptual and unexpected viewpoints I have seen since early Photoshop. I believe we are at the beginning of a historical movement in photography “the mobile movement”. The convergence of: outstanding Tech in a camera that is always with you, along with cheap easy to discover apps and the sharing and learning of techniques within the hugh social gallery called instagram/facebook has allowed many more people to intuitively create with images. With this prolific rise in participation there is as much naïve bad or cliché images and techniques as early Photoshop but also 10 times as many naïve fresh creative images.
We have turned the corner where Digital is no longer a dirty word is it is just part of the processing.
So that was a long explanation to answer your question… I guess the simple answer is mobile has not just changed my workflow but a whole generations workflow.
A: Tell me about iPhone Obsessed and how that came about.
D: So I put off getting an iPhone until the camera reached three megapixels in the 3GS model. And I started looking for apps and info about apps. I uncovered some early classics like Photomuse, Tiltshift, Camerabag and I began to see the potential for alternative image creation. Suddenly my iPhone became my favorite toy camera. Looking in the app store every day I uncovered more and more interesting apps. Not too many people were talking about the subject online. It felt like early Photoshop days when no one had yet discovered the question let alone the answer to the problems/possibility (Of course there was no Internet yet to find answers quickly). Then my daughter Dana call me from New York where she had just come from a fashion with a big deal photographer she told me excitedly that he had taken half the shots with his iPhone. It was then that I start to realize that the iPhoneography was starting to leach into the professional artistic pursuits. So my gears were turning when at a Photoshop World party Peachpit press asked if I had any ideas for a book.
So I poured all my 25 years of designing experience and my new passion for app stacking (using multiple apps on one image) into writing, designing and programming the book iPhone Obsessed and app iObsessed Companion. The book and app have received great reviews from all the iphone photography blogs and although I haven’t made the bestseller list just hearing from people at my talks about how the book has opened them up to a new world within photography really made it worth the effort.
And so like forgetting the pains of child birth after a year I am about to release a new member of the obsessed family called AppAlchemy. It is an appBook for the iPad and features overviews of my 40 essential apps and 32 image formulas some with detailed step by step video tutorials. Over 5 hours of video altogether. It also includes many many resource links and examples of work based around each app by some of the worlds best iPhoneographers. And there is a way to submit your work for inclusion in the live gallery or add your tricks and tips to a live discussion on each app.
Look for it at the end of September in iTunes see the teaser video here https://vimeo.com/47682054
A: There’s a big debate about how and what we should call digital art produced on an iPhone. What’s your opinion?
D: In terms of framing what is happening in the historical timeline of photography I am calling it the “Mobile Movement” and not only mobile meaning cell phone but more where Mobile means fluid creativity anywhere any timemoving within and between classes, occupations, and localities. Plus i still like iPhoneography even though it is specific to a brand sort of like kleenx.
To see more of Daniel’s work: