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On the Street with Maktub Street-Dog

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Dilshad, FEATURE, Featured Articles | 2 comments

On the Streets with Maktub Street-Dog by Dilshad C.

His name is Sacha Dohmen aka maktub street-dog, and he is 36 years old. Sacha lives with his beautiful wife in Belgium in a very rural area in the middle of nowhere between Liège (Belgium), Maastricht (Holland) and Aachen (Germany). “I´m a self taught amateur photographer” as he likes to point out. His work has been featured on P1xels, Mobiography, the Appwhisperer, Mortal Muses and IPhoneography.com, IPhoneography Central, in the first issue of IPhotographer magazine and in the second issue of MobFiction Magazine. He also has got an honourable mention at the Mobile Photo Awards and made the shortlist with 2 of his images on the last IPA quarterly. His work has been exhibited in Prague at the Gallery Kvalitár and in Holešov at the New Drive Club. He is co-organizer of the second Belgian International IPhoneography Art Movement exhibition in Brussels this year. I came across his work sometime ago now, and fall in love with Sacha’s photography straight away! We have spoken many a time and I consider him a friend and a person that I respect, so, to be able to interview him it’s only a great honour, for he is a true source of inspiration for me!

You talkin´to me.

 DC. When I look at your work I truly feel as if I knew what you are feeling, I can see you roaming the streets and trying to catch what other people don’t see! We both have been inspired by the same people or style, so talking to you now gives me only great pleasure! And I thank you for accepting my offer! Before we get into the nitty gritty of this conversation, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? Why maktub street-dog?

M S-D. It´s a pleasure for me. Why maktub street-dog? When I start doing street photography, I did not want to publish under my real name. Street photography is not really legal in Europe. So I needed a pseudonym. Maktub is an Arabic word and literally means: “it is written”. Street-dog from the German “Straßenköter” which mean stray dogs.

Arise And Shine In Necro-City

 DC. Your heart, quite similar to mines, is dedicated to street photography, or specifically to catch peculiar and particular faces and expression or people that, most of the time, are left alone by the general crowd. What is street photography for you?

M S-D. For me, street photography is not a genre of photography. It´s a lifestyle, street photography is the time you can give yourself to watch, observe and understand the people around you. It has changed my life so sudden and with unexpected result, my life took a new direction. I’m more attentive about the people and situation around me and I found an activity that allows me to express myself. I capture a fraction of life and later, build my own storyboard for this person. All I need is a street and my camera to make something extraordinary out of the banal, to create a social drama, to awake emotions.

My motivation to document life and take street shots is to capture and awake emotions. Photography is all about emotions. Street photography is also a social study and a mission; you show the world what life is like.

Dead End Friends

M S-D. Yeah, that is the extraordinary about street photography. You can talk about everything, love, pain, solitude, anger… My camera is a mirror that I tend to the society. It´s not enough to go out and press the shutter, you must have a genuine interest for people and their life.

The Tombstone Blues

 DC. With me, probably because I am pleasurably inspired by Koci, it’s all about people with hats too, but I love them to wear a heavy beard, or to have their faces lived, wrinkled, old… used and abused, I want to see someone that everyone else tries to walk away from, or no one pays attention to, that’s what takes my attention, what is your trigger?

M S-D. I feel like you. Nowadays the world is getting smaller and smaller and people are tending to look more alike. I´m always on the search for people with a certain individuality, in the way they dress, the way they walk, the way they look…

Down So Low

DC. Each time I see one of your photos I am overwhelmed by the capture, their expressions are jaw droopingly good! How do you manage to catch that moment?  Who are these people?

M S-D. Cartier-Bresson called it the decisive moment. Well, in my case I would call it luck. I’m lucky to be at the right moment at the right place and pull the trigger at the right time. In candid street portraiture you have only one chance and this opportunity will only take a fraction of a second. The only thing you can do if you’re fast enough is to shoot twice; the killer in the film shoots always twice. Street Photography is like a game, you get lucky or you get nothing.

Insomnia And the Hole in the Universe

 DC. The characters of your photos are those that I have been looking for all the time, I am truly boggled, how do you find them? Do you talk to them? Is there any one story that will always resonate in your mind?

M S-D. I don´t think when I shoot, I’m a walker, or like the French poet Baudelaire said a flâneur, and my camera is part of the walking. My eyes are always 10-20 feet ahead and search for something to catch. If I´m alone and found an interesting person, I can follow this person for a quarter hour, waiting for the right situation, before I show up out of the crowd like a shark to take my shot. I never talk to them, I´m too shy. As soon as I show up, I dive under again.

Evil Man, Don’t Play Your Games With Me

DC. There are, of course, many ways to do street photography, for me two resonate most. The first just walk around and shoot each time I see a character that tickles my senses! But with this I have one problem: the composition or the background might not be there as I wanted, hence I go into the heavy apping and blurring and scratching, which I also like as a style but it all started because I wanted to cover what I did not wanted to see and concentrate on my main character. The second is to find a location and patiently wait there as a fisherman waits for his catch: I have the story and I just need the protagonist, which hopefully will fall in my net… Where do you see yourself? How do you plan your day? I would love to know how you shoot?

M S-D. For me, the real originator of Street Photography is Garry Winogrand with his book “The Animals” and the streets as zoo. I never plan when I go out in the urban jungle and like Winogrand, I can walk down any street without taking photos. In 99% of cases I shoot from the hip, without thought on the background. I´m only interested on facial expressions, emotions… The background would only distract, regardless of the quality of my composition.  Only in a few of my shots like “Before I Die…” the background is more important or just as important as the protagonist.

Before I Die…

DC. Your editing style is wonderful, how much experimentation does that involve? Do you know exactly what do you want to achieve or sometime you are sitting there, scratching your head and thinking “I Love this one but also this and this, which one should I go for?”

M S-D. Thank you. I think the most important thing is to find one’s own style. Once we found the style, the rest comes from alone. I use primarily black & white, it´s the purest form of photography. As I said earlier, photography is all about emotions and I think black & white focuses the emotions better. Then I heavy blur the background. Black and white and the blur reduce my picture to its essential elements. My third step is to add scratches and texture, for this point, I´m very influenced by the music I listen while I work on the photo: dirtier the music, dirtier the edit. Bruce Gilden said “If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it´s a street photograph”. This is my workflow to make people smell the street.

 DC. You have a few on-going series, can you talk to me about these? The one with the 99 shades of crazy characters is my favourite! How did you come up with the idea?

M S-D. As I start with street photography 4 years ago, make series was a way for me to learn to see. I went out of the street with the purpose of only photographing bearded man, the next day only smokers, and so forth… After 4 years on the street I´m not sure if this is something that lets learn, but this little series help me a lot.

The idea after the “99 Shades Of Crazy” project is simple, find 99 extraordinary character that many would call crazy and thus show that there is no “normal” in our wonderful crazy world. In one or other sense, we are all crazy. That we are all different makes the world just interesting.

99 Shades Of Crazy (04)

 DC. Does having an on-going project help you? What would you say to some that maybe is struggling with its motivation?

M S-D. Yes for those who have a problem of motivation, a project is the perfect remedy. Starts a 365 project (1 image/day/year). Or the IPod shuffle project may be a good idea, I don´t know if it already exists, every morning you press the shuffle button and during the day you try to make a picture that has to do with the title.

Personally, I think this kind of project does not help me. The first reason is that if I’m too focus on something, I miss other occasion. The second reason is that if I force myself to post a photo every day, I will publish photos that I regret later.

99 Shades Of Crazy 01

 DC. Do you get stuck? Do you sometime doubt what you are doing? If yes, how you come out, what is that one thing that inspires you?

M S-D. Street Photography is an art that nobody wants to hang in his living room. Of course I doubt from time to time. But like Robert De Niro says in Heat “I do what I do best” and I don´t know how to do anything else.

 DC. Out of all the photos you have taken, which one are the three that you really are in love with? And why, what is the story behind?

M S-D. My favourite picture is definitively “It´s Coming Down”, a simple street portrait. I always want to take pictures that stimulate the imagination of the viewer and I´m not really a fan of a picture saying, “this is what it is”. I think this works very well in this picture. The story of this picture is really simple. Non-scheduled I take the bus to Aachen, the next town near my village. When I get off of the bus, I start directly to shoot. After two minutes, I realize that I forgot my bag in the bus. Damn, my IPad, my papers, my money, and my keys… A non-stop one-kilometre sprint to the central station, but the bus was gone. After a lot of discussion and phone calls, a driver told me my bag was found and that I should wait until the bus come back. Always worry if everything was still in it, I was there when this woman came studying the timetable. I knew immediately this is my picture of the day.

It´s Coming Down

“Just You And Me” This is a shot from a trip to Maastricht Holland. One of the rules in street photography is be invisible and adapt yourself to the environment. When I left my house in Belgium three hours earlier, the weather was just awful so I dressed me accordingly. My thickest Barbour Jacket, leather boots, a hat… That and over 1 meter 90 tall is all you need to be discovered if the local weather conditions are not the same. Impossible to photograph unrecognized. So I have to rethink my options.  For this shot I saw this guy take a cigarette and instead to stand still and to photograph him, I distracted him “can I have one too?” and while I went up to him I shoot from the hip.

Just You And Me

“Got To Find A Better Way” The first thing I noticed when I saw her, was with what dignity she wears her age. There was nothing to do with the sad, the miserable and pathetic of most of my street shots. Full of vitality, she looks just great, and for sure, a lot of young lady´s would love to be like her when their get old.

Got To Find A Better Way

DC. Flickr is your home, and you have been incredibly popular in there, what’s the secret behind this? On the other hand, it seems that Instagram is somewhere that you don’t really post, why?

M S-D. Ok, let´s start with Instagram. The main reason why I´m not active on Instagram are all the, follow me, follow me and “a like for a like” type of people. Naturally, every time I have a picture in the “Flickr Explore” twenty people added me to their favourites. The difference is that these people don´t harassed me. Why I am so successful at Flickr?

I think the secret is to just follow the work of someone we admire. I have roughly 200 contacts that I follow on Flickr. Some four years. Among others Richard Koci Hernandez or John Fullard whose work I admired for years, they still have never comment or fav on one of my photos. It’s all the same to me. I prefer people who do not like what I did and ignore me that people who “likes” anything without looking.

DC. Where can we find you? And if someone would like to learn how to edit with your style, what should they do? Do you have some tutorials around that we can check out?

I just start my own website and blog about street photography

The aim is to give tip and tricks about street photography and feature photographers I admire. If you are interested?

DC. Thank you, is this an offer? (Happily Smiles).

M S-D. MOB Fiction Magazine just published in their second issue one of my tutorials. The complete issue is about street photography and worth every cent. Otherwise you can find me on Flickr and Facebook

DC. Would you like to add anything that I have missed?

M S-D. I thank you from the bottom of my hearth for this opportunity, I noted that the questions were chosen carefully and with passion like all what you do.

DC. Again, thank you ever so much for your time and please don’t stop, for each time I see your photos I just want to go out and shoot!! You are one incredible person and I hope that I will have the honour to personally meet you and go out for walk!

A Passionate Woman in Seattle

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Featured Articles, Rachel Marie | 10 comments

We Are Juxt Rewind: This article was originally published September 7, 2012

Instagramers Seattle Spotlight – Nicole Lock @passionatewoman by Rachel S.

Rachel’s Intro:

I’ve enjoyed Nicole’s photography for a while now, and I think what draws me to her work is the mood and emotion she captures in places that are so familiar to me.  Likewise, her images of places I’ve yet to explore leave me wanting more and feeling almost as though I’ve been there…

R:  Rachel  N:  Nicole

R:  Tell us about yourself:  Are you from the Seattle Area?  I noticed in your feed that you recently graduated from UW.  What did you study?

N:  I was born in Spokane and lived there until I was 16 when my mom moved us to Redmond. When we moved I skipped high school and went straight to Bellevue College. At first, I didn’t have many friends besides my younger sisters, my car and a camera.  That’s where my love of photography really began. I guess you could say my first Seattle best friend was my camera. At the same time another passion began to grow as I began taking Sociology classes focusing on feminism and activism. Eventually education led me to UW where I majored in Social Sciences with a focus on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity studies.

Currently, I’m taking a year off to just be, take the GRE, and apply to graduate school. During my break I want to continue focusing on my interests and begin merging photography and feminism in to something new and unique. I’m thinking of some self-portraiture ideas that would make a statement about my beliefs and fears regarding the state of the world and views on gender and sexuality, but it’s quite a challenge because I usually never plan photos out. Traditionally, I just follow my eye.

R:  This is one of my favorite shots from Seattle’s new Great Wheel… why did you choose this perspective over the more common up-shots of our newest local attraction?

N:  As I said, I’m really not one to plan out a photograph; I just let them happen. My boyfriend and I were riding the wheel at sunset for the first time. When I looked out across the network of metal structure, I was fascinated by the contrast between angled firmness and the soft rolling landscape behind. It felt like the frame was leading my eye to the beauty behind it, as if it were a railroad. To me, this perspective alludes to my belief that man can make nothing as beautiful as Mother Nature but rather only help lead you back to her glorious landscapes.

R:  This particular image will be on display at the IGers Seattle / We Are Juxt mobile photography exhibit at Neptune Coffee this month.  We selected more than 100 photographs from local mobile photographers based on the theme “summer vibes.”  To me, this photo embodies Seattle ‘Summer’ up until about the first week of August. ;)   How do you stay inspired through all of our gloomy weather months?

N:  Haha! Funny thing is, I actually went on this ferry ride looking for inspiration. It seems that Seattle gloom causes us to do well in finding the brightness around us. This photo was taken on a dark Seattle day but I chose a brighter more cheery edit to bring out what light there was. Sometimes when you can’t beat the weather, the dreariness becomes its own source of art. There is still a lot of freedom when it comes to rain and darkness, you just have to learn to work with it in unique ways. Though, the upside to always dealing with grey weather is that when the sun does finally come out, I am filled with inspiration and excitement. You know how crazy this city gets when the first sunny spring day occurs – everyone gets outside and soaks it in! You learn to appreciate the sun so much more.

R:  What’s the one photo editing app you would be lost without, and why do you love it?

N:  Hmm… It depends on the month really. I tend to get obsessed with one app at a time, though I usually process an image with more than one app. The first app I fell in love with, which I still use quite frequently, was Camera+. Its ability to capture photos quickly while processing them in the background makes it very useful. For a while I was obsessed with Phototoaster as I enjoyed its bright highly contrasted filters and how easy it was to make and save your own filter designs. Snapseed is a constant love of mine though I definitely didn’t get obsessed with it. I prefer it mostly for its selective adjustments where you can choose one part of the photograph to edit. Most recently, I’ve been in love with Picfx and Photoforge2. Photoforge2’s Pop! Cam is a lot of fun and allows for great creative freedom while Pixfx is great for its lovely preset filters providing the opportunity to quickly edit and transform an image.

Photo Credit: Alex Bergh

R:  What came first:  the iPhone or the Rebel? What is it about photography that keeps you shooting?

N:  I’ve been shooting with a Rebel since I was 18, so four years. I only got the iPhone a few years ago. Now I mostly shoot with my Rebel and then process through my iPhone. I also just recently got an iPad and processing on that thing is AWESOME. I feel like I don’t really have a choice in whether I shoot or not, I just have to! Sometimes it feels like a craving to take pictures is so strong it radiates from my chest – it’s kind of ridiculous. The iPhone saves me in that regard because I always have it with me. New apps, lenses, toys, and traveling whenever I have the chance help keep me inspired. I feel it’s impossible to go to a new place without taking at least 200 photos.


R:  What are your personal pros and cons to shooting with iPhone vs your Rebel?

N:  I love my Rebel and my iPhone but they both do very different things for me. The Rebel allows for more freedom, better ranges of my depth of field, long exposures, and lower aperture. It comes with a lot more creative freedom in those regards. The extra megapixels are quite nice as well. But it’s a lot more of a liability to carry around, it doesn’t just slip into your pocket, and those photos are stuck on there until I can get them home and on my computer. My iPhone on the other hand is just a photography machine. It takes lovely photographs, allows for me to process them with millions of different apps, and then upload and share them with the world. It’s just amazing when you really think about it. I really love them both individually but my favorite trick is using my iPhone and iPad for processing images from the Rebel.

R:  What are some of your favorite Pacific Northwest places to shoot?

N:  We are so blessed to live here aren’t we? There are so many places to see and capture. One of my regular spots, which is obvious by my Instagram feed, is Golden Gardens. That place always amazes me and I don’t think I will ever have enough photographs of the sunsets. Beyond Seattle, the Oregon coast is one of my most favorite places, but I don’t get there often enough. I just love the combination of lush forests, ragged rocks, sandy beaches, and tide pools. There is so much to photograph down there! I love the rivers in the Cascades and even the one’s on the Eastern side of the state. Green Lake is also a pretty frequent stop for me, it’s so close and one of the most spectacular city parks we have. Discovery Park is named very well, as there is a lot to discover and capture. Every time I go my photos look completely different than the last trip. Mt. Rainier is a fantastic place for photographers, but again I don’t get out there nearly enough. I also do a lot of camping outside of Ellensburg and it’s fun to shoot there because the trees, flowers, and landscapes are so different from this side of the state. I still have SO much to explore…

R:  I asked Nicole to shoot a special Northwest series for us, to tell us a little bit about what inspires her and why she chose these images:

N:  When I got this challenge I was very nervous about it, planning out photos is not my strong suit. Luckily I had a road trip planned to go see my dad, best friend, and my baby brother in Eastern Washington. When we started out I felt like the photographs I was taking were so mediocre… I got really worried about it. But once we got out to my dad’s home and started adventuring, things just came together. I have been so nostalgic for Eastern Washington summers. My childhood was filled with lakes, camping, swimming, boating and all kinds of outdoor adventures. The hot weather and the lack of people is just something that isn’t easy to find this side of the mountains. So I wanted to go with a soft edit that made the photos appear sort of dreamy, like something of the past. I used Photoforge2’s Pop! Cam and the Soft Optics lens with the washed out effect from the processing option. From there I used Fotor to add some more color.

N:  This trip was absolutely amazing. The photo of the power lines was taken on our way there, in the desert. I love the drive on i90 towards Spokane; it’s something I’ve done countless times in my life, as I’ve always had family on this side of the state. The photo of the trees and the clouds was taken at my dad’s property, which is as beautiful and relaxing as I attempted to capture. The last picture, of the river, was taken during a hike to some natural water slides out at Priest Lake. I haven’t had that much fun adventuring in a very long time. This series really reminded me of the nostalgia for childhood summers I feel every year. At least I could capture it.

Nicole Lock

Nicole is a northwestern native, and continues to believe it is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, regardless of where she travels. She spends most of her time working towards a future in education putting her time and energy in to studying. But, during those few moments of calm, she reconnects with the world through her lens.

IG username:  @passionatewoman
Hometown:  Spokane, WA
Current location:  Seattle, WA
Camera(s):  iPhone 4 and Cannon EOS Rebel

Love, Faith, & Magic. The mobile art of Erin Leight

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles, Todd L | 3 comments

Love, Faith, & Magic. The mobile art of Erin Leight by Todd L

“What is soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.” – Ray Charles.

This quote, like many others, accompanies the work of Pennsylvania mobile artist Erin Leight. Her eye for composition, combined with her ability to reach us on an emotional level, imbues her work with soul, and is presented with sincerity. Whether the subject matter is landscape, architecture, or still life, she has passion & patience, and accents the greater aspects of humankind.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Erin and ask her few questions about herself and her mobile photography. Here is her story.

Todd: Would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself, including how you got your start with mobile photography?

Erin: Since an early age, I’ve always felt it wasn’t truly a good day unless I created something new. My fascination with type began when my parents gave me a calligraphy set at the age of 8. I wrote and illustrated stories from an early age and realized how words could enhance an image, and vice versa. I collected strange and interesting trinkets and arranged them in still lifes just because it was satisfying. When I look back on my childhood, I realize it was the precursor for what I now do with my mobile photography.

I was formally trained in journalism and advertising copywriting. I saw it as a way for my creativity to be profitable. I wrote scripts for print, radio and tv ads and did voiceover work for a few years before realizing my heart was more in the creative design aspect of advertising. I bought a Mac, taught myself the basics of design and jumped headlong into freelance graphic design. Over the past four years I’ve built a successful custom wedding stationery design business.

As far as my introduction to mobile photography, a little over two years ago a friend said, “I found a great app you should try. Do you take a lot of pictures with your phone?” My answer was a firm, “No.” I downloaded the app anyway and was immediately pulled in by the concept of random and spontaneous creativity that could be instantly shared. Aside from one class in college, I had never dabbled in photography so I was a virtual newcomer to the genre when I began focussing on mobile photography.

I backed away from advertising copywriting because I felt there was a certain level of manipulation involved that I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with. I’m still drawn to the idea that reaching a target market is like solving a puzzle. But I feel like mobile photography allows an opportunity to connect with an audience through emotion and common interests… and allows one to make that connection with a modicum of soul and authenticity. I painstakingly labor over each shot with the hope that what I’ve created will touch people and be meaningful to them.

A Quiet Little Moment Hovering Between Winter and Fall

Todd: How would you say your style has evolved since the very first image you shared?

Erin: I rarely look back at my early Instagram posts, but your question prompted me to revisit and analyze a bit. I seemed to be concerned with composition from the beginning but I was all over the place stylistically. I edited only with IG filters for my first few months… so my style was very raw, primitive and exploratory at best. I snapped what I saw and tried to make it work.

I think my style has evolved to be a bit more refined and focused, with the intent behind each post being that I present something unique to the viewer. If I snap a shot, look at it and think “anyone could snap and post this shot,” then I don’t want to post it. There needs to be an element of something that’s uniquely “my world” in each shot, or it feels somehow unauthentic and unsatisfying to me.

There is not a Sprig of Grass that Shoots Uninteresting to me- Thomas Jefferson

Todd: How do you select objects to feature in your photos?

Erin: I always want the objects to have a little bit of soul, history and meaning to them… an air of timelessness. When I’m doing a word collage, I choose objects that fit the timeless mold, conceptually work and just feel right in the flow of the space.

Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” – William Faulkner

Todd: Your images are often accompanied by quotations. How do those quotes play into the process of creating an image? Does the quote influence the image, or is it the other way around?

Erin: I always create the image first and seek out words that enhance the meaning of the photo and represent my mood at the time I worked on the shot. If I feel like an image is traditional or bordering on mundane, I tend to put pressure on myself to find words that will lend weight or a deeper meaning to the shot. (I think one of the best examples of making my caption work to fit the image is “Love” in which the V is a wishbone.)

 Love is measured yet organic, wishful yet wise. Love is about the grand scheme but, even more so, about the details.”

Todd: Although you’ve been focusing on still life more recently, your gallery consists of a great deal of nature and architectural shots. Did they become the catalyst/inspiration for later still life?

Erin: I appreciate the random beauty of nature and the orderliness of architecture. But each one is what it is. I began to feel less and less satisfaction out of shooting something that just is what it is and could be captured by anyone that chooses to shoot it. I get much more creative satisfaction out of manipulating natural and manmade objects to create a sort of orderly randomness.

“There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.” – Colette

Todd: You have a great command of the formal elements of art: line, shape, space, etc. In addition to being a designer, do you have a background in photography?

Erin: I took a basic art class in 8th grade, one introductory photography class in college, I’m a self-taught graphic designer and illustrator, so any command of the formal elements of art I’ve gained over the years has come from trial and error and sheer instinct. I think I approach photography with a designer’s sensibility. At the same time, I find that mobile photography is helping me refine my eye for detail in all areas of design. What I create through mobile photography combines all the things I love in design and is the most fun I’ve had over the course of my career.

“With faith and love anything is possible.”

The image above was created by Erin for a very special reason, and is a true example of the power of friendship and community. To find out more please view this link on Instagram and consider making a contribution.

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Todd: What are your plans for the future with mobile photography?
Erin: I’m developing a line of stationery using my still life and collage work. My plan is to take it one step further and, once photographed, create framed three dimensional assemblages of the collages.

I’ve started doing commissioned collage work for individuals, nonprofit organizations and businesses. To be able to combine several of my passions and interests and venture down a new career path is an exciting prospect to me.

I’m looking forward to an upcoming collage project for an extremely worthy cause, Watts of Love (@watts_of_love) a global solar lighting nonprofit providing sustainable lighting products to poverty stricken regions in order to vastly improve quality of life. wattsoflove.org

I’m also excited about a mobile photography collage project I just completed for a major printing company that will be revealed at the end of April.
First and foremost I want mobile photography to be a creative escape for me, but I do think mobile photography can bridge a gap between marketing/advertising and artistic expression.

“There’s a bit of magic in everything.” – Lou Reed

(Review) Nomad ChargeCard for Smart Phones

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Mike Hill, Reviews | 0 comments

The ChargeCard from Nomad Goods is a USB charging cable for your smart phone, that is the size of a credit card. It can be plugged into any USB outlet, to charge and transfer data to and from your device, the same as would the cable that came with it, only it fits in your wallet and you never have to be without it.

The way it works is, it has a flexible cable that pops out of place in the center of the card, which fits into any USB port, and the other end plugs into your devices normal charging port. The cord can be twisted and bent around to allow the best ease of securing it in place. The total thickness is about the same as two credit cards stacked on top of each other.

It comes in three different cable versions:

Micro USB – for Windows and Android devices. It also works for iPhone cases like Mophie that require you to use the micro USB.

Lightning – for iPhone 5, 5S, and 5C.

iPhone 30 pin – for older iOS models.

It can also be used with the power adapter to plug into the wall, it basically works the same as your cord, and fits snug enough to hang your phone from, though I don’t recommend that in most situations.

It’s a pretty simple, straight forward idea,  not a whole lot more to say about it. It works like it says and takes up very little room in your wallet. There is also a version that fits on your keyring, which more resembles a key, called the ChargeKey. All in all I think it’s a really cool thing to have just in case. Even if you leave the house with a full battery, and plan to be some place where there will be power cords, I’d rather have the ChargeCard and not need it, than need it and not have it. Go here to order yours today!

 

Outside of Time: Exploring Marche

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles, Travel | 2 comments

A group of eight talented photographers and bloggers from all over Europe were invited to Marche, Italy for a four-day photography trip of the local area.  The aim to was help raise the profile of tourism in the region. Our days were packed solid from morning to night visiting local towns, learning about the culture and history and meeting local people from the region.

Marche is one of the lesser-known of Italy’s 20 regions. It’s located on the eastern seaboard on the Adriatic coast, with Tuscany and Umbria to the west and San Marino to the north. It is very much an agricultural area and as we drove through the countryside and over the rolling hills, the beauty in the simple landscape really stood out for me. It was breathtaking and seemingly untouched by modern buildings and construction.

We arrived at Bologna airport and took a transfer to our hotel which took about two hours.  We stayed at the quaint four-star Hotel Le Grotte in the heart of Frasassi.  A small hotel of just 23 rooms, which boasts stunning views of the Frasassi Gorge and surrounding landscape.  The hotel was clean, the staff were friendly and helpful and more importantly, the hotel had free WiFi, a must for all, especially Instagrammers!  What made it really special was the addition of the hotel’s spa.  A Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna were most welcome after a long day of walking and exploring.

Whilst there, we visited many of the local towns in the region but a few really stood out for me. The first was a town call Arcevia, built circa 11th century, it’s situated 500 metres above sea level and has 10 castles surrounding it.  The local people are said to live such long lives due to the pure air quality high up in the town.  Whilst there, the mayor of the town met us and invited us into his chambers, proud to share the local history with us.

The second was a small town call Serra San Quirico.  As we walked into the town’s square, I got the sense that time had stopped for this place.  The locals sat on their door steps just enjoying the day and catching up with one another and there was a feeling that there really was no rush here.  A local council member met us for a tour of the town and whilst walking down seemingly normal side streets, I was surprised that some of the buildings housed elaborately decorated churches that really took my breath away.  Such hidden treasures hiding in plain sight.

Everyone we met on the streets we walked had a smile and a few words for us. Always happy to pass the time of day and extremely open and friendly. I think this is something that is certainly missing from my busy life. Time is precious and the Italian people embrace it wholeheartedly.

It was easy to lose yourself in the small streets and alleyways and yet not feel lost or unsafe. In fact, wandering around the back streets is the best way to find some of the hidden treasures Marche has to offer.

I couldn’t talk about my trip without mentioning the food and wine. In the U.K., for dinner I normally eat a main course and the occasional dessert on a weekend but in Italy, they know how to eat. Each meal was easily 5-6 courses if not more. I honestly lost count most of the time, falling into a food-induced haze.  Fresh pasta, meats and bread were in abundance to satisfy any appetite.

The region produces some delicious wine and we had an opportunity to visit several vineyards to sample them. My favourite was the Moncaro winery and I loved the view of the vines growing in the valleys below us whilst having a chance to sample the wine before buying it.  I certainly left with few extra bottles in my bag to take home and will no doubt order more for delivery too.

As a visitor to Italy, I can see how places like Rome, Venice and Tuscany could be favoured over less known places like Marche, but now I know what’s here I will definitely be back to explore this beautiful region again.

There is a timeless feel to Marche and if I had to pick one place to just stop and watch the world go by, this would be it.

To see more photos and videos from the trip to Marche, check #exploringmarche2 on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

100 Million

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Fabs, Featured Articles | 1 comment

We Are Juxt Rewind: This post was originally published on May 21, 2013

100 Million by Fabs G

Fabs Introduction
I was a crawling babe on IG when I got in touch with Crispin Giles’ (aka @100million) feed. I got amazed by the free spirit I’ve found there; scratches, juxtapositions, strong body language, street photography, all mixed to create an extreme narrative full of originality and energy. Immediately he became an inspiration, and because of that I was planning this interview since I join JUXT on December 2011. But we all know, life happens and there is a time for everything; during this time, Crispin  became the creator and one of the minds behind Tiny Collective; a group of talented people around the world who do a really great work when it comes to push mobile/social photography to its limits. On this interview we talk about Tiny, its initiatives and the partnership with Impossible Project, Backspaces and of course, his creative process. Please have a sit and meet this awesome artist. Enjoy it.

“It feels like we’re in a kind of a mobile renaissance now and I think we’re going to continue to see the things grow and mature with mobile photography becoming an accepted stream in photography, and I mean accepted into the mainstream.”

F: Fabs C: Crispin

F:  To begin with: tell us about the early days of Tiny. Who came out with the idea and how did you work the concept?

C:  In the summer of 2011 I was looking to start a group and I asked my friend Roni if she’d want to start something. We ended up doing a group collab with our mutual friend Instatone, we called it #tinycollab and it kind of went viral. I mean kind of. Not in a way that had millions of people involved, but in a way that showed us there were people out there into working on stuff collaboratively, in a group setting, so things kind of gained some momentum after that. I remember calling the group Tiny Mobile Collective for awhile, and I set up a really lame tumblr with that name. It wasn’t long before we shortened it to Tiny Collective and asked more of our friends to join and built a way more focused portfolio at  tinycollective.com

But when I was first going around asking people if they wanted to start a group, there was kind of this question like – “what’s this all about?” “What does it mean and why would I want to do this?” And I mean, yeah – fair questions for sure. So it just took getting the right people together, finding the right fit with personalities and styles and interest levels etc. It’s not an easy exercise bringing a bunch of people together (many of whom have never actually met in person) and trying to pull off even the most humble of projects together. But when it works it’s awesome.

F:  Talking about Tiny’s mission, what does it mean, in practical terms, to ” propel and explore the new social area of digital arts”?

C:  In creative terms this means pushing ourselves and each other to do new work, to try new things, not rely on easy patterns and familiar ways doing things. To be engaged and present and plugged into what we’re doing – as a group, as individuals.

During a group meeting, it was Koci who came up with the concept of “social photography”. Replacing “mobile” with “social” as a way to really focus and underline the human connectivity behind the mobile community. That there is this very tangible, and genuine social component at play here. Not only with what we’re engaging in together on sites like IG etc. but how this community has helped bring like-minded people together to work on projects outside of these sites (of course I’m talking specifically about Tiny here), and I think it just helped remind us how the larger community has really become an important aspect of it all.

“Mobile photography is probably the most democratic an art form I can think of, besides finger-painting or something.”

F:  Where do you see Mobile Photography and Mobile Arts going? You have been  there since the very beginning. What role do you expect Tiny to play and how can groups like Tiny support photographers and artists?

C:  It feels like we’re in a kind of a mobile renaissance now and I think we’re going to continue to see the things grow and mature with mobile photography becoming an accepted stream in photography, and I mean accepted into the mainstream. I feel like there’s going be more events specific to mobile photography and with innovations by cool companies like Impossible leading the way and pushing the boundaries between old and new ways of doing things, we’ll continue to see more engagement and crossover from mobile to different forms of photography.

In general terms I think Tiny Collective will continue to generate ideas, and explore new ways in which we can animate ourselves in the community. Ways we can continue to develop our thing as a group, as well as remain active in our personal artistic pursuits too. That’s the cool thing about Tiny; we’re together but also apart so there’s this push and pull that keeps the work fresh. I think groups, if handled with care and run well, can be awesome. Kind of like a home base where members can draw energy and bounce ideas around and kind of just feel part of something bigger than themselves. We’re all human and for the most part require interaction and communication with other humans. For the most part.

F:  I see more and more, a great distance between what is a community play (Instagram, EyeEm) and what is a real artistic movement/behavior. But we must agree that these communities helped a lot to develop the creativity inside this new “darkroom”. Do you see them more apart in the future or is there any chance yet?

C:  Well, I think there’s bound to be creative shifts and movements within any community at any given time. I mean we’ve seen that with various groups and projects maybe starting to take things more seriously, maybe deciding to become more organized, others maybe parring back a bit and becoming more lean and flexible. I’ve definitely seen more people take a greater interest in mobile photography, and that comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I find it really exciting watching this happen, and I’m totally seeing a kind of collective confidence emerge as well. People seem to be taking things into their own hands and empowering themselves, choosing to showcase in different ways, on different sites and I think this illustrates how far things have come in such a short time.

But I think there’s always going to be a place for the uninitiated, the casual, or the curious. You know, room to investigate things, to become involved by starting at zero, by learning what they can do and what they can say with mobile. And of course there as many avenues as there are those involved in this pursuit, this all really speaks to the democracy of the medium.

F:  How do you guys decide the creative direction of the group?

C:  Because there’s a lot going on and so much to deal with, responding to everything as a group can be impractical. We’ve figured out ways of working within the group context, and found what works, what doesn’t. With the core members, everything is put to vote. Things like membership and invitations are all done by nomination and then invites are sent to perspective members based on this elective process.  We’ve recently started identifying a lot of specific roles and responsibilities within the group and had to organize things a bit more officially lately as well, just to stay on top of everything. Bringing together a group of people to work on creative things requires a lot of structure to get projects done. But it’s surprisingly easy to come to consensus on stuff when you’re working with the calibre of great people we currently have in Tiny.

F:  Can you tell us what is next for Tiny Collective? Besides the site, where else are you going to spread the word?

C:  Well, at the end of June we’re involved in this very cool partnership with Impossible Project where we’re gonna open 9 shows in 9 consecutive days in in 9 different cities in 5 different countries. Will be something like 900 unique images in all. It’s crazy. Every show will be printed live, on opening night, exclusively using Impossible Instant Lab. It’s a really forward thinking device that processes Impossible prints directly from the iPhone. Very cool, It basically bridges the worlds of instant and mobile photography. We’re all really excited about it. You can check it out here.

F:  IMO you are one of the thinkers from this so called “mobile photography community”. I see it very clearly when it comes to Tiny. When it comes to 100million, I see an intuitive, flammable and sometimes meditative artist behind the image making you do. Can you say something about this? Is there a Crispin, that is a thinker, and then 100million who is the image maker?

C:  I think there’s a ton of people doing really incredible things in the mobile community now. Every day I’m blown away by the talent and creativity I see out there. I can learn so much, you know, just be exposed to so many cool ideas just watching stuff scroll past me on my phone. It’s kind of incredible. But I think I’m like everyone, you know, my work shows different sides of myself at different times. For sure there’s a pensive side, and a moodiness to me as a person but there’s also carefree and playful sides to me as well. I mean, I believe we’re all multi-faceted and we are revealing variations of ourselves at any given time. I think subconsciously it all comes through in what we shoot.

F:  On your profile you say : “I am not concerned with purity, technique or the reverence of past movements and their tired conventions.” On the other hand I really believe that this quote by Ansel Adams applies to you: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” Am I right? If so, how these two worlds play inside you?

C:  I did say that didn’t I? Sounds a bit precious. I think what I was sort of trying to assert my own place, and also kind of make no apologies for having an uneducated hand at photography. Maybe some self-inflicted pressure about legitimacy or something. “I’m here and I’m doing my thing and I don’t need to know what I’m doing…”  Sounds ridiculous actually. But of course, none of it matters. Mobile photography is probably the most democratic an art form I can think of, besides finger-painting or something. I like some of the pictures I make, and if others do too, then that’s cool. I don’t have anything to prove. If I did I’d probably use something other than a phone to take pictures.

But yeah, I totally agree. We bring all that we’ve absorbed into everything we do, and influences can be something outside the sphere for sure. We experience things we don’t even know we’re letting in and in turn we push it back out again. I mean, this is totally how we learn. Everything is fluid.

F:  I believe that style is more about what someone chooses to capture as a human being than the way someone edits an image. I do believe that if I take off all the noise from some of your images, the 100million’s seed will still be there. The eye of the hurricane. Can you describe your creative process? Why and how you make the choices behind your images? Did you ever had some kind of turning point where you found a verve which you don’t have realized yet?

C:  That’s interesting. I think style is just another version or facsimile of something. Something you design, something you seek out maybe. I mean I believe this is totally connected to our subconscious, to the choices we make as people in the world and the parts we want to expose about ourselves to other people in the world. First impressions, ego, self image, all of that. But in the end, I think it’s all the same thing. If I can have an honest reaction to a picture, then I don’t see the difference between a raw shot and an app-stacked piece. For me it’s all about feeling something. I just don’t believe there’s a pure and not pure, a true and false at play here. I don’t like to make that distinction.

So yeah.. I have no idea why I take one picture and not the next, and on a good day there’s no conscious choice being made. I am not in control. It’s all impulse, and everything seems like it’s on auto when I’m really really focused on what I’m doing. And I LOVE that. I think there’s a strange irony in such a focus equalling impulse. It’s a state of mind, and this is where plateaus are broken, where personal limitations are explored and I think ultimately where we grow as artists by pushing these lines out to the maximum.

F:  You said Backspaces is a game changer and I do agree with you; can you give us more thoughts about it?

C:  I just think there’s always so many different ways of saying something, of expressing yourself creatively. On IG it’s very much a static, kind of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ kinda environment – and that’s awesome. And with Backspaces it opens up this whole other space, I mean not only with the ability to add multiple images to a post, but the ability to add text I think really just widens the field of possibilities. It pushes the narrative. That said, I rarely add text to my BS posts… So there you go. But yeah, it’s a very happening app and the guys behind it are equally as happening. Super good people.

F:  When it comes to music; what’s your soundtrack now? Do you listen to something while shooting? I barely do that to keep me alert ;)

C:  I actually don’t listen to music when I’m out shooting. Most of my day is centred around music, in my job, so it’s kinda like a reprieve to go out and walk without listening to music. I will definitely wear headphones when I’m on the street taking pictures, but rarely is there any music playing. Right this second, as I write this, I’m riding a streetcar west on Dundas St. listening to Mikal Cronin’s new record MCII. Highly recommended listen. So good…

F:  Give me your TOP 5 anything. =)

C:  Great question!

1. My beautiful wife Priya
2. My confusing, and often frustrating creative experiences
3. My life in the Bush of Ghosts
4. My runner’s  high
5. The freedom to communicate my confusing and often frustrating creative experiences

Meet Crispin Giles here:
Tiny Collective // Backspaces // Instagram

The Other Half of #SundayBluesEdit

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Featured Articles, Rebecca C, Sunday Blues Edit | 7 comments

The Other Half of #SundayBluesEdit:  An Interview w/ Monica Izquieta by Rebecca C

I must first admit that I am biased towards @Izzylune.  I know her in the “real world” beyond the invisible Instagram walls, but it was her photos that first drew me in and made me want to know her, the woman, the person.  This is a powerful pull not to be underestimated.  With the glut of visual imagery we see all day, every day, to make someone want to know you with your images is  pretty powerful stuff.

Most of you know Monica as Izzy or just the incredible @izzylune. Her charm, wit and enthusiasm comes through in her every post and comment. If you haven had a chance to interact with her, you’re missing a level of intelligence and insight rarely found in the world of IG.  Initially, I “met” Izzy through the images she started tagged in my #sundaybluesedit tag. Her raw emotion was impossible to ignore.  Something in her beautiful huge blue eyes made me fall in love with her in a way that connected souls do. That sounds cheesy but, in her, I recognized myself. A younger me.

Izzy is alive with a spirit that draws people to her, so when I felt like the @sundaybluesedit needed a co-pilot I knew exactly who to ask.  After just a few days I felt as if I had known her all my life.  She has an undeniable passion for art, photography and all the emotions that come with the blues.  She’s also and amazing photographer in her own right who weaves fairy tale magic out of the most ordinary of daily scenes.  I’ve always wanted to know how she makes her magic…so I decided to ask.

Who are you and what you do in your real life?
In my real life I’m  a mother to the two lovely children often showcased in my gallery, an avid gardener, a glorified proof reader for local accountants and at one time, a fine arts major who loved getting her hands dirty.

Tell me about your love affair with mobile photography
My love affair with mobile photography happened really quite by accident.  I had been shooting with big girl cameras for roughly 7 years,  before that I tinkered with old school manual cameras, and by tinker I mean broke.  During that time, I shot mainly my children and landscapes, scratch that, I still only shoot that!

I’m admittedly a first generation iPhone user but I didn’t discover that my phone could create such amazing photography until probably my 3rd iPhone.  My ex-husband is extremely tech savvy. He was the one told me about instagram. We were on a car ride to Mystic, Connecticut, from that moment on I was hooked.  I started exploring IG into the wee hours of the night.  For years I felt bogged down by motherhood, unable to paint and really just uninspired. I believe at one point, I was so desperate for creativity I took up wreath making.  Instagram and iphoneography,  opened up a new world for me.  I’m glad I don’t make wreaths anymore.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of things, nature being a huge one, humans, obviously, another.  I’m one of those people who stares too much and for too long.  In the event I witness a crime, I’m gonna give the cops everything shy of the person’s blood type.  I’m truly fascinated by people; their mannerisms, speed patterns, gaits and style.  I could people watch all day and have been known to do so. On more than one occasion I have sat inside of Grand Central station so long, even the bums were changing shifts.  Other inspiration comes from well-known artists, mainly painters, and then those I follow religiously on IG (who, in my mind, revolutionizing the way people view Photography as a whole).  I think the reason mobile art appeals to me so much,  is the challenge of creating superior images without the polish of professional cameras which seemingly, do a lot of the work for you- digitally speaking anyway.

Your images are overflowing with emotion. Palpable. Where does the need for sharing this honesty in such a pure way come from?
Oh, my talking about my images is a bit surreal for me.  I’m always my own worst critic.  In terms of the pictures though and whatever emotion is conveyed, I have to really say I’m a very animated, expressive, sometimes intense person in real life.  I tell stories and people just come closer.  I have my hands waving wildly and I’ve been known to do impersonations. I am very colorful.  So when I’m happy its clear as day and when I’m sad there’s no hiding it.  My mother says everything I’m ever feeling is easily read on my face and especially my eyes.  I’m not one for deception I think.  I’m honest to a fault really.  I put it all out there.  The emotion I desire with my pictures is rawness.  I have a few people I follow on IG that do  raw and deeply personal emotion so provocatively and gracefully.  I thirst for that.  I think in terms of portraits it’s so much greater to see and feel simultaneously.   When I was in high school I participated in a coveted poetry competition and poetry became my entire life for years on end.   It was during this time that I explored emotion even deeper.  I had always been obsessed with art, so much so that it disturbed my academics, but in the end the poetry was what actually prepped me for photography.

I’ve observed an almost surreal like magical fairy tale like quality in your images. Can you talk about where that comes from and why that imagery appeals to you?
This perception makes me smile impishly. The fairytale quality you speak of is not intentional. Actually, Im elated to hear my images all have something in common I feel like I’m often falling all over the map.

However,  when I take a picture, thankfully, I  know immediately what corner possesses something unique.

I know I’m a beauty seeker.  Maybe that’s where the dreamlike quality comes from? I don’t have an appetite for grim, grungy, gory or dark. Actually, I’m easily disturbed.  I guess this is why I don’t watch the news or tv at all. I do know I get excited by the most minute details in everything  from an inflection in a persons voice, to the way they place their hands, to shadows, lines etc. I obsess about these things in my daily life. It’s like music for me when I discover a song that I like…I play it a thousand times in a row.   When I love…I love deeply whatever that thing is and I want everyone to see it.

Photography is the only thing that allows me to feel comfortable exposing the tender aspect of myself.  It’s with the pictures I want to be boundless.
Photos:
Landscape: like all my photos this was shot with hipstamatic…with a relatively uncommon combination of Mabel and Alfred infrared.  I wanted that deep red currant color
Against matted blue skies.

Lily in the orange chair.  I shot this with tinto and float I admittedly have an affinity for floats delicious tones although it’s speckled vignette makes me crazy so I’m always retouching it out or hiding it the best I know how.  I’m not one for over-editing.  Her pensive glare and Alice in wonderland charm drew me into his moment.

The hands:  this moment happened so extremely quickly I shoot with watts a lot so it defaulted to that…i love how crisp and dramatic it is.  Tender moments between my children are slim sadly they bicker a lot but in this second of passing raspberries the world melted away when I saw her arm naturally fold behind her and those tiny hands extend.

Black and white selfie.  Oh the light in my family room is amazing…I have at least 50 plants in there,  it is my refuge from the world.  I sit in this big 1960s golden-yellow chair constantly and watch the clouds roll by.  This afternoon I adjusted the sheers on the doors and saw something I wanted to capture so I set up my gorilla pod set it to tinto and black keys super grain and measured myself into the frame just so then asked my daughter to press the button three times.  So actually….this is a collab.  I wanted to overcome my discomfort of profile portraits I never liked my very Italian looking profile but alas it’s very much me and if you can’t love your face by 30 then you never will.

I want to thank Monica for her time, her boundless sense of humor and endless support.  You can join Izzy and me at @sundaybluesedit all the time but especially on Sundays and  you can view Monica’s incredible work on IG at @Izzylune and on Tumblr: Izzylune

The Secret Revealed – Behind the scene of “Henry, Portrait of a Cereal Killer” by the Amazing Cedric Blanchon

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Dilshad, FEATURE, Featured Articles, Tutorials | 11 comments

The Secret Revealed – Behind the scene of “Henry, Portrait of a Cereal Killer” by the Amazing Cedric Blanchon By Dilshad

A few weeks ago I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Cedric Blanchon! Not only I consider that interview one of my best, but also, I was honoured to better get to know Cedric, who, I can easily can say, is a true gentlemen with an unparalleled creativeness! During this interview I asked Cedric if he could have revealed to me some of his secrets and show me a how he manages to create his surreal pieces of work. Here, without much ado, A great tutorial by Cedric:

Henry, portrait of a cereal killer.

To make this picture, I take a picture with Camera+ using the timer. The staging is very important I put the head in cereals with milk for maximum results (photo 1)

Photo 1

Take your bowl of cereal, which I took it with pro camera (photo2)

Photo 2

I then open superimpose then load the background (photo 1) and the foreground (photo2) the result is in (photo 3)

Photo 3

After, set transparency for better juxtaposition  (photo 4 and 5)

Photo 4

And Photo 5

Pressed mask and choose the brush, decrease the size (choose the 20) and press the button soft (photo6)

Photo 6

Start clear and refined details, the goal is to have a perfect simulation (photo 7, 8)

Photo 7

And Photo 8

After saving it I open snapseed app and use the grunge effect, decrease thoroughly contrast and choose your style (photo 9)

Photo 9

Save your pic (photo 10)

Photo 10

Open vfxstudio (11)

Photo 11

Load your photo (12)

Photo 12

Choose fx and crack L effect (13 and 14)

Photo 13

And Photo 14

Superimpose your crack around your skull (15)

Photo 15

After you save it, open blender and load the photo 10 and then photo 15 ( photo 16)

Photo 16

Erase completely with the draw (17)

Photo 17

Then again repeat and choose another crack, but this time let reappear crack effect around the bowl of cereal (18 and 19)

Photo 18

And Photo 19

Your photo is ready (20)

Photo 20

After you can adjust the brightness and contrast and a little sharp. Hope you enjoyed it! Bye.

Thank you very much Cedric for this fab Tutorial!!!

1000 Words Facebook Showcase v4, April 2014

Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 in 1000 Words, 1000 Words Facebook | 0 comments

Welcome to the fourth edition of the We Are Juxt 1000 Words Facebook Showcase!  Over the past few months, we have seen the group grow and watched their inspiring work being posted daily.  We are happy to be able to showcase some of the outstanding work that is being shared.

We Are Juxt believes that mobile photographers/ artists tell stories through the photographs/ images and art that represents their families, their environment, themselves. This is important because of the level of communication that is portrayed in imaging today.

We want to support the mobile arts community by having a place for artists to share, discuss, and critique (if requested by individual). These dialogues help the individuals and the community to grow.

We look forward to you and your art. We thank you for your contribution to the mobile photography/ arts community. To submit your work click here.

My selections for this month not only display a variety of textures, but a sense of atmosphere and depth. The artists brought forth this sense of atmosphere and depth through the use of composition, and a thoughtful editing process. Portraits, blended images that forge a new reality, and vacant landscapes all leave us wanting to know more. I had the pleasure of getting to know more about the stories and thought processes behind the images, and am excited to have the photographers share their stories with you. – Todd

Erika C Brothers
“Violet” by Erika Carrillo

Instagram // Facebook

In this particular piece I used Superimpose to place the image on a violet background. For a second step to blend in the colors and variety, I used SnapSeed. Then, using iColorama, I was able to accent the image with Flow and Raise, and for texture and final blending of colors, I used Stackables and Mextures. As a result, I was able to acquire my vision of youth, via expression of magical coloration and aura, around the innocence of a child
Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset
“?” by Andy Alexandre

Instagram

Apps used: Mpro – XnView – Afterlight – Mextures.

“I love improvisation when I take a pic, and I usually do not make many images with landscapes. This day I was alone in this park. It was the good moment. I tried to use the landscape and create the mood of a lost world.
I use Mpro for some b&w pics as I can play with contrast. To add this blur effect I used XnView, Retro 20 in Retro. I used afterlight to add more contrast in the sky and to have this gray atmosphere with “coal” filter. Finally, I used Mextures to add some scratch. I don’t really remember the filter, but you can find it in the folder grit and grain.
Meri
“Ashland, OR: Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain” by Meri Walker
EyeEm // Flickr // Twitter // Tumblr // Website

“Living in southern Oregon is a paradoxical experience for me. On one hand, this part of the northwest is sparsely settled and naturally beautiful. Ashland is famous for its wonderful restaurants and shops and, of course, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Some highly educated people have moved up here from the Bay Area and there are interesting bookstores, lectures, and some good music to serve them and the thousands of tourists that flock here in the summer to see the plays. On the other hand, some pretty abject poverty surrounds the expensive tourist attractions. Few jobs that aren’t minimum wage. Lots of homeless people on the corners. Children living in the woods – without parents. And that’s just the way it is.

Because I was a photojournalist early in life, it’s impossible for me not to see all kinds of things. Even in tourist towns. For the close to seven years I’ve lived in this area, this dilapidated old sign has been part of the landscape as you approach Ashland from the northernmost exit off I5. Not exactly the kind of image Ashland wants for itself. Ironically, no one has bothered either to take the sign down or invest in the vacant land.
For years, I thought I would stop and shoot the scene. March 9th I did it. Late in the afternoon. Bleak light and mud everywhere. I shot with Clear Cam originally because it was pretty windy and I wanted to be sure to get a steady handheld frame. I took all the color out when I got home and used Oggl to square up the composition and add the muddy edge. Not satisfied with the feel of the neutral monochrome I got from Oggl, I used Monokrom to punch up the contrast and add a smidge of green drama to the black-and-white.”
Jeff

“Within Reach” by Jeffrey Simpson

Facebook // Flickr // Instagram // Website

“The inspiration for this shot, like most of my work is pretty simple.  A strong black and white self portrait to capture and express all that feels just within ‘arms reach’ for me.  Even though it’s not all clear (me, slightly out of focus), I keep a steady gaze, arms reaching and ever ready.

Process…
This self portrait is a pretty typical edit for me and feel it captures both me and my style of work.  I have a ‘less is more’ approach with the apps I use, to achieve the classic black and white look that I love.  I shoot in Pure Shot, which allows me to keep a high file size because it is in tiff format.  (some apps really kill the file size!)  I then used Filterstorm to convert to black and white.  Filterstorm has a great ‘curves’ feature with a dynamic range of contrast and in this portrait, I really brightened the brights and darkened the darks. I also used the Blur tool to enhance the depth of field.
Paul
“Pond In Winter” by Paul Cutright

Facebook // Flickr  // Tumblr // Twitter // Website

My inspiration for this image to begin with was visiting this pond. It is beyond some trees in our back yard and we can only see the pond when the trees are bare of leaves. It is in a hollow on our neighbor’s property and from our back deck it kind of glows in the shadow of the trees and surrounding hillside.
When I was at the pond it was small and surrounded by a lot of undergrowth as you can probably see in the image. I just knew that this scene could be the makings for an interestingly mysterious image. But, I wouldn’t know for sure or what the image would be like until I started working on the photograph.
I don’t usually have a preconceived idea of what I want an image to look like when I am done. I work intuitively, experimenting until I get something with which I am pleased. I like to create images that are mysterious, ambiguous and pull the viewer in to wonder and find their own meanings and interpretations beyond the literal. I also like to create painterly images in a painterly, impressionistic style.
I shot the image with Hipstamatic, Yoona lens & Blanko film, and edited it first in Snapseed. Then I opened it in DistressedFX and finished it there. I don’t usually document each step of the process when working on an image, so I can’t always give a step-by-step explanation of what I have done. I used to do that when I first started with iPhone photography, but found it slowed me down and interrupted my “in the moment” inspirations. All images and editing are done on my iPhone 4s.”
Anthony
“Departure” by Anthony Hutchinson

Facebook // Flickr // Google+ // Twitter // 500px

“This ship was abandoned about ten years ago along the shores of Lake Ontario. Apparently it is a replica of the “Grand Hermie” used by the famous French explorer Jacques Cartier during his explorations of Canada between 1535 and 1542. Living in Toronto I have made numerous trips to Niagara Falls where you can clearly see this ship from the highway, but I never had the opportunity to stop and explore it until I finally decided to make a special trip. During the winter, because of the frozen shallow water it is standing in, you can get right on the ship and I therefore had the opportunity to explore it from every angle. It was a very rewarding hour I spent, including having to run back to the car to recharge my phone! (And I have to thank my wife as she patiently waited for me). Given that it is only a replica of a historic ship, it does’t have a lot of stories to tell, but you still can’t help but wonder what life must have been like for the original explorers on a ship such as this. How did they survive the harsh conditions of sailing such a small ship across the Atlantic to a land they had never been to, known then only as “The New Word”, not knowing what they would encounter? You can’t help but think about what stories the original sailors would have told. It’s all somewhat eerie.
This image was processed in Leonardo and Handy Photo, and because of the minimalistic nature of this image, processing was fairly straight forward. I use Leonardo almost exclusively for the bulk of my processing because I like to work with multiple layers and masking of details. After converting to black & white within Leonardo, I first went about adjusting contrast and brightness in specific areas of the image and in particular I wanted to bring out the contrast and depth of the rocks in the background and darken the ship. Fog was then added using Handy Photo. I had to play with this quite a bit to get it just the way I wanted it. The reason for adding the fog was not only an esthetic one but for me it was a way of emphasizing the “mystery” of not only the ship, but the mystery the original sailors must have felt when heading off for the New World.
Ginger

“Behind These Walls” by Ginger Lucero

AMPtCommunity // Flickr // Instagram

-Behind These Walls-

Tattered and torn in the state of confusion, she hides behind these walls, it’s just an illusion.

She puts on a brave face and takes cover behind her smile, she’ll tell you she’s okay, but is dying all the while.

It’s not the first time he’s made her feel this way, her happiness depends on his mood, for it changes every day.

He’ll tell her he’s sorry and didn’t mean to cause her any pain, and she’ll tolerate his lies so others won’t think she’s insane.
But the walls are crumbling down, the sheet rock is wearing thin, and soon she will see that this is the beginning of the end.

She can’t take it any more, for it’s all just too strong, she’s beginning to feel like she doesn’t belong.
Behind these walls all torn and tattered, a woman is being abused, a woman is being battered.
“When I created this image, there wasn’t any idea in mind. The inspiration for the image came after it was made. It spoke to me of abuse, abuse that is either physical, emotional or mental. The kind of abuse that no one should ever feel. Women, men, children – we all feel, we all matter.

The photo was taken using ProCamera7. Snapseed to make the image black and white.I then used Faded to get the squares in the corners. Added texture from Camera Awesome, and used Imageblender to blend the texture to the squares themselves. Repix for the black drip. Finally finished with Stackables for added grit and final touches.”

IMG_7734.jpeg
“Toxic” by Rob DePaolo

AMPtCommunity // EyeEm // Instagram // Website

“This image was created out of the synthesis of two different creative impulses on my part. On one hand, as anyone that has followed my work for a while will attest, I have a bit of a “thing” for photographing people (mostly myself) in various masks. There’s something about how the wearing of a physical mask calls attention to the fact that we are all wearing “masks” of some sort throughout most of our lives. On the other hand, I also set out to make a statement about working life and how, for so many people, the corporate environment is a toxic one, and the mask (notice it’s missing a filter) represents our honorable, yet ineffective attempts to shield ourselves from the “toxins” that we are exposed to daily.
Like most of my mobile work these days, this image was shot with an iPhone 5s using PureShot in TIFF mode and edited exclusively with Filterstorm Neue (preserving the image file as a TIFF throughout the entire process). As far as the editing process, it is actually quite simple. I cropped the image square, converted to B&W, blacked out the eyes using the Curves feature of FS Neue along with the masking brush tool, then tweaked the overall contrast and brightness, added some heavy vignetting, and that’s about it.
Emma
“Blue Hotel” by Emma Amar
EyeEm // Facebook // Instagram

I was taking my self-portrait with the native camera on the iPhone4S, with stand by. I also took a pic from my city Cannes (french riviera) with the hipstamatic combo Jane and BlacKeys supergrain. Then I tuned the image in Diana to make a blend. I chose the filter ‘rave on’ and that’s it. I love to try different apps. It depends on the mood of the day. Thanks again to wearejuxt for helping me to find inspiration.
Ioannis

“Untold Blasphemy” by Ioannis Sidiropoulos

Facebook // Flickr // Instagram

“Untold Blasphemy is the result of a challenge that I’ve put myself to do – edit with more of a romantic touch than my usually dark edits. The apps that I used are blender to blend the main subject that is the portrait with other images like flowers, walls, woods etc. and the result is that. I used iRetouch to crop the image, and I used filterstorm to adjust the contrast.”

Passion for Portraiture? Tips To Get You Started

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles, Tutorials, You Are Juxt | 42 comments

We Are Jut Rewind: This article was originally posted June 13, 2013

Passion for Portraiture?  Tips To Get You Started by Geri C.

What a pleasure to join the ranks of the JUXT(ers).  As a former sketch card and portrait artist, I am drawn to portrait photography and wanted some tips from a few of my favorite mobile photographers for producing beautiful portraits using a smartphone.  I’ve gathered their advice along with some stunning samples of their work.  Photographers featured are both hobbyists and professionals from around the globe.

Passion for Portraiture


Anthony Ginns

Sydney, Australia–Graphic designer/Art Director/iPhoneographer/Avid collector.   I’ve spent a lifetime tinkering with photography. Though I am a qualified graphic designer, photography has always been my passion. Recently I chose to take that passion to another level and I am currently studying photography, so that I have both the technical know how and formal qualifications.  It took me a while to get used to the notion that an iPhone could be such a potent and creative tool.  iPhoneography now consumes my life and a day doesn’t pass without me using my iPhone & iPad to create.  iPhoneography will always be a life-force.

Anthony’s Tips  (There are absolutely no hard and fast rules when it comes to portrait photography. There are two approaches I use and are demonstrated by the two examples I have submitted. The first is random or candid photos of people I encounter while I am out and about. These photos are a record of a brief encounter with someone I find interesting in the street. I often enhance or embellish the photos later using one of many apps.  The second is taking a portrait that is preconceived and planned.  Ideas or concepts have been considered so you have a clear understanding as to what it is you want to achieve.  Location, time of day, subject attire, lighting effect and props, if used, are all considered before the shoot is commenced).

  • Develop your interpersonal skills.  Connect or engage with your subject.  Talking to your subject enables you to build a rapport quicker.  Find out what they are passionate about, what makes them tick?  When they talk about their passions they relax and you then capture the best results.  It’s all about capturing expressions and portraying real character!
  • Be confident when taking portraits of people in the streets.  As a rule I always ask strangers if I can photograph them first so as to avoid the potential of a negative or unpleasant reaction!  Interesting people make for more interesting portraits.  Look for people that have more character.  I strongly suggest if at all possible to show the end result to the person you have photographed.  Either email a copy of the photo or as I do offer people a small print of the portrait as a way of saying thank you.
  • Look for a fresh perspective or point of view.  Try different angles and experiment.  Try shooting your subject from different distances from a close up of the face, to a full body pose.  A good portrait isn’t just a head and shoulder shot.
  • Use available or natural light in preference to the flash on your device.  The flash on an iPhone is harsh when used as the only light source and is pretty much uncontrollable.  For a more dramatic and controlled effect, use natural light from a window or move your subject closer to an incandescent light source in an interior scenario.  Natural lighting will be ‘kinder’ to your subject.
  • Try shooting in interesting or unusual locations.  Look for interesting backdrops or props that will enhance the subject and tell the viewer more about the subject.  However don’t let the background or props in a portrait dominate the subject as they may detract from the outcome.

Find Anthony:  EyeEm

Photo by Anthony Ginns
Photo by Anthony Ginns
Photo by Anthony Ginns
Photo by Anthony Ginns

Bret Pemelton

Recovering Musician. Writer. Breeder (six kids) iPhoneographer.  Native Californian who fled Los Angeles in 1994 for the big city lights of Nashville. 2 record deals, 4 albums, 6 sold, message received!  Photography became the transition drug that helped me get over myself and get on with my life.  I have an affinity for the past with an appetite for the future (oh paleeease!)  Big fan of 30′s, 40′s and 50′s black and white imagery.  Particularly Life Magazine’s from those periods, Dorothea Lange. George Hurrell. Vivian Maier.  A lfred Hitchcock freak.  Once followed a woman who looked like Grace Kelly for 5 city blocks before realizing that I’d stumbled into a “Gay Pride” parade.

Bret’s Tips:

  • Location! Location! Location!  Look for an interesting spot to use for your pallet.  Old house, huge tree whatever.  Then build your image around that.
  • Narrow your visual subject.  Be aware of any distracting things creeping into your shot.  I hate telephone lines!!  Even a bright piece of material popping out of your models clothing or a misplaced hair.  You want the eye drawn towards the correct spot on your shot.  Avoid a cluttered frame.
  • Time of day.  I prefer to shoot in the late afternoon/early evening when the sun is setting.  It makes my subjects and even backgrounds have an almost surreal image.  Early morning is good as well.  If it’s noon, then just put your phone in your pocket and finish your sandwich.
  • Try to make your subjects comfortable to be around you.  Ask them questions about themselves, make them laugh. (with you, not at you!)   I want to bring out their beauty and/or their unique quality.  I’m what the Native Americans and Amish fear most, I want my iPhone to capture their soul.
  • Be careful how much you edit.  I just learned a very valuable lesson.  Your original picture that started out at 2MB can quickly shrink to under 100KB if you run it through too many apps.  If you’re going to transfer to your iPad, then use an app like Dropbox.  It will maintain the integrity of the file.  NEVER email the shot to transfer.  However, this is only important if you ever plan to enlarge the shot beyond the size of your phones screen.

Find Bret:  Blog / Facebook / Flickr / Twitter / Instagram / EyeEm

Euferzine
Euferzine by Bret Pemelton
Little Women

Little Women by Bret Pemelton


Patrick St-Hilaire

Born March 14 1968.  iPhoneographer since August 2012 – Rookie.  I do portraits.  Did fashion, dance and artistic photos in another life, twenty years ago.  Learned in a darkroom when taking picture was a long process.  Now I enjoy editing at any moment of the day. Like now…

Patrick’s Tips:

  • Work in perfect light (natural).  The iPhone performs best on cloudy days.  If you want details in your portraits like I do, this helps because the  iPhone doesn’t like bright light – it doesn’t read it well.  For studio work, make yourself a soft box. Google it to find instructions or a soft light from a portable lamp can do it.
  • The editing is key.  Visualize the final result.  Don’t over do it.  Know your apps, study them, push it to the limit.
  • Make your subject comfortable.  Listen to them and if you’re like me you will do what you want anyway, ha!  Be calm and confident which will help your subject to be comfortable.
  • The eyes have it!  Eyes and light are the most important things for me in a portrait.  The eyes of your subject will tell you their secrets and that is what you want to catch…their secrets.
  • Did I talk about the light ?

Find PatrickInstagram / EyeEm / iPhoneArt

Titoiz
Titoiz by Patrick St-Hilaire (Studio Portrait with Soft Box)
Being RastaBeing Rasta by Patrick St-Hilaire (Natural Light)

Joel Adam

I’m originally from Illinois, but now reside in Louisiana with my wife and son. By day I’m a logistics coordinator for the US Army, and a mobile arts enthusiast the rest of the time. I’ve always been in touch with the arts in one form or another, mostly culinary and music, but it wasn’t until I purchased an iPhone that I really developed a passion for mobile artistry.

Joel’s Tips:

  • Subject matter:  Find a subject that speaks and really resonates.  In your final composition you’ll find it will resonate with the viewers as well.
  • Focus:  Using a vignette or blurring  feature for your background makes the subject portrait really “pop”.
  • Color vs. Black and White:  (This is strictly my personal opinion)  When a portrait is B&W, it strips away the distraction of color and really sets focus on the subject.
  • Avoid direct sunlight:  Like a vampire, this can be harmful to your portrait. Overcast seems to work well for me.
  • Experiment:  Shoot from different angles. Try wide lens shots. Take random street shots.

Find Joel:  Flickr / iPhoneArt / AMPt / Backspaces / Twitter

fútbol
fútbol by Joel Adam
Abel...Abel…by Joel Adam


Crystal F. Spellman

Currently I am an oncology nurse and graduate student, however my initial training was in mixed media and painting.  There are two very different parts to my brain and I think it is through mobile photography that I have finally been able to reconcile them.  To do either I must be totally present, and committed to my observations. In the last year, using my iPhone to make pictures has become one of the most cherished parts of my day.  I consider myself to be much more of a portrait dabbler, but here are a few things I’ve found that help.

Crystal’s Tips:

  • Take a bazillion photos.  This cannot be underestimated enough.  Even if I can get someone to cooperate long enough for me to get a million takes, sometimes I still end up dumping them all.  But that’s totally OK.  I’m just that many steps closer to the next decent shot.
  • Practice on yourself.  Sometimes you’re the only one you got (for me, that’s most of the time).  When there’s nothing at stake, and no one to accuse you of making them look fat, you are free to shoot away to your heart’s content.
  • Look at other portrait photographers work. Find ones you like on your social media platforms, and from history, and from your community.  Study their work.  Figure out how they are framing their subjects, or using light, or conveying emotion.  Learn all their rules, then break them and make them your own.
  • Experiment with different apps.  I’m pretty sure the Hipstamatic camera app has set my soul on fire.  I am an enormous fan of the Tinto 1884 lens and its crazy blur combined with anything.  I end up starting out with a much more interesting image before editing than I would if I had shot with the native camera.  Speaking of editing, Snapseed remains a favorite for a Photoshop flunkie like myself.
  • Make your models comfortable.  I kinda suck at this.  Clearly when I feel weird about taking their picture, they feel weird about me taking their picture.  To compensate I talk until I bore them to death, and the nervous smiles and giggles stop.  Although, those can be pretty nice too…

Find Crystal:  Instagram / EyeEm / Backspaces / Flickr

Photo by Crystal Spellman
Photo by Crystal Spellman
Photo by Crystal SpellmanPhoto by Crystal Spellman

Louise Fryer

Mobile Photographer –  ”I’m enjoying what I love to do the most… I love to be free to wander and take photos of whatever interests me.  I love to have time to create…to escape into another world.”  I have chosen my 5 tips because they are essential to me as an artist.  They are chosen relating to ‘self’ portraits, not generalized portrait work. 

Louise’s Tips: 

  • Planning   Have an idea of what you want to do, think about what you want to convey in your portrait and how you are going to achieve it. Choose a day or time without any distractions, have the time to be free to try new ideas.
  • Lighting is so important, particularly with mobile photography, try and choose a day where there is great natural light, or maybe create your own using various methods, lots of interesting effects can be created by using directional light.
  • Perspective can make or break a portrait, be creative, invest in a tripod for your mobile device.  You can be far more adventurous if you’re not having to hold your phone and unusual angles always create interest.
  • Break the rules!  Try not to be guided by the many rules of photography when creating self portraits, be original and free, express yourself, the more creatively the better!
  • Titles   I’m not a fan of titles generally but I use them for self portraits, it helps to create the mood and gives the viewer an idea of the expression you had in mind. Many people feel that titles influence the viewer or that it may affect how the photo feels but it doesn’t have to be a descriptive one, it could just be a thought or lyric that fits the image.

Find Louise:  Website / Instagram / EyeEm / iPhoneArt / Flickr / Facebook

Heartbeat
Heartbeat by Louise Fryer
My Heart and IMy Heart and I by Louise Fryer

Paula Gardener

I am a wife, a mother to four wonderful children. I studied photography and fine art at various colleges in London, which enabled me to harness the creative soul within me. I am currently based in London, however photography has made it possible for me to ‘visually’ travel on a global scale. My own photography business was launched in 2010, alongside my blog as a creative writer. Through mobile photography, my creativity has evolved, my interpretation of life has been revolutionized.  I am a visual storyteller with a passion for telling stories.

Paula’s Tips:

  • When thinking about shooting a portrait whether it is a self portrait or of a model, lighting is the first thing I think about – it has to be perfect.  I prefer natural lighting, so finding a soft natural light source is key – maybe next to a window or patio, perfect if it’s outside. Be careful not to overexpose when shooting outdoors.  I find a natural light source inside, creates lovely soft shadows.
  • The perfect backdrop.  Now obviously we can’t all have a studio set up when we shoot. However, just be mindful of the background and foreground, you don’t want them distracting the viewer from the subject, I tend to use a plain wall or drape a cloth behind my subject, if all else fails there are wonderful apps out there that can improve on any imperfections within the background or foreground.
  • Composition, think about how you want the portrait to be received. The way you position your subject is very important.  You can create a dramatic or elegant feel to the portrait just by the positioning. If you’re like me and shoot very active children or maybe you didn’t realize you’ve caught something distracting in the background, then post editing is always a savior, plus with apps like AntiCrop and Snapseed, composition issues are a thing of the past.
  • What I love about shooting with the iPhone is the countless apps. You can turn an image that hasn’t been shot within perfect circumstance, into the perfect image. I have done this with many of my portraits. Find your staple application  the one you can use to edit an image with ease and efficiency, to make your portrait stand out. I use Snapseed 99% of the time for most of my post editing work on all my portraits.
  • Continuous shooting, I use this mode on my Nikon. So why not on the iPhone, just keep snapping, especially when working with children or self portraits. Most of my self portraits I’ve usually shoot about 20-30 frames, then I pick a few to work from. This way you can slightly, move change expressions etc. to ensure you got the perfect shot. Enjoy it, it’s fun!

Find Paula:  Flickr / Tumblr / iPhoneArt / EyeEm / Twitter

My Own
My Own by Paula Gardener
His Seventh YearHis Seventh Year by Paula Gardener

Nei Cruz

“It wasn’t until I got my first iPhone, that I started to take pictures and discovered the possibilities of this new amazing art form. The future of mobile photography is a bright one!”~Nei Cruz, iPhoneographer

Nei’s passion for photography dates back to the time he was a boy.  Having worked as an art director, Nei has had the privilege of working with many world renowned photographers and important fashion publications such as Vogue, Elle, Bazar, Allure, W and many others. Nei Cruz resides in Manhattan, New York City and continues to work in the fashion industry.

Nei’s Tips:

  • Make sure your subject is comfortable and relaxed. Trust is key.
  • The surroundings are as important as the subject. Make sure it enhances the subject and expresses what you are trying to convey in the photo.
  • Stabilize your camera as well as you can. A tripod helps, even though I never used one yet.
  • Like any other photo, light is important to express the mood and feel of the photo.
  • Don’ hesitate to try different things. Experiment!

Find Nei:  Instagram / EyeEM / Google+ / Ampt / Facebook

Photo by Nei Cruz
Photo by Nei Cruz
Photo by Nei Cruz
Photo by Nei Cruz

A big thank you to all who contributed their tips.  Do you have any of your own advice for capturing a perfect portrait?  Please leave your tips in the comments below.  I look forward to learning from you!

 

Trespass: The Fall of The Ambassador

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in #wpphoto, FEATURE, Featured Articles, Trespass | 6 comments

Trespass – The Fall of The Ambassador by Brandon Kidwell and Mike Hill

Located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, Florida at 420 North Julia Street lies The Ambassador Hotel.  Formerly known as the  310 West Church Street Apartments, the hotel was built in 1924 in the Georgian Revival architectural style at the height of the Florida land boom.  The building was designed in an “H” shape to provide windows for all 50 apartments that held approximately 110 residents.  The building was a premium location during its better days.  On May 2, 1950, Senator George Smathers celebrated his nomination to the United States Senate in a suite that would would live on to be known and marketed as the Senator George Smathers Suite.  After twenty years of operation the building was turned into a hotel and has went through various names and owners until 1955 when it was renamed as the Ambassador Hotel.

In 1983 The Ambassador Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings but by that time the hotel was already in decline.  From that time on, the hotel has a history of vagrants, drug busts, raids, fires, vandalism and destruction.  In 1998 the hotel was officially condemned and has remained ever since.  The Ambassador is a constant reminder of Jacksonville’s historic past as the city struggles to attract popular interest and funding to renovate its historical downtown, losing to cheaper options such as land development and urban sprawl.

Brandon K.

When Mike and I decided to visit the Ambassador as a project for the Nokia Lumia 1020′s I couldn’t wait to try it out.  We met at the hotel and entered at the ground level.  Dark and dirty the air was thick with dust, dirt and ash as a recent fire had blazed throughout the bottom floors less than a year before our visit.  I immediately started playing with the Lumia and was instantly amazed by the features of the Nokia Camera.  The low-light capabilities instantly impressed me, but what excited me the most was the incredible exposure and ISO controls which were very useful in this dimly lit environment.

As we explored from the ground floor up, it was apparent that life still existed in the condemned hotel.  Walking from room to room we saw the broken remnants of lost lives.  One room was littered with baby diapers,  baby shoes and a crib reaching out of the room and into the hallway.  There were rooms locked from the inside and sounds we heard from others as we decided to pass by and leave the inhabitants their privacy.  You can imagine all the joy and pain that has filled these walls.  The paint was literally falling off the walls, no longer able to carry the burden of the countless stories it has witnessed from triumph to tragedy but not all rooms told a sad story.  There were some rooms that showed signs of making the best of a tough life, one had beer cans littered throughout, a deck of cards scattered and sleeping pallets made of found blankets and makeshift pillows.  I hope that this building will find it’s way back into the community, fill its walls with hope and moments of celebration but only time will tell and over the last few decades for The Ambassador, time has not been kind.

 

 

Mike H.

When I first pulled up to meet Brandon outside, looking up at the building it didn’t seem like much. Definitely not the type of place I’d drive or walk by and think about exploring. It was your typical 35 year old stripper named ‘Lady Ambassador’, meaning it was in pretty good shape on the outside, and severely damaged on the inside. But I knew Miss Ambassador had mad stories to tell, so lets get started.

One room had soda bottles placed in the kitchen cabinet, like as would any normal home, only the room looked like it was nuked long ago, or in some sort of post apocalyptic scene from a movie where the family chose to ignore that the big one was dropped way back and still lives there.

It felt weird walking into these peoples homes. All the doors were opened but a few, locked from the inside, and I can only assume there was someone on the other side hoping we wouldn’t force our way in. Plenty more to see, we can let them be, they’ve had it rough enough, I reckon, without a couple of nosy explorers complicating things. Big day tonight, let em rest.

Reaching the roof with the 70 degree air and bright sunshine was refreshing. The place was, as you would expect, pretty nasty inside. We definitely picked a beautiful day to lock ourselves in a homeless den, but I love the explore so much that days like this can always be sacrificed, especially for a trip as rare as this.

When we decided to leave, looking back down those stairs was intimidating. Was it really that dark when we came in, or had the sunlight spoiled me? Until next time, Ambassador.

Long Live Southbank

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles | 2 comments

Long Live Southbank by Paula G.

As a tourist when you visualize London, you think of mainstream iconic landmarks like The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben (St Stephen’s Tower), Buckingham Palace to name a few. There is though a place that is steep in history, culture and the embodiment of London life. A place I visit frequently, anyone who lives in London knows about the Southbank. The vast array of cafes, the National Theatre, not to mention the London Eye. If you walk along the river front you’re greeted by vendors, street acts of every kind all trying to attract the surge of tourists that frequent the area. As a Londoner I’m always amazed at what I see, I love this part of London because of its love for community living.

The riverside walk will also bring you to a special place, quite different from the other attractions. In the 1970’s the Southbank undercroft was a place of shelter for the homeless, However this partly subterranean space soon became a center for graffiti artists, skateboarders and freestyle cyclists.

Everyone and anyone who wanted to skateboard, meet other artists maybe hold events would visit the undercroft. It is a place of inspiration, bursting with the creativity of the many voices that stamp their mark on this cultural landmark. Unfortunately it is now being threatened of closure, in April 2013 the Southbank Center proposed the development of the area for commercial units. A group was formed to oppose this development, they are called Long Live Southbank. Amazingly they have the backing of the local council, the Mayor of London and many celebrities. Thousands of people have signed the petition to oppose the redevelopment of the undercroft. Here are just a few of the quotes supporting this petition.

“The skate park is the epicenter of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London. This much-loved community space has been used by thousands of young people over the years. It attracts tourists from across the world and undoubtedly adds to the vibrancy of the area – it helps to make London the great city it is.” – Boris Johnson “I urge you to please preserve the integrity of Southbank, a sanctuary for skateboarders, and an important piece of London history.” – Tony Hawk  “Southbank is the oldest surviving skateboard spot in the world and hailed as the birthplace of British skateboarding. This space has empowered generations of physical, visual and collaborative expression and informed and directed the lives of people from all walks of life. This world famous landmark and cultural icon must be preserved for future generations to flourish.” – Henry Edwards-Wood.

If you would like to pledge your support by signing the online petition here is the  link  for their Change.org campaign. Also have a look at their website ‘Long Live Southbank’ if you want to find out more plus keep up to date with their progress.

 

London by Night

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles | 4 comments

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

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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…

On The Road: 10 Travel Tips For The Mobile Photographer

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in #wpphoto, FEATURE, Featured Articles, Travel | 14 comments

Amboy, California

Amboy, California

On The Road: 10 Travel Tips For The Mobile Photographer by Matt C

We all love to travel. Jump on a plane and jet-set to some exotic locale or maybe just somewhere else in the country.  But what about all those places in between?  You know, those places you see from 30,000 feet out that tiny airplane window?

Recently I had the opportunity to drive across and around the United States. Logging over 8,000 miles, I passed through roughly 27 states in 30 days. As I criss-crossed the the highways and byways of the nation, I kept notes about some of my photography habits and jotted down some tips that others might find helpful while they document their future travels.

The Gear:

  • Nokia 1020 - With a 41 Mega Pixel camera, Zeiss Lens, and manual exposure compensation, the Nokia was my primary camera on this road trip.
  • Nokia Camera Grip - The Nokia’s Camera Grip comes in handy with a shutter button on the grip, almost an extra hour of battery life as well as a threaded mount to attach a tripod to.
  • Ultra Pod II  - For those low light situations, long exposures or any other number of situations, my tripod allows me to set my camera on the ground or other surface for added stability. It also has a small strap on it, so I can secure it to a tree or a post.
  • Notebook – To Write down ideas, thoughts, names of people, places, email addresses and so on.
  • Anker External Battery Charger - The Anker external battery I use is capable of fully charging my phone several times before needing to be recharged itself. It has proved itself invaluable in many situations. More on charging below.

1. Stay Charged

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I’ll admit it, I’m a little paranoid when it comes to the battery life of my mobile devices. When I’m using my phone as my camera, GPS and internet, among other things, the battery can drain rather quickly. To ensure my battery never dies when I need it the most, I travel with a few charging options. Attached to my 1020 is the Nokia Camera Grip Charger, which automatically charges my phone as it loses power. I also carry a USB car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter in the car, in order to charge my phone while driving. Lastly, I carry an external battery USB charger which can slip into my pocket or bag for power on the go. Carrying all these chargers with me may seem like overkill, but it gives me comfort knowing I’m always charged and I’m never scrambling looking for an outlet.

2. Always Backup

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Backing up your images on the road is just as important as backing them up when you’re at home. Maybe even more important. In the event of some unforeseen disaster, such as damage to, or theft of your phone, you want to be sure that your images have not been lost. I cannot stress enough how important it is to back up your images.  I don’t normally travel with my laptop, so instead of backing up to a pc, I use a cloud service. There are many cloud storage services available today such as Dropbox and Box. I’ve been using Microsoft’s OneDrive to handle my mobile photography backups. Generally at the end of each day, when I get back to my hotel room I back up the images I’ve taken that day. I wait until I get back to my hotel room so that I can connect to the hotels wifi and minimize the data usage from my cell phone carrier.

3. Be The Early Bird

Jacksonville, Florida 

I’m an early riser.  When traveling, I like to get out of my hotel room before sunrise.  The pre-dawn sky offers unique light situations and colors that are hard, if not impossible to capture at other times of the day.  I always take note where the sun sets the night before and figure out where it will rise geographically to where I am.  I try to visualize what scenery might look good during these hours so I can get myself into the right spot when the light “happens.”  I also check sunrise and sunset times so I can figure out roughly when I should be there in order to capture these conditions.

4. Brave The Elements

Dodgeville, Wisconsin

Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate with your travel plans, but don’t let inclement weather stop you from shooting.  The key for shooting in adverse conditions, whether it be extreme temperatures, winds, or rains, is to be prepared for any given situation. Check the weather reports for wherever you may be traveling to before leaving. I also always pack clothing I can layer with and never leave my raincoat behind. I think the biggest problem that most people have when shooting in extreme conditions is they’re either too hot, cold, or wet. No matter what you always want to BE SAFE, but I’m a firm believer that when you’re dressed appropriately for the weather, this rarely is a problem.

When I took the image above, the frigid morning temperature was 40 degrees below zero. I was nice and warm underneath my multiple layers, but when I removed my gloves to work the camera my fingers began to freeze within seconds. I worked quickly to get my picture, and once I was done, replaced my gloves and retreated to the warmth of my car. Fingers still intact.

5. Two Words: Get Lost

Phoenix, Arizona

Sometimes when we get lost in a strange city or place we get anxious or frustrated. Use it as an opportunity to explore an area that you maybe hadn’t planned to otherwise. You just might find someone or something interesting to photograph, maybe even learn something about the place you are visiting.

While trying to find a specific restaurant while walking in Downtown Phoenix I got lost. What I found instead was this boarded up hotel that I probably never would have come across otherwise. In fact, I tried finding this hotel the following morning to take another photo under different lighting conditions, but I could not find it again. Guess I should have written that down in my notebook. Get lost and find those hidden gems.

6. Get Off The Beaten Path

 Amarillo, Texas

In addition to getting lost I suggest getting off main routes. Highways were generally created to get you from point A to point B as quickly as possible. If you stick to the highways and main roads you might miss a lot of interesting things. I recommend taking back roads whenever possible. It may take you longer to get where you’re going, but it is almost always more rewarding.

If I had been on the main highway I might have missed the kitschy Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Luckily, I saw it from the road I was on and made a quick stop as I passed through town.

7. Framing Landscapes

Moab, Utah

There are a number of things you can do to separate your landscape photos from the average snapshot. One of which is to include a bit of foreground in your photo. By doing this you add depth to the image as well as scale. It also gives the viewer a sense of space and it can make them feel as though they can step into your frame.

As an example, in the image above, place your hand over the lower half of the image. Cover the ground and shrubs. The image may still be interesting but when you remove your hand the foreground adds much more depth. You can feel how massive the canyon is and almost get a sense of how far away in the distance those white-capped mountains must really be.

8. Size Matters

St. Louis, Missouri

When shooting architecture, landscape, sculptures, or even street art, it sometimes can be difficult to relay the size of your subject matter. If there is nothing in your frame to relate scale the viewer won’t be able to tell if the subject of the photograph is 10 feet tall or hundred. Look for objects within the frame that can relate the size of your subject matter such as cars, people, or even doorways. Anything that can be relatively universal in size will do.

While taking pictures at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, I worked on my composition and waited for someone to walk into my frame. The figure helps relate the massive scale of the arch and the fact that I have excluded the base of the arch as well as the other half of the arch from my composition, leaves it to the viewer’s imagination to fully grasp the massive size of this city’s landmark.

9. When In Rome

Phoenix, Arizona

Whenever I travel to a city or town that I’m unfamiliar with, I try to meet some local residents. I talk to them. I try to get recommendations of places to eat, drink, or just general places to check out. I don’t necessarily want to follow the crowds of tourists or eat at the most popular restaurants. I like to get to know what a place is all about and I feel the best way to do that is to find out what the locals do in any given neighborhood.

I also like to take public transportation whenever possible. I feel like it gives me the pulse of a particular place.  It allows me the opportunity to meet people and it is a great way to get around too.

10. Put Your Camera Down

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The absolute most important advice I can give you goes beyond travel and photography. Put your camera down.  Live in the moment. Too many times I’ve seen people walk up to an art masterpiece in a museum, take a picture and move onto the next one. While at the Grand Canyon I witnessed over and over again people walking up to the grand vista, take a couple of pictures and head back toward their car. Life is more than a collection of images. Remember to put your camera down once in awhile, take a deep breath, and take it all in.

1000 Words Windows Phone Experience 4th Edition

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in 1000 Words, 1000 Words #wpphoto | 0 comments

Welcome to 1000 Words Showcase for Windows Phone via the Windows Phone Experience Flickr group.

This group has many great artists and photographers and along with many mobile photography communities is rich in story.

We Are Juxt has asked a these great photographers to help curate this showcase and are very happy that they agreed.  Please put your hands together for Aman, Sony, and Jean Brice.  Their bios and contacts are below.

We hope to showcase the great diversity and beauty of the work shown to continue to inspire other mobile (connected) photographers/ artists within our community. 1000 Words is titled under the premise that “a photograph says a 1000 words.” We Are Juxt believes that mobile photographers/ artists tell stories through the photographs/ images and art that represents their families, their environment, themselves. This is important because of the level of communication that is portrayed in imaging today. We look forward to you and your art. We thank you for your contribution to the mobile photography/ arts community.

If you are a Windows Phone photographer please feel free to contribute to the Flickr group.

To view the 1000 Words Flickr gallery by week click here.  Feel free to add your own images. This gallery is curated by Ryan V.

Also please visit out 1000 Words IPA monthly showcase, curated by Mike Hill and the 1000 Words Facebook monthly showcase, curated by Jen Bracewell and Josh St. Germain.

We Are Juxt thanks you for your contributions!

Click here for the other Windows Phone Experience Showcases

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia – Lumia 1020 by Marc Bibusch
Flickr  // Twitter  // Website 
Nokia Lumia Icon

With this photo two things, i really like, have come together: Fine cars and the freedom of raw photography. I have known the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia quite well since my parents used to drive the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia in my childhood. When I saw this car in the amazing light, it felt just natural to take some photos with my Lumia 1020. I used Lightroom for the processing and created the look with a custom matte preset.

Untitled by Antti Tassberg
Twitter // Flickr // 500px
Nokia Lumia Icon, Post processing tools: Lightroom

I spotted the birds and the power line trough a bus window on my way home. I exit the bus and toked a series of pictures hoping to capture the moment the birds would take wing. Missed that thought.
This frame I liked most and b&w conversion felt like the right treatment for the image. Image was captured in DNG.

Untitled by Marc Biarnès
Flickr
Nokia Lumia 1020, Post processing Tool: Photoshop CS 5.1

While waiting for my train in the wintry greyness of Paris, a train arrived on the platform on the opposite side. I caught myself observing each window of this train like Jeff in “Rear Window” of Hitchcock. I was on my bench and every window was a scene of the life.

 Untitled by dr pajchiwo
Flickr //Instagram //Grupa Mobilni //G+: Wojtek Papaj //AMPt
Nokia Lumia 800 (WP 7.8)

I took the photo with the app called Soviet Kam – then the “original RAW” from the app was edited with Fhotoroom and framed with Phototastic.

Lake Burning Sky by Christophe Brutel
Twitter // Flickr
Nokia Lumia 920 (WP 8)

The story behind the picture is quite simple: On this evening I took a look at the sky from home at sunset time. What I saw led me to believe that the show would be quite nice by the lake which is about 5 minutes walk from home.

So I grabbed the Lumia 920, ran to the lake and I was not disappointed: the water was perfectly still making for a perfect mirror to the stunning sky. I then started to take the pictures frantically. This is one from the batch, uploaded unedited from the phone.

Shining in the darkness by David
Facebook  // Instagram // Flickr
Nokia Lumia

I know this has been done many times by DSLR, but it is something I have always wanted to do with a Nokia Lumia. The photo may look complicated but in reality it is easy and worth to try out if you have right equipments, a partner and follow the safety. With the 4 second shutter delay, you can create beautiful light painting sparkler photos. This was actually so much fun, just be careful not to start a fire!

One of the most interesting features of the Nokia Camera one the Lumia 1020 and 1520 is the ability to capture photographs in RAW or DNG format. I recommend you to shoot in RAW, so you can make fine adjustments to colors temperature and exposure in post processing.

All the stars are like little fish by Jennifer Bracewell
We Are Juxt // Website // Instagram // EyeEm // Flickr // Twitter
Nokia Lumia 1020

I took this picture while on holiday in San Diego last weekend ( March 1). I was walking around the Old Town district in the rain and stopped to look inside this very old adobe building. Some of the rooms were decorated with period furnishings. I loved the light, the tones, the stillness of the scene, the feeling that the room was not empty but full of memories.

I was listening to “Violet” by Hole when I edited the photo, that’s where the title came from. It seemed to fit. I used filters and texture in Fantasia Painter Pro and Fhotoroom to give it a glow and vintage feel.

Tourist by Anna C. Cox
We Are Juxt // Email // Instagram // Twitter // Flickr // Website
Nokia Lumia 1020

Loved the long hallway and light of the Chicago area Museum. The light coming through the roof was beautiful coupled with the leading lines drawing your eye through to the far away door. It was taken on the lumia 1020, Nokia cam and processed in snapseed.

Vacant by Joel A.
We Are Juxt // Flickr // iphoneArt.com // AMPt // Backspaces // VSCO
Nokia Lumia 920

This shot was taken on Holly Beach on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.

I used the Lumia 920 native camera and post edited w/ the Marketplace apps SophiaHD (b&w) and Fantasia Painter (contrast/vignetting).

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Curators

Aman G., Germany
Twitter // Flickr  // Tumblr // 500px // Mobile Photography Blog
Born in Ethiopia, escaped from a civil war as a child in the end ‘70. Grew up in Germany… loved the Nokia N95 8GB with its fantastic Image quality back then,  but my real mobile photography obsession began late december 2012, when i bought the Lumia 920. I shoot to freeze the moment, …addicted in details. There’s no real concept behind my photos… i see the moment and love the fact to have my weapon in my pocket to catch that moment…. Any where… any time.


Sony Arouje, India

Flickr // Tumblr site of my Lumia 920 photos // Instagram // Twitter // Facebook
By profession I am a Software Architect working in Banglore, India. I am very passionate about photography. I started clicking from 2007 when I bought my Nikon DSLR camera. I never explored mobile photography until I bought the Nokia Lumia 920, it got an awesome camera. I realize the power of mobile photography and I kept my DSLR aside and started shooting in my Lumia 920. I love street photography and majority of my photos are from the streets of Bangalore.

Thoughts of NYC

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles | 8 comments

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.

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All the images were taken with a Lumia 1020 as part of the Windows Challenge.   

Experiments: Photoforge by Oveck [Tutorial]

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Tutorials, You Are Juxt | 2 comments

My name is Oveck, I’m a singer-songwriter/ Visual Artist who is passionate about photography.  I try to catch moments, reactions and expressions but I also like to manipulate the images adjusting them to my own vision.  You can find me as @oveck  for my color and double exposure experiments as well as @leblancetlenoir for my black & white work.  For my music please visit my website www.oveckmusic.com

 

To create this image I used 2 of my favorite apps Photoforge2; to create the layers and blends and VSCO CAM for toning.  I used one of my pictures (portrait) and one of @danotis #danotis_freeforall pictures (landscape)

1- I start by uploading both pictures to photoforge2 creating 2 layers (layer #1 portrait of the girl and layer #2 landscape)

2- I position layer#2 where I want it, in this case I place it on top of the shadow that’s being reflected on the girl’s body so when I use the blending options I get the desired results.

3- I create a duplicate of layer #2  so I can decorate the bottom part of the picture doing the same as step 2. This duplicate is now layer#3

4-At this point I will blend layer #2 and layer #3 to layer #1.  I do that by selecting blending mode – lighten.

 


5- Next, using the layer mask tool what we want to do is add a mask for both layer #2 and layer #3.

6- Select the masked layer and make sure that the brush color is all the way to left to be black*, adjust the brush size depending on the area you want to erase. I like to keep the brush hardness to the minimum, so it gives me a softer blend instead of a cutout look.  Repeat the same steps to layer #3. *If you make a mistake, you can always go back by selecting the brush color to be white.

7- The next step is to merge all of your layers and crop the final picture using the crop tool to 3×4. After that export your picture to your camera roll.

8- At this point all we need is to give the tones desired to the final image. I do that by using VSCO CAM app.  I use preset #4, adjust temperature to 1 and highlights to 1 as well. Then export to Full/Maximum file size.

9-My final step is to create a white border for my final picture since I crop it 3×4 and I want to fit it into a square but maintaining the full image. You can do that by using Squaready app or I prefer to go back to Fotoforge2 and create a new project adding my picture to a white background.

1000 Words Flickr Showcase 72

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in 1000 Words, 1000 Words Flickr | 1 comment

This week it’s a feast for the Black And White lovers! Monochrome, as simple as it may seem, it has its subtle tones and differences! Incredible shades and tonalities that varies and gives that particular photo a strong or antique look! And what a feast for the eye today with these great artists showcased here! Powerful imagery with even more powerful stories attached to it! As always I am completely blown away by what I see every day!

Thank you ever so much for your constant support and love!

D.C.

Hand of Time by Eric Raddatz.

As I grow older I find the body change intriguing. Lines and wrinkles, skin becoming thinner, knees crackle like Rice Krispies in the morning.  Photography has been a very real part of my processing emotions, and change. A way to hide and see at the same time. This photo is the first step in creating a series of images to identify and project what each of us face today and tomorrow.

photo process:  capturing the image on my iPhone 4S then edit on #snapseed to sharpen, B&W for contrast/depth to express the wave of feelings that can grip me when looking in the mirror.

// Web // Twitter // FB // Flickr //

Let Go by Joanna Dunford.

It was shot with a runaway balloon on my favourite beach on a windy day with my iPhone 5 and a processed using noir photo. I was just having fun creatively to see what I could make.

// IG  // Tumblr // Juxt  // Flickr //

Existence by S. Furusho 

Our lives are not always clear as vaguely. I go with the aim of goal that can not be reached in that. It is far endlessly, but, I will head to there with an umbrella of hope.

// Flickr //

Under ConstructionJose by J. Lang Lenton.

I’ve been enjoying quite a lot shooting in the street. I find it very challenging, and the feeling of not knowing what is to be found, is just great.

With this photo i came out with a simplicity i like in street shots. Streets are usually full of people, sings and cars and is not easy to arrange a simple composition.

I came across this really smart man, and I really love the guy, but he seem to be in a hurry, to fast for a decent shot. This was a kind of a ‘give up’ shoot as i was loosing him. Than noticed the net on the building on my right side and really like the texture of it. I arranged the shot as i was thinking about it.

I shooted it with Hipstamatic ( Jane + Blackeys Supergrain) and than added some texture with Scratchcam.

// Flickr // Instagram //

The Monochrome Set by Milo Salgado.

This photo is part of a series I called The Monochrome Set, a series of edited Hipstamatic shots.

We go to the beach very often, and almost all year is bright, sunny and hot, so it is really beautiful when you are at the beach on a rainy day, like this day when I took this photo. Tita our dog was with us, and my kids and their cousins where swimming in the sea under the rain. When my nephew was walking into the sea, feeling the water temperature with his feet, I saw Tita walking around in the sand (she’s not very enthusiastic about the water), I decided the framing very quickly and took the shot. The straight Hipstamatic shot was a little too dark, so I decided to post-edit the photo. I used VSCO cam, I can’t really remember what preset sorry, to turn it black and white, and then used Snapseed to give the shot the soft sepia tone, a little brightness and texture, and the frame. I was looking to recreate the cloudy, rainy day, trying to make the image happily sad, as any Red House Painters song.

// Web //

Creating & Looking :: An Experiment with Two Photographers

Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles | 0 comments

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.

The Gentle & Sensitive Approach to Street Photography

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in FEATURE, Featured Articles | 22 comments

The Gentle & Sensitive Approach to Street Photography: An Interview with Andrés Altamirano by Christina Nordam Andersen

Andrés Altamirano is known as @justiciere on Instagram. This is where I got to know him and his work. He was born in Málaga (Spain) and is currently based in Berlin.  He does not call himself a street photographer or anything else for that matter.

Despite his modesty, two things strike me when I travel through his delightful photo stream: one – the gentle and sensitive way in which he portrays people (women in particular), anticipating moves and10 actions. Two – how close he is able to get with his camera.

His profile photo does not show his face and I think it is fair to say that he is a private person. I am glad to have the chance to learn more about his photography and find out a bit more about the person behind the camera.

Below are the questions I asked Andrés, as well as his answers.

C: Why photography and not something else? What does it give you?

A: Your first question is already hard to answer. I guess appreciating photography is just like enjoying music or any other form of art. Photography is there all the time. It is the classic way to record moments and preserve memories. But it is also a form of self-expression. Photography requires the conscious use of our senses: passion, sensibility and technique all have to be well-balanced.

The answer to your second question could be an essay on its own, so I will limit myself to just a few words, explaining what photography gives me now, today: photography allows me to express and capture those daily, but precious, moments of random people, especially women – showing signs of what I think is passion, affection or sorrow.

C: How would you describe your style in three words?

A: I would describe my style with a triple H. Humble (because I am just doing photography for the love of it), Hungry (because I am always willing to learn), Honest (because I like to show the photographs as close as possible to the reality of the moment when they were taken – hence the recent move to analogue cameras.

C: As a street photographer, you are able to get very close to your subjects. How do you do that?

A: There is no secret to this. When I started, I used to pretend I was on a phone call or I was texting and I shot mainly using the headphones’ button. Now that I have started using other cameras I have realized that the most important thing is to remain calm and confident. It is a matter of practice and joy. Of course, a big smile and a friendly attitude help a lot.

C: What attracts to you to black and white photography?

A: You don’t have to pay attention to colour – this is the magic of black and white. It works very well with street photography. You can concentrate on the moment and on the subject. I don’t think in colour when I shoot. I concentrate on finding the right moment, the right light and the best possible composition. You can’t control all factors while shooting in the streets, that’s why I like the minimal aspect of black and white. I try to portray moments which trigger a particular emotion and I find black and white conveys these feelings in a more expressive way than colours do.

C: Who or what inspires you?

A: Music plays a fundamental role for me while shooting. The lyrics of songs are a big stream of inspiration for me. Of course, I often go back to books, to get inspiration from the great masters of photography. I also take a daily dive into Instagram. There are many talented people out there, so I also get inspired by some of them. I am thankful for this.

C: How did you originally get into photography? What was your first camera?

A: It was Antonio (my brother in law) who brought Photography to me as I was a teenager. He was at the time working as a photographer. My father also used to develop b/w film at home, so we used the enlarger and the equipment that was available to us. I painted a bulb in red and made a darkroom at home. It was a very special time for me. Photography was a way to experiment something new. This is something I continuously do in life: learn and try new things.

My first camera was a Zenit, made in the former USSR. Hard as a rock – it could have been used as a throwing weapon! I still have a lot of black and white pictures I made with it and developed myself.

C: Which is your camera of choice and why?

A: If you ask me which one I have been using the most, definitely is the iPhone’s camera. It has a lot of advantages and it feels second nature for me. I am currently shooting with a Lumix Leica GX1 and a Nikon FM3a. I will soon buy a Rolleiflex 4KF, as I want to jump to medium format and experiment in the streets with such an old “grumpy” camera. I take this as serious challenge.

I think the gear is important. However, it is more important to achieve the shot you have visualized. As long as you get the shot, the camera used is secondary. For me the importance lies on the message. Did anyone ask Cervantes which fountain pen he used when he wrote El Quijote?

C: Which other photographers have influenced your work?

A: I have met good photographers through Instagram and some have left a mark on me. I don’t follow too many people because I have the need to really connect with the people I follow, to get in touch with them. I want real connections. People who inspire me know this because I have already told them somehow.

I have much respect for masters like Leiter, Maier, Bresson, Salgado, Moriyama… but I also think it is important to reserve some energy for your own development. I would like to create my own style one day, as Orson Wells said: “Create your own visual style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others”. I am working on it!

C: You often quote lyrics on your photos. If your portfolio had a soundtrack, what would it be?

A: This one is easy to answer: R&B music. I listen to artists like Tank, Joe, Brian McKnight, Ginuwine, Dennis Taylor, Eric Benet, Janet or Tyrese, to name a few. I listen to them while I shoot. I find this music very special, quite romantic, and kind of spiritual I think. I would like my photos to inherit some of this spirit.

C: How many photos do you shoot on an average day? 

A: I asked this question to some of my friends too. I have always been the worst critic to myself and try to push myself harder every time. When I started, I was taking around 400 pictures per photo-walk (2-3 hours). I was shooting like mad! With luck, I ended up with one picture which was worth posting, and the rest was crap. This ratio has changed due to practice. Now I am much more selective – I don’t want to spend my time deleting or editing pictures. And I am still learning what makes a good image. So if I use my iPhone, I normally take 30-50 pictures at the most. If I use my analogue cameras I am limited to 36 or 12. This makes you think about pressing the shutter. I also hope this turns me into a better photographer.

C: Do you have a photo technique or rule that you follow?

A: No. I just seek for a special moment, especially when women are involved. The only thing I stick to is not to post casual pictures, I mean, successful by coincidence. That way you can’t learn anything and I don’t feel comfortable with this.

The time for “easy” pictures (such as people checking their phone or people far away from the distance) is over for me. This is a strength and a weakness of mine: I need to feel constantly challenged.

C: What’s the one photo app you can’t live without?

A: Another easy question! Snapseed. If you ask me which apps I use, I can tell you because it is a very short list: Snapseed, Noir, Blender, AfterFocus. That’s all. And I don’t use them all together in all pictures I edit. I am trying to reduce my editing time to less than a minute. This can only be achieved if you know exactly what you want.

C: What else is in your camera bag?

A: I don’t have a camera bag! I use my pockets. I go out with my iPhone or camera (if it is analogue I take a cleaning pen), headphones to listen music and some candies. I have such a sweet tooth…

C: What aspects of photography are challenging for you?

A: I want to be more focused on shadows and composition. This is a huge field to explore. I can imagine myself cooking with these two ingredients for a long time. Have a look at Fan Ho’s work. You will immediately understand what I say.

C: How do you pick your subjects?

A: The subjects pick me, actually. I am always aware of my surroundings and my radar is fully automatic. The music helps. It all happens by itself. However, I don’t tell you anything new when I say that I love to study and capture a woman’s body language and signs.

C: Which is your own favourite photo and why. Tell us the background. When are you satisfied with a photo?

A: Three questions in one! There is a little story behind each picture. This is so wonderful about photography. My own favourite photo is the one below. It was taken at an S-Bahn station I go to everyday to go to work. I was trying to find a spot to take a good picture, but months were running free without having any results. I took a lot of pictures but none said anything to me. I couldn’t believe that. It could not be that hard – but sometimes is. Then, I got tired of not making a decent shot there, until one cold morning, I saw that couple. I knew they were going to kiss, so I stood in front of them. The train started to move and I thought that would make them stand out from the background. I took just that picture of them and was such a good feeling, taking just one and knowing how it was going to look. It all happened in a few seconds. Afterwards I realized that I was at that station and that my wish had been fulfilled. I felt really happy.

From this picture I learnt that capturing the moment right before a kiss happens can be even more electrifying than the kiss itself. Can you see the spark between them? When I get to show these moments, I am satisfied.

C: If you could shoot any other place in the world, where would it be, and why?

A: I would like to go to NY with the Rolleiflex. That would be so great. To follow the steps of Vivian Maier – a conceptual travel. Sounds freaky, maybe it is, but I would love to do it.

C: If someone told you, “I want to take photos like you,” how would you respond? What tips would you give them if they wanted to emulate your style?

A: The world doesn’t need more Justicieres. It would be very boring for me, so no please! I need your variety. Just go out and practice as much as you can. A camera on the shelf or a pocket doesn’t produce anything.

Read books. Look at other people’s work. Go to exhibitions. Talk with other colleagues. There is so much inspiration out there that you could spend your life investigating and trying different things. Just keep moving.

C: What will you be doing photography-wise in 10 years?

A: Maybe I would like to take studio pictures of women. Not conventional erotic or model photography, but something with a much more sensible touch. I am not sure about this idea, but I still have ten years haven’t I?

C: Tell us something that we don’t know about you

A: I am very fond of sports. I train at the gym regularly, train Capoeira and do Kite-Surf. I always keep my body fit. I think this is very important in order to have a healthy mind. I also love baking. Muffins make me go mad – especially the carrot, hazelnut and poppy seed ones. OMG. Or the lemon, raisins and yoghurt with that fluffiness inside…