First MPA International Exhibit

I recently attended the 15 member juried first International Mobile Photography Awards Exhibit with my good friend Monica, which is now held at the ArtHaus gallery in San Francisco for a three month run. The exhibition was envisioned and organized by fine art photographer, TV producer, filmmaker and mobile photographer, including the Founder of Mobile Photography Award, Daniel Berman, in partnership with FotoMoto, CanvasPop, smartphone application developers, and others.

MPA poster

There are 59 photographs in the exhibit, of which a few were displayed on canvas, with the majority in the photographic traditional manner, as a framed and matted print. The winning entries were categorized into three categories, beginning with Daniel Berman’s founders choices, winners for their specific use of a photographic application, and the third section based upon a specific subject matter categories, as ‘Beach Life’, ‘Self-Portrait’ and so forth.

Though one perceives all images were created using the iPhone, any mobile phone device, from iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Nolia, etc; iOS devises such as iPod Touch and iPad was accepted in this competition.
Processing of each photo had to be accomplished on a mobile device, no desktop computer editing was permitted. Any photo editing application could be used, provided it runs directly on the mobile device, anything else would disqualify the photographers entree.

This limitation placed upon the photographer by the MPA submission guidelines, has revealed some amazing surprises, especially as to the individual creative ability and what actually is possible when one applies their imagination. One might say this alone is a good reason for seeing the exhibit and discovering how artists are merging technology with what the photographer sees and envisions their end results should be.

Conflict — Emily Rose

There were numerous reasons for both Monica and I in seeing this mobile phone exhibit. Though I am new to iPhoneography, I am not to the field of photography, having engaged as a professional commercial advertising and editorial photographer for more than thirty years. So my interest in this exhibit ranged from the creative use of a smartphone, with minimal use of a photo/camera post processing application to numerous applications in achieving a desired effect. This included closer examination of the artists technical results to the final presentation, the photographic art print itself.

Since there was a good range in print size, the quality spectrum was also greatly varied. Those photographs with minimal post production had the best results, producing sharp, full tone range prints. This is mostly due to the manipulation of digital pixel, causing a softer edge and generally a more muted look.

This was not necessarily a negative when one considers the subject matter or what the photographer was trying to achieve, which in most cases was a photographic illustration.

Awesome Sauce — Sara Tune

        The rules and selection process

The exhibit was narrowed down from more than 2200 submissions, coming from 114 countries, resulting in the winning entries and a number of honorable mentions. This was “the world’s largest paid open call in the short history of mobile art and photography,” according to James Bacchi, gallerist of ArtHaus. 

With an entree of fee of $20 for three images and $30 for five, with every image allowed to enter three categories. The entry fees for the Mobile Photo Awards are used to offset the costs of prizes, prints, framing, display, shipping, infrastructure, and a three city gallery tour, with “no further cost to the selected entrance.” 

        Photo Categories 
    • Architecture & Design
    • Beach Life
    • Black & White
    • Digita Art & Collage
    • Fashion
    • Landscape
    • Music & Entertainers
    • People & Portraits
    • Plants & Flowers
    • Self-Portraits
    • Sunlight
    • Waterscapes
    • Wildlife & Pets
    • Abstracts & Graphic Art
    • Street Photography

        Applications Categories
    • “Creative iPhoneography” with FX Photo Studio
    • “Pure Beauty” with  Perfect Photo
    • ShakeItPhoto
    • Diptic
    • CrossProcess
    • Percolator
    • MonoPhoix
    • Juxtaposer
    • Color Splash

Images range from 12"x12" to 18"x24" inches in size, with 16 entrees being 20"x20" inches.

Caught in the Headlights — Chan Car Mun

        Final outcome

The roll of the smartphone, in particular the iPhone plays in the development and direction of photography cannot be dismissed as child’s play, for it is reshaping the meaning and interpretation of photography itself. Even if and when film makes a comeback as a medium, the iPhone will have changed how we view photography as a serious art form. 

When we will look back on these times in a couple of decades form now, it will be no different, then when George Eastman first introduced in 1910 his box camera. Known as the Kodak No. 2 Brownie, it was a very simple box camera with a fixed-focus lens and single shutter speed. Though it underwent design changes, the Kodak Brownie remained very popular until the 1960s.

The exhibit proved beyond any doubt, the iPhone and its rivals are a viable instrument with which to capture an image and turn it into a serious work of art. Though the photographer still faces hurdles as to a certain technical limitations itself, especially that by software developers, we most not lose sight, iPhoneography and smartphone cameras are here to stay. 

It is now up to the end user to demand software developers to step up to the plate as jag.jr has started to do with their release this month of 645 PRO, one of the most advance applications for taking pictures. Though this is a first step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.

Still, the majority of developers need to start providing smartphone software that addresses how photographers use this new technology in the creation of fine art. Providing the photographer with software that addresses not only the taking of the the initial exposure, but also serious post production, with a little less emphasis on LoFi special effects, that after a time, one will only tire of.

In the hands of creative artists, the leading smartphone, the iPhone will continue to push the photographic boundaries, from the traditional to the abstract, while continuously exploring new ways to merge vision and technology with the artist’s end result.

With smart phones reaching the level of fine art proportions, this exhibit should not be missed. The show brings attention to mobile photography and its promise that the art world can no longer ignore.  

Double Dutch Nuns — Jose Chavarry

Dandelion Wishes — Tony Docherty

The exhibit runs from April 5 through June 30, 2012. ArtHaus gallerists are James Bacchi and Annette Schutz. The gallery is located at 411 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. Their hours are; Tuesday – Friday, 11am-6pm and Saturday, Noon-5pm. For other information, please visit the website ArtHaus-SF.

San Francisco Fine Art Fair, Fort Mason - Photo: MPA website

The Mobile Photography Awards and ArtHaus exhibit will be part of the San Francisco Fine Art Fair at Fort Mason, taking place May 17-20, showing between 20-25 images from the current exhibit at ArtHaus.

The exhibit will also travel to Miami, Florida and then to Belgium.

        Other resources to pursue

MoHo interview with with Daniel Berman

MPA complete First International MPA exhibit

MPA submission guidelines for the first MPA International exhibit. The call for submission for the second MPA International Exhibit begins anew with new categories and challenges in September 2012.

Mobile Photography Awards website

ArtHaus official Exhibition Catalog 

Horizontally Vertical — Eric Einwiller


A fortunate discovery

I am always on the look out for interesting old Black and White photographs, including family snapshots from 1900 to about 1960-70’s. So finding these three images to add to my collection would have been anything but special, except that after closer examination of one of the prints, I made a fortunate discovery.

What made these three images now special, at least to me, is their historical value, which at first glance is not obvious, neither to the sales person selling me the photographs. We see the same construction worker in all three prints and one can guess these are from about the 1930s to maybe the early 1940s. Yet after munch closer observation, it is clear that he is standing on top of a bridge, the Bay Bridge during its construction. Though it is not the Golden Gate that spans between San Francisco and Marin Headlands, the Bay Bridge opened six months before the Golden Gate Bridge.

Construction worker on the Western Span of the Bay Bridge, circa 1934/35

The photographer is facing east, with his back to San Francisco and the landmass behind the unidentified construction worker happens to be Yerba Buena Island, (formerly known as Goat Island in 1870s), where in 1939 the Worlds Fair was held. 

Close-up of the print

What also makes the photograph very special is having the ferry, the Alameda present in the lower left hand corner, which just happens to pass by, heading for the City of Oakland.

The Bay Bridge was conceived as early as the ‘Gold Rush’ years, but construction did not begin until July 9, 1933. The bridge was designed by Charles H. Purcell and build by the American Bridge Company, and the chief engineer was Ralph Modjeski. The bridge opened for traffic on November 12, 1936 at 12:30 p.m., six months before the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge.

For a timeline to the present date, with numerous photographs can be seen at the official Bay Bridge website.

All photographs taken with the iPhone 4S, processed using Photoshop and Snapseed.
Copyright ©2012 Egmont van Dyck


Street photography

Street photography had become very difficult these last 15-20 years, especially since the event of 9/11 and the distrust that followed.

I remember walking the streets around San Francisco’s Union Square or Financial District in the early 1980’s during my lunch hour break, wearing my Canon FTb around my neck. The lens, a 50 mm, was set to a predetermined distance for the maximum of depth of field, with an ƒ-stop to 8 or 11, depending on the weather and the shutter to 1/125 of a second. The camera was loaded with a roll of Kodak or Ilford black and white film.

I would use a long cable release to take the exposure while wearing the camera at chest level. Sometimes I would be daring and actually look through the view finder to get the shot.

Now with smartphone cameras having become better, especially with the iPhone 4S, achieving good street photography is now possible once again, especially since so many individuals using a smartphones to photograph their  daily activities, us serious street photographers no longer stand out. We can now document and capture moments for future generations to ponder upon as we do today when looking at the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson or Robert Doisneau, who is best known for ‘Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville’ (Kiss by the hôtel de ville).

The Kiss — The photograph was published in 
the June 12, 1950, issue of Life.

This month, if Robert Doisneau were still alive, he would have turned 100 on April 12, but he passed in 1994. Robert and other street photographers of his time, have left an indelible mark, contribute greatly to our visual history. 

What I have seen in the last four weeks on Instagram, certainly proves that street photography is once again, alive and doing well. 

Photographs by Robert Doisneau

In the future there will be more articles on street photography, featuring not only Henri Cartier-Bresson or Walker Evans, but also a new generation of iPhoneographers capturing life as it happens.


Venturing into new territory

There comes a time when one has to face the inevitable and take the plunge after weeks of research, constructing the elements of the website, along building the adjoining sites, like The iPhone Arts FaceBook page and other social venues. Yet after a few distractions, like an Easter weekend trip to visit San Francisco, where I ended up taking a good quantity of photographs with the iPhone, only to end up processing the images for the next four days, but now things are back on track.

Entrance to San Francisco Chinatown

Though I will be unable to lay out all the various ideas for The iPhone Arts website, I can share with you some of my goals, as they had cemented themselves early on, which in turn brought about the idea of the website.

I purchased my first iPhone when version 2 was released, but it was not until my son presented me with an iPhone 4S as a Christmas gift. Yet it was not for several more weeks before i finally began exploring the smartphone as a camera. It was during an editorial project for ‘Family Secrets Revisited’ in which I needed a photograph for one of my other blogs. 

Editorial image for the ‘Family Secrets Revisited’

First I used my regular Nikon D70 DSLR camera and then switched to trying  the iPhone and before the project was completed, I was hocked. Now I wanted to explore the potential of the iPhone 4S as a serious camera, including its limitations.

Over the next weeks and months, I will share with you some of my experiences using the camera in a studio setting or out in the field; reviews of photo/video applications, and especially introduce you to the works by other iPhoneographers. 

Turning a photo made to look like an old painting

This includes sharing my workflow from taking the picture, through post production and achieving the final look through various software programs.

On the drawing board are plans to write about hashtags, what they are and getting the most out of them. Examples of street photography and how to go about capturing life as it happens. 

However the main objectives of this website is to demonstrate that the iPhone can be used to create serious photographic fine art and that the iPhone is more than just a camera for taking family snapshots or recording ones daily activities.

So will you not join me and together we will venture into the new territory of iPhoneography and change the future of photography.

All photographs taken with the iPhone 4S, processed using Photoshop and Snapseed. 
Copyright ©2012 Egmont van Dyck

A launch date has been set . . .

San Francisco Chinatown

A date for the launch of this website has finally be set. It will be Saturday, April 21 in conjunction with the new moon. Two days later on Monday, we will start of the ‘best photo of the day’ for those using the hashtag #the_iphone_arts for their Instagram uploads. Please review the submission guidelines.

In the meantime visit our The iPhone Arts FaceBook Page for resources and links to temporarily available ‘FREE’ photo/video applications at iTunes.

Thank you for your visit and continued support,

Photograph taken with the iPhone 4S, processed using Photoshop and Snapseed.
Copyright ©2012 Egmont van Dyck

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