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.
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.”
- Architecture & Design
- Beach Life
- Black & White
- Digita Art & Collage
- Music & Entertainers
- People & Portraits
- Plants & Flowers
- Wildlife & Pets
- Abstracts & Graphic Art
- Street Photography
- “Creative iPhoneography” with FX Photo Studio
- “Pure Beauty” with Perfect Photo
- 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
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.
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