The Cemetery Project - an introduction

Pilarcitos Catholic Cemetery, Half Moon Bay

Many times I drove down Highway One when visiting my daughter in Santa Cruz. A road winding along the cliffs where ever changing waters of the Pacific carved her caresses into the land with pendulum regularity. There, often I chose to explore a small side road branching off into the unknown, sometimes only to get temporarily lost with no urgency to find my way back.

On one of those trips, a side road took me along fields that were freshly turned over and grass hills no longer green, where cattle grazed before I saw a few houses appearing like dots in the distant. It was a small cluster of structures, a community with no more than two streets. I turned off from the main artery that still lead into the distance ahead, to travel this this narrower road cutting through the settlement with unevenness and in short distance came to a church and a small stone bridge that not only crossed a creek but also marked the end of town.

Monterey Cemetery, Oakland

Continuing onward with the inquisitiveness of an explorers passion, I soon came to the end of the rural road but for a wide foot path traversing towards a broken down wooden gate, where beyond lay buried the towns history.

The cemeteries appearance was unremarkable. It was overgrown, with grave markers tumbling from their once erected presence by natured shifting topography or a youths drunken adventure of stupidity.

It was not the first, nor will it be the last cemetery I explore. But it is one of twelve I have covered these last fifteen months and documented with my iPhone 4S.

St Anthony Cemetery, Pescadero

Earlier this year I noticed the work of other mobile artists photographing cemeteries with the same passion that I felt when spending endless hours on end, on the grounds of memories antiquity. I wrote these artists and inquired if they would like to partake in a collaborative project based on the subject of cemeteries. 

Now six months later, The Cemetery Project — a collaborative series finally comes to fruition and over the next several months, the art work of the talented mobile artists and their stories will appear here at The iPhone Arts website. 

Hope Cemetery, Pescadero

Hope Cemetery, Pescadero

St Anthony Cemetery, Pescadero

Old Pioneer Cemetery, St Helena

Petaluma Calvary Cemetery, Petaluma

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Are mobile app’d images really photographs?

For several months I have seriously pondered the principles and ethics, asking myself ‘is this new mobile medium actually photography.’

With a background in graphic design, commercial and editorial fine art photography, including being a practicing fine multi-medium artist, I felt the need that this question be not only raised and discussed, but also answered. While I have no illusions that this article will not settle much, I remain hopeful that the art community will at least begin discussing the merits of my inquiry. Especially since this new art form is the fastest growing visual medium being explored and crosses all age barriers.

When I ask if mobile photography is actually photography, I am referring to images that have received a heavy application of iOS post production altering software, in which most traces, if not all, of a former photographs reality are lost. Yet we continue to refer to the altered image as a photography, why?

I have heard that it is no different then what we did in the old days in the darkroom with film and while this statement may have a ring of truth to it, a photographic print coming out of the darkroom still retained its appearance as a photographic print with photographic elements and not an image that has had its reality so greatly altered as with many of the mobile captured images.

Granted there are different degrees of applying iOS image altering application were major photographic elements are retained, while allowing the photographer/artist to interpret their creative and personal vision. But what about a photograph whose elements have been altered were most or all traces of it ever having been a photograph to start with are now lost? Yet we go on referring to the art work as a photograph and not as a digital painting, why? 

As a mobile photographer myself and one who has applied a number of iOS imaging altering post production applications, but also one who paints, using different mediums in the creation, I feel that we need to begin to properly define mobile photography.

When I look at the very creative work of Sarah Jarrett, MPA’s ‘Artist of the Year’ or that of talented mobile artist Karin Devine for example, I no longer see a photographic image. What I see is a former photograph that has been so altered that it appears more as a painting and yet referring to it as a mobile painting is also wrong. So what is the answer.

Mobile photography in which the image has had iOS post production application applied to enhance and not altered its reality of its appearance as a photograph, should continued to be referred to as a mobile photograph. Yet when the original image has had its appearance altered that the images foundation no longer resembles a photograph, should be referred to as a mobile multi-medium photograph.

This makes it clear to the viewer the foundation of the art work was once a photograph, but the artist elected to re-purpose the image into a personal creative expression of their artistic vision.

Regardless of the art work being a mobile photograph or a mobile multi-medium photograph, I have and continue to support both visions of mobile creativity. Either of the two-forms of artistic expression should have there rightful place in the art community. We just need to begin to understand the difference between the two art forms and refer to them accordingly. 

          Egmont van Dyck
          Founder of The iPhone Arts

     Notes on the images:

The original photograph was captured using KitCam with Dreamer lens and Deadwood film. Stage 1 and 2 had different KitCam lens and films applied. Stage 3 is the result of Stage 1 and 2 merged, using Blender.

Stages 4 thru 6 were applied using ScratchCam and the final stage the photograph was rendered using Vintage. 

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


KitCam, PhotoForge2, who is next?

A little over one week ago, Yahoo acquired KitCam and PhotoForge2 from Ghostbird Software in order to strengthen Yahoo’s Flickr image sharing social division against rival Google, who purchased SnapSeed from Nik Software back in September of last year.

After hearing the news I was ready to voice my anger at loosing a portion of my workflow, but having been taught to retrain myself and to reflect on both sides of the story, I have given pause and did just that. Even after one week I still come to the same conclusion.

While I support healthy competition, I am deeply disappointed by Yahoo having pulled these two applications from iTunes. By no longer making either programs available through iTunes, many iPhoneographers are being denied from fulfilling their creative vision.

Because of Yahoo’s actions, I can only surmise that another version of either redesigned program will be imbedded with Flickr, denying non-Flickr users access to KitCam or PhotoForge2 post production features. Naturally I am only speculating, believing that a stripped down versions of either program is going to be build within the mainframe of Flickr itself, rather than a ‘stand-alone’ application.

Some of my secondary camera and 'go to' post production applications

For now, those of us lucky enough to have a copy residing on our iOS devices, will nevertheless lose the programs functions, once Apple updates the iOS system, rendering our current versions obsolete, since KitCam and PhotoForge2 are no longer being support as they were removed from iTunes.

When Mark Yawnick from Life in LoFo, he said it best when he wrote “This will eventually be very good for Flickr, but bad for the thousand of iPhoneographers who depend on KitCam and PhotoForge2 as a key part of their workflow.” 

I can only hope that Yahoo will have the clarity of sight to re-release either program or as a combination of the two as a stand-alone application at iTunes, besides having it be part of the Flickr structure, as Google did with SnapSeed for iOS, though they did pull it for the desktop version.

Not having either program in an improved version made available deprives iPhoneographers and the mobile community and does a dis-service to an art form still defining itself. While I remain hopeful, each passing day only makes me more skeptical as the outcome.

As competition becomes more competitive among social sharing sites, I fear we have only seen the beginning of post production applications being gobbled up in a race to be first and bigger and that these applications end up being simplified for the general public, leaving the pro-iPhoneographers hands bound in their creativity stifled and unable to reach their full potential.

The simplification or dumbing down of any application in order to make it easier to use and to make it appealing to the average user hurts everyone. For in the end, everyones picture will begin to look everyone else’s when choices are no longer part of the creative equation.

Shot with KitCam using Dreamer lens and Deadwood film

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Summer Solstice iPhoneography ‘How To’ Sale

Dan Marcolina is having a Summer Solstice Sale. All his books will be on sale and available for only one Dollar from June 21 through June 23. I highly recommend that you look into any of these eBooks, especially if you are keen on learning more about how the art of mobile photography multi-medium is accomplished.

Marty Yawnick of Life in LoFi says “. . . a brilliant new iPhoneography classroom-in-an-app that is fun as well as a highly valuable learning tool, blurring the distinction between ebooks and media-rich interactive app." 

The publication AppAlchemy, you will learn from one of the most experienced and recognized digital artist in iPhoneography today. Cut through the clutter of over 8000 photography apps and be personally introduced to Marcolina's 40 essential apps in 8 categories.

Dan gives you detailed video instruction on how he assembled some of his favorite creations, and formulas for 32 of his recent images. Along with hand picking and displaying over 130 images from the most notable iPhoneographers from around the world as they pertain to each app.

Fur more informations on these publications please visit iTunes by clicking on the links below:

AppAlchemy for the iPad 6.99 > .99

AppAlchemy Pocket (iPhone) 4.99 > .99 (in app purchase)

Mobile Masters 2.99 > .99

iObsessed Companion 2.99 > .99 


Looking Back - Keith Goldstein

New York based graduate from Cranbrook Academy of Art, commercial and editorial photographer Keith Goldstein has been documenting the daily life on subway trains whenever he commutes to and from work. Keith writes: “While we commute, we are crammed into small containers. Shielding ourselves from closeness with strangers, we enter a private space within ourselves.” 

Preferring to be a voyeur, as he too is occupying the same ‘internal space’ as his subjects, Keith does not hide the fact he is taking someones photograph. His body of work ‘Across the Aisle’ has grown to 225 photographs and 14 videos and the entire collection can all be viewed on his Flickr account.

Besides Keith, there were many others before him, like Walker Evans and Robert Frank who photographed the coming and goings on New York’s subways and there will be many more who become enamoured by the social fabric of the public transportation, finding themselves compelled to capture a moment in time.

34th Street


Man with Sunglasses and Arms Folded

Subway Love

137th Street



Friday 1/21/11

After School


Links for Keith Goldstein

The entire Subway series with videos can be seen at pbase.


Pushing the limits of a photo to see where it leads to

While out and about with my son and his girlfriend, I came upon a storefront which had it’s windows and entrance door covered in brown butcher paper. There was nothing remarkable about this, but it did catch my eye because of a large styrofoam cup was left resting on the door handlebar.

Because of the elements whimsical appearance, I decided to take a couple of exposures as an exercise in composition and visual thinking. Choosing PureShot, I slightly underexposed because of the reflection and the whiteness of the cup, in order to pick up a little more detail in these elements.

Application: PureShot - Image #1

Application: PureShot - Image #2

The first shot has the cup slightly off-center but in the second exposure I wanted the back rectangle that is to the right, but in doing so the cup was right back in the center of photograph.

Because the ratio of these two exposures is 4:3, I opted for one more capture, this time a square. Instead of selecting 1:1 ration within PureShot, I chose Hipstamatic with a Jane lens and DC film.

Application: Hipstamatic with Jane lens and DC film - Image #3

I do not know what it was that prompted me to select this set of images over the many others that were shot during our hike in the hills, but after choosing the first exposure as compositionally preferred, I was quickly captivated and began pushing the limits of the photograph to see what it’s real potential is.

Normally when out shooting, I can size up a scene, pre-visualize what the end results might be, especially when the goal is ending up with a Black & White image. Color on the other hand is another matter and while one can envision the colors richness, there are other factors in mobile post processing edits that are simply impossible to pre-visualize.

Post editing on a small iPhone screen has it’s challenges, including a brighter screen then that of an iPad, so it becomes necessary to compensate for the difference in brightness in post edit processing or simple adjust brightness in settings to be comparable to the iPad. Unfortunately I was outside and could not heed my own advice.

I decided to use KitCam for the post edits and after importing my selected base image it was time to decide which lens and film to apply. Though I have my ‘go to’ preferred lens and films, I tried Olga with one of my favorite warm-toned films Deadwood.

Application: KitCam with Olga Lens and Deadwood film - Image #4

The KitCam lens Olga appears to softly emulate LensBaby, but after applying this effect, I begin again from scratch and trying a different lens.

Application: KitCam with Kurt Lens and Deadwood film - Image #5

The Kurt lens provides the user the option to gesture a twist with their fingers and shuffle through the various different effects Kurt lens generates. After settling on one, the image was saved to KitCam and then exported to the cameras photo album.

While warm tones have always been a preference, I was curious to the pictures limits by not altering the images appearance as a photo and turning it into a multi-medium work of art. 

Deciding to remain with the KitCam lens Kurt, other films were selected and tried. The additional following five examples represent what pleased my senses.

Application: KitCam with Kurt Lens and Lomochrome film - Image #6

Application: KitCam with Kurt Lens and Vibrant film - Image #7

Application: KitCam with Kurt Lens and Sepia film - Image #8

Application: KitCam with Kurt Lens and Roschach film - Image #9

Application: KitCam with Kurt Lens and Bleached film - Image #10

Application: KitCam with Accent Lens and Bromine film - Image #11

Though I liked the results how Bleached film altered in the images appearance, trying a different lens and film combination was in order. Yet with the Accent lens and Bromine film rendering the image as a faded color photograph from the mid 70s, the results were not what I was after. Now it was time to try combining two differently altered images and see what we could achieve.

Selecting a warm toned image (#3) and pairing it with a Black & White rendition (#6), these were imported into the application Blender


                          Image #3                                                  Image #6

Taking two identical images that were however each post edited differently and introducing then into Blender can produce some interesting results, especially  since within Blender there are the blending modes that are also found in PhotoShop, providing the end-user with additional alternatives in their post edits.

The results from merging image #3 and #6 achieved a more color concentrated and contrasty image and darkening the non-essential areas and while I like the alchemy that resulted, it is time to review all the steps so far taken and re-evaluate the results. 

Application: Blender, setting 50%, Blend Mode: Plus darker - Image #12

Application: Blender, setting 55%, Blend Mode: Color - Image #13

Application: Blender, setting 30%, Blend Mode: Color Burn - Image #14

Because there is now loss of detail in the dark areas, I thought of using SnapSeed’s backlight, Drama and see if I could regain a little of what was mostly lost, only to see the image become even more contrasty. 

Application: SnapSeed - setting Drama, Dark 2
Filter Strength +100, Saturation +70
Image #15

At first I thought of using SnapSeed’s Grunge effects but they are too extreme for what I want and toning down the contrast is essential. So I tried to give SnapSeed’s effect Retrolux a try.

Application: SnapSeed - setting Retrolux
Brightness −30, Saturation +50, Contrast −50
Style +100, Scratches 0, Light Leaks 0
Image #16

The results achieved in photograph #16, by having it pushed to it’s limits is still not complete. Considerable closer then what I started with. I lost the touch of red on the left side’s door frame that was visible in #14 and 15, along with the identifiable detail of the lock, as evident in #10. Even the little splash of blue under the word ‘PULL’ is lost in #16 and just as important to restore as the touch of red.

This first attempted pass of post process edits provided enough results for review and while image #7’s excellent results with KitCam Kurt Lens and Vibrant film, there are qualities of decay and emphasized textures in photo #16 that are also desirable. 

In the end it will require starting anew but at least there is now a road map based on photographs #7 and 16, which provide a goal to reach for. While these post process edits were simple trying different film and lens combinations, moving a slider and altering the blend combination in Blender. What will be needed is a little masking, maybe even burning and dodging of some parts of the photograph to achieve the desired results.

Applications mentioned in this article and available iTunes





All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Passport to My Neighborhood - an Introduction

Regardless what we use to take our pictures with, in our heart we yearn for distant places, lands that are far away, with strange sounding names and things all foreign to us. And when we host a guest from either another city, state or country, we always are told what a great place we live in, there is so much to see and photograph. Yet when I go out to do a little picture taking, I cannot find anything interesting to photograph. Ever have that same experience?

‘Passport to my neighborhood,’ the series, is all about learning to see, beginning to look at our own neighborhood from the perspective of an inquisitive mind and while your surroundings and esthetics differ from mine, we are only separated by an idea. 

Our eyes are not ours to command; they roam where they will and tell us they have only been where we have sent them. No matter how hard we look, we see very little of what we look at.
                                                            James Elkins

We are bombarded daily with sound-bites of images from news media, advertising agencies, print, let alone our own social media to which we subscribe to, that we have become mostly desensitized, immune to the characteristic qualities of what we are looking at. We must begin to undo the damage and learn to examine our surroundings by overcoming false standards which have became firmly established in our mind and at these limitations we have allowed to impose upon ourselves, must be first unlearned, thereby recapturing the innocence we once had as a child when the world looked grand and full of wonder. 

Torn magazine collage reworked in Decim8

We will retrace together our steps as if rewinding a film, observing our own retrospective like detectives going over a cold case file and reviewing the staggering abundance of evidence that was first overlooked. The reliability of our findings is based upon the objectiveness we are willing to see.  

We will look at that which we have seen daily, taken for granted or simply not noticed and we will create an environment confined within the space of a table, complete onto itself. We will no longer see a blank canvas, but one filled with possibilities, enriching our daily visual thinking.

Torn fliers stapled to a telephone pole

Remains of the mens locker room at an abandoned factory

Hand rail

Standing in front of a glass door

Remnants of a factory now converted to a winery 

Tabletop set for the series ‘Botanical Studies’

The side of a barn

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...