Looking Back - Ben Marcin

I have always felt that it is also the responsibility of any serious photographer to dedicate a portion of their time on a series spanning months or years for the benefit of society. Such a project does not guarantee to make you famous, yet alone rich, it just may make you a better photographer.

Having worked on numerous series which have spanned from 2-3 years to even 9 years and still a work in progress, resulting in a record that has documented the subtle changes reflected in the people and geography. Such a body of work is that of Ben Marcin’s series Last House Standing. Hehas not only documented the plight and abandonment of eastern seaboard urban landscape but also made a personal photographic statement. 

Ben’s journey took place mostly in Baltimore, Maryland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but also to Camden, New Jersey, where he captured the lonely, isolated remains of a better time. 

Artist Statement on Marcin’s series ‘Last House Standing’

One of the architectural quirks of certain cities on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. is the solo row house. Standing alone, in some of the worst neighborhoods, these nineteenth century structures were once attached to similar row houses that made up entire city blocks. Time and major demographic changes have resulted in the decay and demolition of many such blocks of row houses. Occasionally, one house is spared - literally cut off from its neighbors and left to the elements with whatever time it has left.

My interest in these solitary buildings is not only in their ghostly beauty but in their odd placement in the urban landscape. Often three stories high, they were clearly not designed to stand alone like this. Many details that might not be noticed in a homogenous row of twenty attached row houses become apparent when everything else has been torn down. And then there's the lingering question of why a single row house was allowed to remain upright. Still retaining traces of its former glory, the last house standing is often still occupied.

All photographs by ©2013-2014 Ben Marcin - All Rights Reserved


Mobile Master Winners at Putnam

The Empty Spaces Project, 114 Main Street, Putnam, CT. 06260

Last year Paul Toussaint was one of the Mobile Master’s winners and due to his efforts, has brought one of about the galleries major exhibitions. This coming month, The Empty Spaces Project Gallery will be hosting the 2014 winners of the Mobile Master competition.

Ann Monteiro and Paul Toussaint who run the gallery have combined their love for art and mobile photography, by creating a space, where the art not only can be exhibited but also reach an audience in educating that there is more depth to mobile then just clicking the plus button.

The two of them took an empty storefront in the small charming town of Putnam and with the collaboration of local businesses and individual volunteers, have brought about a not only a new business, but also have also fostered what it is to be a community. Due to the increased activities at The Empty Spaces Project Gallery, neighboring restaurant owner to fellow galleries and street musician have reaped the benefits from their efforts. These positive efforts of theirs have benefited the community not only on a social level but also economically as well.



Artwork by Anika Toro and Craig Corbin

About The Mobile Masters 
by Dan Marcolina

Mobile Masters is a 2 year old venture to reveal the best art and tech of this new underground mobile photo movement. It started last year at Macworld where we brought together over a dozen of the highest profile artists developers and bloggers to reveal their processes and passion in an epic 9 hour workshop, the largest gathering of mobile talent to date. After which a companion interactive iPad eBook was created (shown to the right) that captured even more detail from the invited artists. And has been sold in over 60 countries. This year along with another epic Macworld workshop we decided to do an open call for entries into the eBook. This created a way to gather a more diverse and undiscovered group of work. For me it was less of a contest and more of a collection and curation process with a minimal fee to support the creation of this show and folio.

After quite a long, loving journey through thousands of images from 32 countries and 323 individuals the six judges have boiled it down the final featured artist shown in this edition. Present throughout the work was a consistent high level of skill and imagination and I come away inspired! There were many people who were right on the verge of making the cut and no one should feel discouraged to not have made it. Anyway this was more of a collection process for me than a competition. This new chapter in photography has really just begun... the possibilities and opportunities for the future are wide open. After you browse through this show and the eBook I think most of you will agree, the bar was pretty high.

The Judges By employing a balance of world class fine arts and mobile photography judges, the goal of this exhibit was to objectively identify and showcase the world’s top artists who are breaking new ground in mobile image discovery and invention. To PROVE the unique results from the form and function of mobile photography has crossed the threshold of acceptability and is a distinctive new movement in the history of the art form. The Mobile Movement.

The Mobile Exhibit 2014 runs from May 2 through June 1

The gallery is closed on Monday and Tuesday. 
For further information call 1.914.620.5144

The Empty Spaces Project Gallery FaceBook page
Mobile Masters at iTunes

Gallery photo by Paul Toussaint


And the OlloClip winners are

We wish to say thank you to everyone who entered our OlloClip 2X Telephoto lens with rotating polarizer GiveAway and now it is time to announce the two lucky individuals who have won our largest TiPA GiveAway to date.

There were 67 comments at our website The iPhone Arts with an additional 107 on Instagram. However since we also left comments on both sites, we needed to deduct our own comments, which left 38 entrees at the TiPA website, with an additional 94 on Instagram. 

In our instructions we stated you could double your chances of winning by leaving a comment on both sites, an opportunity only a few people have taken advantage of. We hope that at future TiPA GiveAway, more will make good use of this opportunity.

We used Research Randomizer to determine the winners and here are the results. At The iPhone Arts website, the winner is Kim Lawrence, @klawrenc, and on Instagram, @aspiritofplace, Saskia Howard  Congratulations to the two of you and we will be trying to reach shortly to obtain your contact information.

We wish to thank everyone who participated in this venture of ours, but especially Patrick O’Neill of OlloClip for making this TiPA GiveAway possible.

          Photographic Notes

The photograph was taken with an iPhone 4S, to which was attached an OlloClip 3-in-1 lens, using the wide angle lens. The camera application was PureShot and post processed on the iPhone 4S using VSCOcam, PhotoCopier, and BrushStroke. We had two different completed version of the image featuring the artistic textures of BrushStroke and these were blended together using ImageBlender. The result of the blended photograph was reintroduced into ImageBlender, along with the original photograph that was unedited. This then produced the final results featured here.

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


Look What Came in the Post

All this week several more packages arrived with wonderful goodies I am very eager to try, including the items I brought back from MacWorld 2014. Unfortunately, life derailed the start of my testing any of the products because two days after MacWorld, I became ill. Diagnosed with Pneumonia, my second bought with the disease this year alone, I lost valuable time that I will now try to make up.

The BeastGrip

One item I am particularly looking forward to work with is the BeastGrip from designer Vadym Chalenko in Chicago. The BeastGrip was designed to hold ones mobile device, while allowing for external attachments like LED lights, microphone, but especially a conversion lens. 

The BeastGrip showing my iPhone inserted into the unit

Though I had not received my conversion lens or any of the other items, which were ordered from Amazon, I just had to see how the BeastGrip felt with the iPhone in place, as I moved about, taking a test video. In short, the BeastGrip certainly help keeping the iPhone steady, making my attempt at shifting view points a breeze, but much more testing shall be done in the coming weeks.

zNitro tempered glass privacy protector

Another item of interest came from zNitro, courtesy of Greg Norris. They manufacture Nitro Glass Privacy device protection for ones iPhone. zNitro claims that the tempered glass will keep your iPhone glass from being cracked under most conditions and I have seen plenty of iPhones with cracked glass, though it has never happened to me.

When I attended Dan Marcolina’s Mobile Masters at MacWorld, they had a drawing for those who had attended the photo walk prior to the workshop and I had won an OlloClip 4-in-1 lens set with a case for the iPhone 5S, which was passed along to my son as Michele from OlloClip days later sent me not only a 4-in-1 lenses, but also their new Macro 3-in-1 lens system for my 4S, as I held off upgrading to the iPhone 5S, in favor of the upcoming iPhone 6 model.

OlloClip 4-in-1 and Macro 3-in-1 lens system

In the coming weeks I will be testing these and other items under various shooting conditions, carefully cataloging my notes and then reporting back my finding.  In the meantime, stay tuned for other exciting news about some of the new regular additions coming soon to The iPhone Arts website.

Companies mentioned in this post

BeastGrip website
zNitro website
OlloClip website

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


Happy Second Birthday iPhone Arts

Officially today The iPhone Arts celebrates its second birthday. We wrote our first post and published on April 14, 2012, only to announce the launch of the website.

The passed two years have been a ‘wild ride’ and before continuing, I wish to say a big thank you to all those who have followed and become loyal readers. We are also very grateful for all the recent support shown to us by application developers, product designers, marketing and public relation individuals, by providing TiPA with their products to review and also to give away in a drawing. We greatly value all your presence here, taking nothing for granted. A big heartfelt thank you to all.

Since launching The iPhone Arts we have seen many changes, many good ones, some not so, and yet we are not only still as optimistic as on day one, but strongly believe mobile photography has secured a strong foothold in the history of photography. I also believe that over the next two years we will see mobile application developers and product designers addressing more the professional photographer with their products, resulting in a larger share of commercial work being done with mobile units. This shift in the market share will definately benefit the professional mobile fine artist, by providing them with tools to only further the artist’s imagination.

As we head together towards 2015, let us together make this not only another great year, but an even better one.

          Egmont van Dyck
          CEO and Curator

In case you are unaware, we are having our largest TiPA GiveAway to date, for not only one but two OlloClip 2X Telephoto lenses with rotating polarizer, made possible by the generous courtesy of Patrick O’Neill, CEO of OlloClip.

The drawing closes Wednesday, April 23 at noon Pacific time and the winners will be announced the following Friday.

To enter, please visit our previous post and follow the instructions there. You can also double your chances of winning by heading over to our new Instagram site @The_iPhone_Arts.

          Good Luck to all who enter!

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


TiPA GiveAway - an OlloClip 2X Telephoto Lens

I am pleased to announce that through the generosity of Patrick O’Neill, CEO at OlloClip, we are able to have our biggest TiPA GiveAway yet. For not only are we giving away one OlloClip 2X Telephoto lens with polarizer, but two.

We recently reviewed the 2X telephoto lens for MOB fiction, which was also posted at The iPhone Arts website, and now we would like you to experience this wonderful lens for yourself.

I have used it for portraiture, for my table-top still-life and it has proven itself especially useful for street photography.

So if you would like a chance to win one of the two OlloClip 2X Telephoto lenses with polarizer, for either the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5/5S/5C, all you have to do is follow us here at The iPhone Arts and leave a comment. Drawing closes on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at noon Pacific Time.

We are also holding this drawing in conjunction with our Instagram site @The_iPhone_Arts. If you have an Instagram account, you can double your chances of winning by following the instructions there.

We will be randomly drawing two names and posting the results here and at Instagram by Friday, April 25.

I wish you all good luck.

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


Passport to my Neighborhood - A Grove of Trees

This coming May, it will have been one year since I discovered a small grove of California Buckeye chestnut trees. A place to which I remain strongly drawn to and I look forward to revisiting before the heat and drought of summer sets in and changes the environment into a fiery wasteland.

On my way to the Old Pioneer Cemetery in St Helena, California, along Highway 29, where I was going to document the site for an on-going project, that I had passed the Bale Grist Mill and noted that on the way back home I should have a look at the historical site.

After looking around the Bale Grist Mill, it was by now late in the afternoon and the sun had started to set low behind the mountain ridge, rendering the area across the street from me, in a warm golden aura that grabbed my attention.

Once I crossed the street, I needed to make my way through some dense tall shrubs in order to reach the trees I spotted from the mill. I did not know what to expect and I was not prepared for what I discovered.

Ever since childhood, trees played an important part in my life and even today, I take every opportunity to grow a tree from seed. So when I entered this area that was mostly obscured and hidden, it was as stepping back in time, when California was only inhabited by Indian tribes and a few grizzly mountain men, when California was virgin country and mostly unexplored.

I turned to MPro, one of my four favorite camera applications, trying to capture the scene in Black & White, as if it were photographed in the early days of photography. Not content in the results, I tried Hipstamatic, using the Jane lens with D-Type Plate film and after 24 exposures, still nothing felt right. Normally I would use the Jane lens with DC film, but it would be simply to modern, so another try, another combination.

In the end, most of the remaining one hundred and eleven shots were captured using Jane lans with C-Type Plate film, as it not only captured the mood but also the essence of my discovery.

I left the protected grove of chestnut trees with a sense of awe, feeling I have been privileged to witness a living time capsule, where time just stood still, uninfluenced by human touch. I knew I would have to return to observe the passing day, view the changing light’s effect upon these few acres of land and see if it would reveal any secrets, stories long forgotten by those who passed here before.

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


Monokrom - A Review and GiveAway

Earlier this week, I discovered Monokrom, an application for the iPhone and iPad, that converts color photographs into Black & White images smoothly and quickly with one of the most elegant interfaces I have come across in a while.

Monokrom is mostly intuitive, bypassing the various layers of conventional conversion we are use to seeing. By having the layers be transparent and accessible via the menu bar located at the bottom of the screen. 

When you have imported an image to be edited you are in the Tone stage of Monokrome.

Left screen: start-up screen of Monokrom
Right screen: showing the image you are selecting from the camera roll

Left screen: Default settings for ‘Tone’ 
Right screen: Personal adjustments

When one imports an image from the camera roll, Monokrom applies a general default adjustments from which one works. This is seen in the left screen shot. 
The simplicity of this program, are the circles Monokrom calls pucks. These pucks are moved around one at a time to achieve the desired effect and alteration of the image. 

The orange puck controls overall brightness when moved up and down, it also controls the RGB variable when one move it from left to right. The green puck adjusts contrast, depth and drama. When moving the puck up and down it adjusts contrast but when resting in the middle of the image, contrast is neutral. When the puck is moved from left to right, the tones of the photograph are effected.

The blue puck is for adding a duo-tone tint. When it is moved from the bottom of the screen up, this increases the amount the tint, while moving left to right, this changes the color of the tint.

Left screen: Default settings for ‘Finish’ 
Right screen: Personal adjustments

In stage two, Edit-Finish Mode the reddish-pink puck adds noise/grain to the image. When moved from left to right, increases the grain, while up and down, this creates a rougher and more textured look.
The blue puck controls vignetting, movement up and down, increases the effect and moving left to right changes the size of the area being darkened.

Left screen: Showing the memory slots that are available
Right screen: saving the image to the camera roll

In the final stage, Memory, you are able to save your adjustment settings so that if you are doing a numerous images, you are able to quickly apply the settings from a master image to other photographs. There are seven settings you can save, while the eighth slot is an undo feature.

The memory aspect is very helpful and saving a setting is very easy. Simply hold down an open memory slot and a dialogue box comes up. However you can only add two characters to identify the preset.

Monokrom export screen

Currently you are only able to export your image to the camera roll, send it as a text message, or post it via Twitter. Being able to export to other popular social network sites is not available.

Left screen: Mini help guide available within Tone and Finish section
Right screen: Mini help guide within Memory section

Left screen: Index of the main help section
Right screen: Settings for Monokrom

One other nice feature within Monokrom are their instructions. While working within one of the three sections, there is a guide available, but for a more detailed  understanding of the application, one must head to the main help page. There you will find an extensive and easy to understand the various functions of Monokrom.

While the program saves ones photographs as a JPG, by going to settings within the application, you can change this to save your work as an uncompressed TIFF document, something a number of application developers are finally adding due to  the fact that many camera applications permit shooting in TIFF.

Final image after being altered in Monokrom

While I was exploring the various aspects of Monokrom, I discovered that when one is in Monokrom and selecting an, that when holding down on the image or even swiping ones finger over it, the image is previewed as a generic B/W.

My final views on Monokrom

This intuitive and easy to use program does what it sets out to do and does it well. One aspect of Monokrom is that it only takes up 2.9 Mb of disk space of ones iPhone/iPad, unlike other B/W conversion applications.

I did feel that Monokrom lacked an essential feature. Not being able to either double tap or pinch to zoom in order to enlarge the image and being able to see ones results, especially if one plans to apply any grain or noise texture to the image. There is also the inability to export a number of social networks.

While I recommend Monokrom, I do have a list of suggestions for future updates. These add-ons I feel will make Monokrom a killer application.

Suggestion for making Monokrom even better.

1: Being able to double tap in order to view the image larger during editing
2: A before and after button feature
3: Add to Finish mode the ability to soften and sharpen the image
4: A blending slider to allow the original color image to blend with the B/W
5: Having the program be able to recall previous work even when it no
     longer is on the iPhone/iPad, like we have with ImageBlender.
6: Export capabilities to Instagram, FaceBook, EyeEm, Flickr and Tumblr

TiPA GiveAway of Moonokrom

We received 5 codes to giveaway of Monokrom and if you would like your chance at being one of the winners, here is what you will need to do.

1: You need to leave a comment and most important of all, include your contact information, so I can send you your code if you are one of the random winners.

If no contact information is provided and your name was drawn, another winner will be chosen in your place.

2: Five winners will be chosen by random drawing on Monday, April 7 after 6 pm PST. Drawing closes on April 7 at noon PST.  When you go to comment, do not be fooled by ‘0’ Comment, it is a glitch that just loves to confuse people.

3: Please consider following TiPA. You can do this by using NetworkedBlogs or Google. This way you will always be kept up to date.

                         Good Luck!

Monokrom is available at iTunes
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.


UpDate: The results of the drawing are in

Congratulations to the winners . . .
                              I look forward to seeing what you have created.

          Edith Meier
          Lillian Alves de Oliveira
          Petyr Campos
          Rosanna Cappiello
          Gillian Brodie

Your codes will be sent shortly with instructions on how to redeem them.

Thank you all for your participation in TiPA’s GiveAway and a special thank you to Darren Richards from Richards Imaging for making the program available.

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

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