When the ProCamera team asked if I would create a guest post for their blog, I happily agreed. I was introduced to ProCamera in the summer of 2012, and it’s been my go-to photo app ever since.
I’ve created this post from the perspective of a visual artist who uses mobile photography as a component in my practice. You might ask — how exactly does mobile photography feed into my work as a visual artist? I’m still exploring this, as mobile photography is a relatively new medium for me. I hadn’t before considered mobile photography as an art in its own right, but ProCamera began to change this notion for me when I noticed the high quality photos it has helped me achieve. Sometimes, the photos are starting points for drawings and paintings. And at other times, the photo itself becomes the work of art.
As I walked along the Landwehrkanal, I was struck by the autumnal colours and this lone figure sitting beside a tree. Without the figure, the photo wouldn’t be as interesting. If someone or something catches your eye, don’t wait around as things can change quite suddenly. Find a good vantage point and take the picture before the moment passes you by.
I’m here in Kreuzberg, Berlin at the moment. This wonderfully diverse Stadtteil forms the backdrop of the photos contained throughout this entry. Below, you will find the photos I took along with a description of my artistic process. Here are my 5 favourite photos I took over the past few days. There has been very little post-processing to the images, aside from rotating some of them 180 degrees and tweaking the colours, contrast/brightness, and sharpness in ProCamera’s robust editing tools. This photo was taken through the window of an abandoned art gallery. I set ProCamera to night mode. Then, I went into the options and selected 1/4s on the shutter speed. I used the flat surface of the window like a tripod to keep the iPhone steady, then used my finger to slide the focus reticle so that the reflections became more clearly visible.
I was riding my bike along Dieffenbachstraße in search of something interesting to shoot. An abandoned art gallery had this red light emanating from inside. It intrigued me, so I stopped and took roughly a dozen photos from various angles.
This one was taken after a rainy day. I knelt down and used two hands to hold the iPhone steady. There was a strong glare coming off the puddle as the sun began to come out. With the iPhone held in landscape orientation, I lowered the ISO value by using the manual Exposure Compensation slider in order to lessen the intensity of light . Then, I slid the square-shaped blue focus reticle over the reflection in the puddle so that the tree and buildings were in focus before snapping the shot.
Sometimes, something mundane can appear quite extraordinary. I liked how the reddish cobblestones seem to merge with the sky to create the effect of a double exposure.
All photos were shot at various times of the day over the course of a week. Each time I went out with my camera I found I was drawn instinctively towards Berlin’s Landwehrkanal. The dreamy, impressionistic quality of the photographs perhaps has to do with my being a foreigner. I was happily lost, yet also searching to connect with the place. The familiar world can suddenly seem less solid when one explores a new place.
As a child, I would perform headstands in order to see the world around me in a less familiar way. It brought me a strange exhilaration. Some things never change.
I’ve begun to use the shots I’ve taken with ProCamera as reference material for a new series of drawings I’m working on. Here is one of the sketches based on the photo seen just above. I’m not sure how it will develop, but I hope to create a new blog post in the future to share the updated work as it comes.
I created this 30 minute rough sketch when I returned home from my photo-taking session. It depicts Lohmühlenbrücke.
There is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere.
Some photo-taking tips to live by:
- Take a photo-taking tour on purpose. This means going to shoot with nothing else on your agenda. I find that my best photos happen during these sessions because there are no distractions.
- Take lots and lots of photos of the same subject. I took around 200 photos in order to arrive at this small selection. Sometimes, we think we have the perfect shot only until we return home, upload the image onto a larger screen, and find that the image might contain flaws we didn’t notice on a smaller scale. This is why I take approximately 5-10 images of the same subject. Each time I shoot, I alter the composition slightly.
- There are many different reasons why we take photographs, but try not to limit too much what it is you think you should or shouldn’t shoot. In short — be fully present in the moment and open to possibilities.
If you wish to take a look at more of Lance’s work, check out his website at: www.lancehewison.com