Welcome to another new series of interviews and insights that we are running on theappwhisperer.com. This new section, entitled, Extension Of The I, goes deeper into the photographic aspects of mobile photography. It delves into the lives and thoughts and influences that our artists experience from their photography. No other mobile photography website reaches the depths and emotions of the mobile photographers as we do in this new series of interviews.
We think you’re going to enjoy this, a lot. Today, we are featuring Kenny Allan. Kenny Allan is the founder of El Studio, a creative graphic design studio based in Scotland, UK. Previously, Kenny worked in the design industry in London, Bilbao and Glasgow. His work is evident nationally and internationally for global brands. His dedicated approach to craftsmanship has enabled Kenny to build and create strong design teams, working with designers to fulfill their upmost potential. El Studio’s methodology and approach reflects the design ethos that has rewarded Kenny with international and national awards. Kenny has also produced an iPhone photography book and details of that are at the end of this article.
Read this exclusive interview with Kenny below…
Each image in this selection was captured in the same way, with the default iPhone camera. Each one was then edited in Filterstorm and Camera+. No other apps or processing was used to create these images. You can find all the links at the end of this article to these apps.
(If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘Extension Of The I’ section, just send an email to Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get it set up)
So, without further ado, let us begin…
First Things First…
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Thoughtful Moment’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – How did you get started in photography?
KA –At a very early age I asked my parents if I could have a camera for Christmas. They bought me a Kodak Instamatic it was my pride and joy. I spent that Christmas day photographing all the family, the turkey, the festivities and there began my love of the camera. It became an extension of me, very rarely would I leave the house without the trusty Instamatic in my pocket too scared I would see ‘the shot’ but be cameraless.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Tranquility’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Who and what are your influences?
KA – I am influenced by everything surrounding me mountains, sea, nature, color, people, art, architecture, writing, design. Creative story-telling, in all forms influences and inspires my passion to create. The works of Picasso (Guernica), Bob Dylan (A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall) and Ernest Hemmigway (Old Man and the Sea) are powerful examples.
And, a few lines from me…
Crepuscular skies dawn an awakening,
Yellow bloom, scent of sweet meadows,
Spring time streams, source of clear horizons,
Glass white glaciers, ice sleeping mountains,
White sheltered peaks outshine the twilight,
Red rolling sun, fuses the climate.
Young mothers feed naive wanting siblings,
New born feathers fall from the starlight,
Mountain griffins dance theatrical thermals,
Yellow spotted cheetahs prowl the Savannah,
Sleeping reptiles wake from a winter,
Bright cryless eyes blind for their mother,
Blood red sun sets for forgiveness.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Mist’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – What draws you to the subjects you seek?
KA – The idea that we are surrounded by beauty but sometimes we pass it by seeing things in a different perspective. Living in Scotland can have challenging weather conditions, but, it is the diversity of these conditions that inspire me to find something unexpected, something beautiful, atmospheric.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘The Unconquered Pyrenean Peak’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – What is it about these subjects that you want to capture/communicate and ultimately convey in your images?
KA – A moment in time. An atmosphere, a mood, a feeling, a story that lies within. To be able to connect with whoever looks at the shots and stir an emotion, a reaction.
A moment of spontaneous insanity!
“Ha! Yes I remember the occasion well. I was returning from an early business meeting, with my colleague Lee Boyce, when I suddenly spotted the sunlight breaking through the winter mist. Without any warning, I swerved the car into an opening, ran into a boggy field, crouched down and started shooting. Lee sat speechless! I ventured deeper into the field, in more ways than one, as my feet submerged beneath me, to capture the sunlight and mist as it played magical tricks. At this point, Lee got out of the car and started shooting my moment of spontaneous insanity.”
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Beyond Largs’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – How did you ‘settle’ on this subject?
KA –At the moment my work is certainly leaning towards landscapes and nature but that is only because I am constantly surrounded by it. I live 5 minutes from the hills and sea, and having an active cocker spaniel we venture into the countryside everyday. My first book ‘iPhone Only, Photography 1’ is a study of nature, portraiture, architecture and urban life. I do not see myself as solely a landscape photographer, just simply a photographer. I will capture any subject matter, if it is there too be captured.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Simplicity’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Is there another are/subject that you would like to explore, if so, what and why?
KA – I don’t really plan any subject matters, the beauty for me is spontaneity. The iPhone is with me, just like the Instamatic was all those years ago, 24 hours a day and if something presents itself I’ll try to capture it. One subject matter that does captivate me is Mount Everest that would be special! Unfortunately, only last week I came across a blog that featured the climb of Everest using an iPhone. Next year I am planning to climb Mont Blanc, so that will be one to capture.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘A Day In The Rain’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Which photographers (not necessarily mobile photographers) do you most admire and why?
KA – I have great admiration of the work of Claire Courtney, a Brighton based photographer, Reuben Paris and Mark Seager, both form Glasgow.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘The Lonely Stance’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Tell us about your photographic technique – do you rely on intuition or do you believe in a more formal/trained approach?
KA – It most certainly has to be intuition. It is important to explore your view point, find a different angle, then compose the shot accordingly. Understanding composition is of paramount importance to give drama, scale and a well balanced photograph. I have found myself in various uncertain positions in order to capture something different. It is also important to observe the full shot in the camera and not rely on heavy cropping later on.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Barcelona’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Henri Cartier-Bresson is in many ways, the Godfather of street photography, even in the 1930’s he enjoyed using a small camera for discretion in order to capture people and tell a story – do you feel this way regarding mobile photography?
KA – Yes undoubtedly. The great advantage of mobile photography is its unimposing presence. More times than not people are unaware that you are taking their picture. If they are aware they feel less threatened. These fishermen were oblivious to me crouching down behind them as I shot into the evening sun.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Meall Nan Tarmachan’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – How has your photography evolved?
KA – I think it is a natural process. Having spent all my life taking photographs you are never happy and only hope the next shot you capture will ‘be the one’. It might be for that day but tomorrow there will be something better and this for this reason I have an endless passion to experiment.
All For One…
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Moorland’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Many of the great photographers, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier Bresson described only shooting images for “themselves”do you see this attitude with mobile photographers?
KA – No, not at all. Mobile photography has opened the door to share your work worldwide. It is a great representation of yourself, culture, country and how you view the world. I am fascinated at seeing other photographers throughout the world and I welcome other people to view my work.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Field Of Wheat’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Do you take risks with photographs, push boundaries? If yes, please give examples, if no, why not, would you like to?
KA – The simple answer has to be yes!
Sunday 29th January. Snowing, chilling icy winds, oh what a perfect day!
“As a climber, I often steer clear of the normal ascent of mountains, in favor, of a far more isolated challenge. On this occasion, it was no different. My chosen route was populated with one lonely stag, high on the mountain, visible, fleetingly, through the descending blizzard. As my ice-axe and crampons penetrated the solid mass, I stopped to rest. Breathing heavily, I viewed my surrounds. Wow! What a shot. Precariously poised, I fumbled into my jacket to retrieve my iPhone. Ok, I have three points of contact with the mountain, I’ll get that shot. Mmm, slight problem, chunky winter gloves, I won’t be able to press the camera button. Carefully, I managed to get one glove off with my teeth, unfortunately, within seconds my bare skinned hand started to shake with cold. So, hanging onto the side of the iced mountain, ice-axe and crampons firmly placed, I steadied my frozen hand and clicked”.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Gone Fishing’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – What is your favorite picture, of your own and why?
KA – Very difficult today this one, tomorrow it will be something else. The reason Simplicity
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Blowing In The Wind’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Do you get emotionally involved with your photography?
KA – Yes very much so. I hope that my passion and emotions translate through my work.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Tour Du Carlit’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Does your life become entwined with your subjects?
KA -Yes, it is an integral part of my life. Being constantly inspired from what is around me nurtures creativity.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Sunny’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Do you have a digital workflow system to sort your images, if so what is it?
KA – No, not really. I am still a bit of a purist and prefer to do as little post-processing as possible. Obviously, I have to do some but, in general, I hope to capture the image in camera.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Misty Magical Forest’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Do you have a special processing style?
KA – Keep it to a minimal. My one pet hate is seeing off straight horizons (unless it is deliberate). There are plenty of apps that you can straighten the horizon. Take the time, attention to detail.
Tips For Processing…
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘The Chinese Lake’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – Do you have any tips for processing?
KA – This is not one of my strong points! I use Image Capture to download from the iPhone to my Mac. I then use Abode Bridge CS5.1 to view my folders and Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 to view individual shots.
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘The Tay Railway Bridge’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – How do you think photography has changed over the years?
KA – It has become accessible to all. Prior to the digital era, photography was an expensive pastime for both professional and amateur. Now it can be enjoyed by the vast majority. Photography is a beautiful art form and with mobile photography the opportunity to explore is endless. We can now share our visions and experiences across the globe, and connect with many individuals, who have discovered a talent. It has given people the freedom to experiment. Previously, photography was a patient business, either waiting for the film to be processed or endless hours in the darkroom (which I used to love). Now, it is instant, it’s still fun and it’s at your fingertips. It is about embracing technology and using devices to there full potential.
35 mm Film Days…
Copyright Image – Kenny Allan – ‘Summer Flowers’ – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, Filterstorm, Camera+
JC – As a mobile photographer you’re at the cutting edge of technology, do you ever hanker for the 35mm film days?
KA – I did for sometime but, I have to admit my passion lies with exploring and experimenting with mobile photography.