A Day In The Life Of Jay Desind – A Hugely Talented Mobile Street Travel Photographer

Welcome to our very exciting column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled ‘A day in the life of …’ and this is where we take a look at some hugely influential, interesting and accomplished individuals in the mobile photography world. People that we think you will love to learn more about.

This is our seventieth second installment of the series, if you have missed our previous interviews please go here. Jay Desind is a writer and photographer currently in his second year of traveling to many parts of the world. Mobile photography has created an entirely new synthesis of expression for him… he now does all his photography and writing on the iPhone. This past year saw the publication of his first book, the Hotel Vidal, currently available of Amazon. This book showcases how technology is forever changing and expanding the different ways we see the world. View the book here.

You can find all the links to the apps mentioned at the end of this article.

(If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘A day in the life of …’ section, just send an email to Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get it set up.)



© Jay Desind

First Things First


© Jay Desind – ‘A Foot Ahead’ – Snapseed, Dramatic B&W


Joanne – Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?

Jay – Well, right now I am fortunate to be in this bubble of time, living in Italy and managing my business affairs over the internet. This time has allowed me to concentrate on artistic pursuits. I begin nearly every day at TuttoGelato, my little coffee hangout, writing and reviewing photos, and right now answering these questions!

Golden Hour


© Jay Desind – ‘Angels of Arcella’ – Snapseed


Joanne – Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?

Jay – If I am in the photo taking mood, I usually take a train in the morning to a different little town here in Italy. I think I am most active taking photos in the late afternoon. The iPhone seems to love this part of the day the best.

Photographer vs Mobile Photographer


© Jay Desind – ‘Artist Light’ – Snapseed


Joanne – How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (pardon the pun).

Jay – For me, iPhoneography became important once I left Asia and landed in Europe. I knew that taking photos the way I enjoyed to– street scenes and of people– would be more challenging and intrusive in the western world. The iPhone allowed me to approach photography in an entirely new and intimate way.

New Apps


© Jay Desind – ‘Bologna’ – Snapseed, TouchRetouch, Big Lens


Joanne – Do you like to download new apps regularly?

Jay – I’m a gear head at heart, so the answer is yes. Still waiting for that app that makes me better looking and cooks my dinner.



© Jay Desind – ‘Cowboy Carnivale’ – Camera+, Snapseed


Joanne – How often do you update your existing apps?

Jay – Whenever available

Location, Location, Location


© Jay Desind – ‘Eugune’ – ProHDR, Snapseed


Joanne – Where’s your favorite place in the world for a shoot?

Jay – Wow, hard question! Everywhere I’ve been has been an opportunity to try something different. Once we run out of places to take photos I think it will be time to hang up the camera strap (iPhone case).

Tools Of The Trade


© Jay Desind – ‘Gondolier’ – KitCam, Snapseed


Joanne – Do you also use iPhone photography tool apps, such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris and if so do you use it to plan your shoots?

Jay – No, I don’t .

Favorite Apps


© Jay Desind – ‘Hotel Grand Italia’ – ProHDR, Snapseed


Joanne – What are your favorite, at the moment, iPhoneography apps?

Jay – Right now I’m having fun with Kitcam. I like the arrangement of its tools, the ability to take a photo with a certain ‘look’ but also have the ‘raw’ file available if I want to do something different with it. I do about 99.9% of my editing in Snapseed. I also use Blender quite a bit. Sometimes I use Jazz if I want to see some choices that are different, and I like those apps like Glaze that let you imagine you are this awesome painter.



© Jay Desind – ‘Misty Evening’ – KitCam, Glaze, Image Blender


Joanne – Where do you like to upload your photographs? Flickr, Instagram?

Jay – I pretty much just use Facebook… my own landing page and a few groups



© Jay Desind – ‘Morning News’ – Snapseed


Joanne – Do you take photographs with your iPhone everyday?

Jay – I do. I am always trying out new ways to carry my iPhone or strap it to me. It’s ridiculous!

Favorite Subjects


© Jay Desind – ‘Padova Street’ – Snapseed


Joanne – What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

Jay – Most definitely street photography of any kind. I like the gritty side of things and the quiet sweet moments in life. I am not much of a landscape guy, but I do try to give a sense of ‘place’ to my photos… this is quite challenging since I find that wherever I’ve been lucky enough to go, people are people and the lives they live are similar all over the world.



© Jay Desind – ‘Padova Train Station’ – Snapseed, Arista Oil


Joanne – How did the teaching side come along?

Jay – Well, I wouldn’t say I am a teacher in the sense that I stand before a classroom. I hope that my photos and the poems I write for some of them and share on Facebook help instruct those that aren’t with me, that the world is this big crazy, sweet– at times, dark sphere that continues to surprise us with its resilience and wonder. When I was a kid I remember this movie, The Red Balloon, which was just about a boy and his balloon. Every time he thought he had a firm grasp on it, that balloon would slip out of his grasp and lead him somewhere else. In the end, the balloon finally left him altogether. I want to think of myself that way– this guy that leads others to discoveries and then once they find their own ‘feet’ I’m off and away. (Of course I hope I’m not just full of a lot of hot air!)

Top Five Tips


© Jay Desind – ‘Peggy Guggenheim Museum’ – Pixlromatic, Snapseed, Image Blender


Joanne – What are your top five tips for iPhone photography?

Jay – I think an important lesson we have here is that we are living in this incredible period of history. We all have this ability to chronicle our surroundings on the fly and with not much skill. I don’t have a list of tips, besides one. Be true to what you see around you, snap pictures always from a sense of discovery, respect that a image can show a happy moment or a tragic one, but never record the moment to show embarrassment unless the subject is ‘in’ on the joke. Mobile photography has given us the chance to be historian and artist at the same time. We need to be careful that we don’t turn into miniature propaganda machines.



© Jay Desind – ‘Prato Della Valle’ – KitCam, Image Blender, Snapseed


Joanne – Do you edit images on your iPhone or do you prefer to do that on a desktop/laptop?

Jay – I edit almost everything on the iPhone. I do some on the iPad, but to tell you the truth, I wish that we had something the size of the Galaxy Note II to edit on. Even the iPad Mini is not portable enough. Which only shows you how spoiled technology has made me… used to be that I coveted the Intuos Pen Tablets to hook up to my Mac and I wished that the image of my photo would be on the tablet itself. Maybe one day the controls of the iPhone will be imprinted into our foreheads, which will make the embarrassment of tapping my noggin all the time less about trying to remember something and more about creating the next masterpiece!



© Jay Desind – ‘Prince of Padova’ – Snapseed


Joanne – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?

Jay – When I first used the iPhone I only used it for videography. I would do these short funny sketches as I traveled so I could post them on Facebook and those at home could be with me as I traveled from country to country. I personally think my ‘Gum Addiction’ video I shot in Singapore should win an Oscar!

The Future Of Mobile Photography


© Jay Desind – ‘Streets of Copenhagen’ – Snapseed


Joanne – Where do you see the future of iPhone photography?

Jay – Wow, another big question! I think that with any enduring ‘art movement’ this type of photography is creating a sea change in an industry. Much like the ability to carry paint in tubes created the Impressionist movement in painting and brought the ability to paint to a much wider and diverse group of individuals, mobile photography is opening the doors to virtually everyone that has a phone in their pocket. There are people with amazing abilities everywhere– we will see this get even larger. Like any ‘movement’ a few of these people will become iconic symbols of this art form.



© Jay Desind – ‘Streets of Padova’ – Snapseed, Glaze, LensLight


Joanne – What do you think is the most popular area of iPhoneography?

Jay – Of course right now everyone is ‘app’ crazy and that’s a good thing. These cheap little slivers of programs are for the most part created by brilliant young people who have found a way to get their products to an end user in a quick efficient way. This has given us, the end user, incredible tools for virtually no cost. Innovation leads to even more creation. As long as we ‘play’ in this sandbox someone will figure out how to build even taller sandcastles or show us how special one grain can be.

Worldwide Phenomena?


© Jay Desind – ‘Tender Stone’ – Snapseed, ScratchCam, Vintage


Joanne – Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?

Jay – I don’t know enough where all the development of this industry is happening… it’s not important where innovation comes from. Our 24/7 world now makes it possible for things to come from anywhere.



© Jay Desind – ‘Tessera Lettura’ – Snapseed, TouchRetouch, Camera+


Joanne – What do you hope for in newer versions of the iPhone?

Jay – Something more Samsung Galaxy 3 size, better camera, of course, and lens, but the actual form factor staying the same. Sony has done a wonderful job making in-the-body stabilization in their products, so it would be interesting to see if something could be created to eliminate camera shake.



© Jay Desind – ‘Tram’ – Snapseed


Joanne – What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?

Jay – This is a great place to see what is new and what other photographers are doing. Kudos for giving us all a chance to be seen and heard.

Links To All Apps Used Or Mentioned In This Interview


© Jay Desind – ‘Venezia’ – Camera+, Snapseed









Image Blender






Dramatic B&W


© Jay Desind – ‘Wrong Neighbourhood’ – Camera+, Juxtaposer, Snapseed


About Joanne Carter

Joanne Carter is the Founder and Editorial Director of TheAppWhisperer.com. A Professional Photographer and Associate of the British Industry of Professional Photographers, BIPP, as well as a Professional Journalist, specializing in Photography. Joanne is also a Columnist for Vogue Magazine and is Contributing Editor to LensCulture.