Welcome to our very exciting interview column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled “A Day in the Life of…” is where we take a look at some hugely influential, interesting and accomplished individuals in the mobile photography and art world… people that we think you will love to learn more about. This is our 106th installment of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here.
Today we are featuring mobile photographer Mark Daniels. Daniels grew up in the Texas hill country and studied mathematics, science and humanities as an undergraduate and architecture as a post-graduate student. He left architecture school to live in San Francisco and work in the newly emerging bioscience industry. Throughout his career in industrial technology Mark maintained a parallel life as a photographer and artist.
He moved to Southeast Asia and has lived there for the past eighteen years, pursuing bioscience research technology by day and photography by night. In 2010 Mark became enthralled with mobile art photography and considers iPhoneography and mixed media art-making his primary calling. Mark started the Facebook group Melancholia and is a member of the New Era Museum artistic committee. He has been a devoted fan of TheAppWhisperer from its’ early days.
We couldn’t wait to find out more about Daniels and invited him to take part in this interview. We think you will all enjoy this a lot, it’s full of fabulous insight, images and words.
Under each image you will find the title and a list of all the apps used, links to these apps are at the end of the article.
(If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘A Day in the Life of…’ section, send an email to Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get back to you.)
‘Angels’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Camera+, Dynamic Light, Snapseed
Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?
Before my first cup of coffee, life looks pretty grim. But because of the Ethiopian goat herder legacy, I am usually out the door by 10am to my day job in the world of business. I always check the Facebook photo groups to see what was posted while I was asleep here in the (other) City of Angels.
‘Ascent to Despair’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?
I walk through my neighborhood, which is in a half residential and half industrial section of Bangkok, and on the way to the Skytrain I take some photos. There is always something I hadn’t noticed, or the light is different.
‘Bangkok Replicant’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Camera+, ScratchCam, Snapseed
How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (Pardon the pun)
Because I work and travel for my business, I had always taken cameras and shot during off hours – allot on the weekends. In 2010 that changed when I decided to bring art photography from the periphery to the center of my life. This followed a personal, professional, business , financial and political crisis. I needed a platform that I could carry all of the time without being too conspicuous or having business associates think I was only there to take photos (which is in fact true – business is there to support my mobile artwork – but they don’t need to know that).
‘Corner’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
Do you like to download new mobile photography apps regularly?
I used to download everything new just to try. I have about 200 apps on my iPhone and I routinely use about 5 or so. Now I download any new Hipstamatic combo or something that seems well suited for my work. I will try almost anything once.
‘Crossroads’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, LoMob, Glaze, Snapseed
What is your preferred platform, Apple iOS, Android, Windows?
Apple for sure because I can easily integrate everything. I have two iPhones (4 and 5S), an iPad, and an iMac and Macbook Pro.
‘Drained’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Camera+, Snapseed
Would you consider changing platforms and why?
I would change if they came out with something that was cheaper than Mac but could be integrated and use all of the Apps I have.
‘Etched Beginnings’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
How often do you update your existing apps?
I update whenever an update alert comes, so almost daily.
‘Handcycle’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Camera+, Scratchcam, PicGrunger, Snapseed
What are your favourite photography apps and why, what features do you look for in a new photo app?
Hipstamatic is my favorite hands-down. So many variations. But life would be impossible without Snapseed, LoMob, and Blender. For more conventional shots I like Camera+. Glaze, Dynamic Light and Photocopier are important. I look for ease of use and a broad range of capabilities. Snapseed is my all around favorite.
‘Heat of Transformation’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
Where’s your favourite place to shoot and why?
I would be very happy to take one of those Chernobyl tours they have now. I love shooting old factories and back streets of Bangkok and other SE Asian cities. Having lived in Asia for nearly 18 years I have seen some nice junk. Observing and contemplating common objects in decay has a powerful psychological and emotional transformative and healing affect.
‘Modulus’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
Where do you like to upload your photographs to – Flickr, Instagram etc?
I load between 3 to 10 photos per day to Facebook groups. I use EyeEm as well. In the past it was P1Xels.
‘Moon over Parador’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Do you use your mobile phone everyday to take images?
Every day, all day. I try to follow the old Air America motto – “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere – Professionally”.
‘Nocturnal Alliance’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
Do you like to use external hardware products with your mobile device for image and video capturing, such as lenses, tripods, external storage and battery packs? Please elaborate as much as possible.
I use tripods, the Owle device for handheld videos and Olloclip lenses (the new 4-in-1 is great)
‘Paradise’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Camera+, Image Blender, Snapseed
Do you edit images on your mobile devices or do you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer?
For iPhone images I process in the iPhone, or occasionally in an iPad.
‘Radio infrequency’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
Where do you envisage your mobile photography passion will take you? Have you been involved with exhibitions etc? Please elaborate if you can.
iPhoneography is now my principle media and I do not see that changing anytime soon. I also draw, paint and do 3D collage, but always with the idea of photographing and aping the photos of the other media. I like to do iterative iPhoneography. For example, taking a Hipsta photo of a 3D collage, then printing the photo, followed by drawing the printed photo, then reprinting the photo and so on. Apping and blending the results is often interesting. I have had work shown in galleries, offices and private homes, online galleries like NEM and P1Xels. I have a website but have only recently thought about expanding how I exhibit my work. I am definitely moving toward more full-time work in the arts, although I see value in a day job as a source of material (and food).
‘Safe Harbor’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
Do you also enjoy shooting videos with your mobile phone? If so, what do you do with them? Have you considered uploading them to our Mobile Movies Flickr group?
Have you considered uploading them to our Mobile Movies Flickr group? I recently helped shoot a no-budget Noir film in Bangkok that a friend wrote and directed. We shot some of the sequences with an iPhone. I can see allot of potential.
‘Snowbound’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Image Blender, Snapseed
Where do you see the future of mobile photography?
It is here to stay and will evolve as the technology evolves. It is special in the sense that it has opened up art to a much broader audience, and although it won’t replace conventional galleries, people can now self-publish or join groups with very accomplished artists. At the same time, it will probably be viewed as another medium. The enduring iPhone works will be those that are emotionally and psychologically compelling and speak to our common humanity. One of the great things about mobile arts is that it more easily lends itself to the Wabi Sabi notion of “happy accidents”.
‘Somnolence’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
What do you think is the most popular area of mobile photography?
If I look at WiAM, Appstracts or NEM, my sense is that mobile photography is still largely in the experimental phase where people are trying to stretch the technology. It is allot of fun to do that and some of the results are incredible. The risk is in “over-apping”, but as long as nobody is killed or seriously wounded it is ok. In the early days it was grunging and PhotoMuse effects, now it seems to be more about surrealistic morphing.
‘Stone Killer’ – ©Mark Daniels
Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?
My sense is that Europe has lead the way, although there is amazing work from N. America. Out here in Asia mobile photography is still nearly all snapshots with friends – a social activity. In 2012 I approached a popular avant-garde gallery in Bangkok about doing a iPhoneography show.
Several well-known artists (like Roger Guetta, Rudy Vogel and Karen Divine) agreed to participate and I gave links to the gallery owners. They saw it as sort of a parlor trick rather than serious art. Later this year I hope to have a show sponsored by an influential art group here in Bangkok and it will include local Thai artists as well as overseas participants.
‘Subserviance’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Camera+, Image Blender, PicGrunger, Snapseed
If you could select a specification for a mobile smartphone, what features would you select, photographically speaking?
I am moving in the direction of fewer and simpler apps and processing. Snapseed keeps getting better, and if it could integrate some of the LoMob, Blending and Glazing capabilities it would be enough for me. Of course, assuming that Hipstamatic keeps adding combos. I would like to see higher output resolution capabilities for Hipstamatic.
‘Tools of Enquiry’ – ©Mark Daniels – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Snapseed
What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?
TheAppWhisperer has been an incredible service to artists – both beginning and advanced. When someone asks me about mobile arts I send them a link to AppWhisperer first. Joanne’s work has been an irreplaceable asset to the mobile arts community.