A Day In The Life Of ...

A Day In The Life Of Mel Harrison, aka mahoganyturtle – A Very Talented iPhone Photographer With A Passion For Bugs

Welcome to our very exciting new column on theappwhisperer.com, this section is entitled ‘A day in the life of …’ and we’ll be taking a look some hugely influential and interesting people in the mobile app world. Ones that we think you will love to learn more about.

This is our seventeenth installment to our new series, you can read the others here, if you have missed them so far. Kicking us off today is Mel Harrison a 35 year old Australian mother of four boys. Mel has always had an artistic outlet in her life, be it drawing, soft sculpture or textile art. Unfortunately though, she has a hereditary peripheral neuropathy condition which has worsened over the last three years, making a lot of her textile work almost impossible to work on and this had left Mel feeling rather lost without an outlet.

Things became a lot more positive in December 2011 when Mel purchased an iPhone and shortly after found a tutorial on macro photography by Lindsey Thompson, she bought a macro lens within minutes of finishing reading her tutorial!

Next Mel joined Mobitog and fellow Australian iPhoneographer Aaron Davis inspired her further with his macro work. As she delved further into the world of apps she started experimenting with the art side of the iPhone world and has not looked back since.

It is an understatement to say Mel was surprised when her work was accepted on curated blogs. Mel was even more surprised when she was named Artist of the day at iPhoneArt and you could have knocked her over with a feather when she was voted as Artist of the month for March. Mel has seen her work exhibited around the world since, including one of her macro images projected onto a wall in New Zealand. If you had told her all this would happen in January she would have scoffed and said don’t be silly!

Personally, viewing Mel’s work I think she is very modest and certainly deserves all the praise and recognition she has gained.

Check out the full interview below…

We have included exif data, in as much as the app or apps that were used to create the final image. As many of the images were cross processed we have listed the apps in the sequential order they were used in the editing process, we have also provided links for each app to the iTunes App Store, just incase you’re inspired enough to try them out for yourself as well as accessories used. You can find all the links 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 [email protected], and we’ll get it set up.

First Things First…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Are you looking’ at me?’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Snapseed- Tune and detail, Pixlromatic- frame


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

MH – Abruptly, and often before the sun, thanks to my almost three year old. I am really not a morning person, unfortunately.


Magic Hour…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Aura’ – Apps Used – Camera: Hipstamatic, Tiny planet, Image blender, Juxtaposer, Pixlromatic


JC – When is your favorite part of the day for taking photographs, do you hanker for the magic hour or shoot whenever the opportunity arises?

MH – My preferred time to take photographs is in the late afternoon, the light is perfect especially for my macro images. We are in Autumn here in Australia at the moment and the afternoons are just spectacular.


Photographer vs iPhone Photographer…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Blink’ – Apps used – Camera: Native, Tiny planet, Juxtaposer, Photowizard, Image blender, Pixlromatic, Scratchcam


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

MH – Honestly I have never really produced anything particularly fantastic from a traditional camera. I have never, and still don’t, referred to myself as a photographer.


New Apps…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Canna Lily’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Simply B&W, Snapseed- detail, Diptic- frame


JC – Do you like to download new iPhone photography apps regularly?

MH – I certainly do, I am a member at mobitog and apps are discussed and as a result downloaded very frequently.




Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Dalivision’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Juxtaposer, Simply B&W, Lenslight- filter TV screen, Pixlromatic- frame


JC – How often do you update your existing apps?

MH – I check for updates regularly and often get a heads up from sites such as Theappwhisperer that an update has been released.


Location, Location, Location…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Damn Paparazzi’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Snapseed- Tune and detail , Pixlromatic- Vignette


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

MH – Well, never having left Australia by default Australia it is. I do happen to live in a very beautiful part of Australia at the foothills of the Wattagan State Forrest mountain range. 99% of my images are taken in my garden so I would say that has to be my favorite place to shoot.


Tools Of The Trade…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Down at the farm’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Art Camera- oil paint, Photowizard, Image blender


JC – Do you also use iPhone photography tool apps, such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris?

MH – No, I have not heard of it actually…




Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Farm Life’ – Apps Used – Camera: 6×6, Art Camera- oil paint, Photowizard, Image blender


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

MHFlickr is my main back up for my completed work. I also share at mobitog and iPhoneArt. I tried a few other sharing apps e.g Instagram and eye’em but I don’t use them regularly.


Favorite Subjects…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Forrest of tranquillity’ – Apps Used – Juxtaposer, Decim8, Water my photo


JC – What are your favorite subjects?

MH – Bugs!! I love taking macro images of bugs and creepy crawlies; flowers in macro are a close second. I find macro photography very peaceful and relaxing. I referred to it once as Yogatography; meditative, with lots of deep breathing, slow movements and sometimes strange positions.


Favorite Apps…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘In memory of those that stood before’ – ANZAC day 2012 – Apps Used – Camera: Native, Juxtaposer, PaintFX, Photowizard, Image blender


JC – What are your favorite, at the moment, iPhone photography apps?

MH – My go to apps are 6×6 Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Paintfx, photowizard,Juxtaposer and image blender. I regularly use tinyplanet photos as well.


Where In The World…?


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘In the clover’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Snapseed- Tune and detail, Pixlromatic- Vignette


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

MH – I think it is a very global medium, though there is a lot of representation from the UK and USA. I would love to see more Australian iPhoneographers though we seem a little thin on the ground in comparison.




Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Is there something on my face?’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Snapseed- Tune and detail, Pixlromatic- frame


JC – Do you take photographs with your iPhone every day?

MH – Yes! Rarely a day will go by where I don’t take something. I take part in a lot of challenges on mobitog, so there is always something to keep me busy.


Top Five Tips…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Lunch’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Snapseed- Tune and detail, Pixlromatic- frame


JC – What are you top five tips for iPhone photography?

MH –

1. Always have your iPhone ready to capture images, If I have decided to shoot with a camera app, I open the app and have it ready to shoot then press the lock button so when I unlock the app is ready to go.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Play with your apps, push them to the boundaries so you are aware of what they are capable of, and then use them to their full potential.

3. Join a community for iPhoneography for example mobitog or iPhoneArt, everyone is so friendly and the body of works are outstanding. You will learn a great deal from other members.

4. Subscribe to blogs and iPhoneography sites for up to date information on apps.

5. Have fun with it, create for yourself and let your passion shine through.



Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Orchid’ – Apps Used – Camera: Native and hipstamatic, Tiny planet, Percolator, Image blender, Juxtaposer, Art camera, Shock my pic, PhotoWizard


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

MH – Everything is done on my phone. I am hoping to get an iPad for my birthday this year so I will probably do a bit of editing on that as well.




Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Shine’ – Apps Used – Camera: Native, PaintFX, Shock my pic, Image blender, Twistcam, Juxtaposer, ScratchCam


JC – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?

MH – I have actually taken a couple of short macro videos of bugs, I was really happy with my first attempts so it is something I will be exploring more of in the future.


The Future Of iPhone Photography…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Stop looking at me’ – Apps Used – Camera- Native, Snapseed- Tune and detail, Pixlromatic- frame


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

MH – I would love to see iPhoneography shake off the stigma as being a fad or a fleeting art form and be accepted by the mainstream art and photography community.




Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Storm raged overhead’ – Apps Used – Camera: Native, Juxtaposer, PaintFX, percolator, Image blender, Lenslight, ScratchCam


JC – What do you think is the most popular area of iPhone photography?

MH – I do tend to hang out in the Art end of the iphoneography spectrum. As to popular…I really don’t know…


iPhone 5…


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Succulent’ – Apps used – Camera native, unedited


JC – What do you hope for in the iPhone 5?

MH – Honestly… not much because I probably won’t be upgrading till the model after the 5, I am only 5 months into my 2 year contract with the 4S.




Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Timewarp’ – Apps Used – Camera: Hipstamatic, Tiny planet, Image blender, Face melter, Juxtaposer, PaintFX, iWatermark


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

MH – I have subscribed on Facebook and love reading all the interviews, the tutorials and of course it keeps me up to date with new apps or updates on apps. I have a few other blog I follow but Joanne is the most thorough, informative and interesting.

JC – Thank you so much Mel 😉

Complete Links To All The Apps Used And Mentioned In This Article


Copyright Image – Mel Harrison – ‘Wormhole’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Tiny Planet, PaintFX, Image Blender

Tiny Planet Photos
Image Blender
Simply B&W
Art Camera
Water my photo
Shock my Pic
Face melter

Favorite App With links not used in the above article:


Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]