Extension Of The I

Extension Of The I Interview – With Donna Donato – The Incredibly Talented ‘Nomadic’ Mobile Photographer

Welcome to another new series of interviews and insights that we are running on theappwhisperer.com, we are delighted that our A Day In The Life Of Series is so popular and successful and will continue to run that, we love it.

This new section, entitled, Extension Of The I, goes deeper into the photographic aspects of mobile photography. It delves into the lives, thoughts and influences that our artists experience from their photography. No other mobile photography website reaches the depths and emotions of mobile photographers as we do in this series of interviews.

We think you’re going to enjoy this, a lot. Today, we are featuring Donna Donato, we published our A Day In The Life of Interview with Donna yesterday and received huge acclaim, thank you all, if you missed that you can read it here. We were so inspired by Donna’s life story and images that we really wanted to find out more about her photographic background, inspirations and aspirations. Although Donna has lived in a number of places, including Colorado, California, Oklahoma, Washington, DC, Paris, France and New York City, sometimes for long periods, she considers herself a nomad. Recently she and her partner sold everything and in February of 2012 moved to Paris. Donna previously spent one year in Paris, back in the 80s. She has returned this time to help her partner fulfill her lifelong dream to live in France for at least one year and they look set to achieve that ambition.

Read this exclusive interview with Donna below…

We have included exif data, in as much as the app or apps that were used to create the final image. As some 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 ‘Extension Of The I’ section, just send an email to [email protected], and we’ll get it set up.)

So, without further ado, let us begin…


First Things First…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘armed cupid’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic – Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash

JC – How did you get started in photography?

DD – I’ve been dabbling in photography for a long time but in 2000 I discovered and fell in love with the Polaroid Joycam. I began carrying the camera everywhere and taking photographs on a daily basis. After Polaroid’s demise I bought a couple of digital cameras, one even bore the Polaroid name. In 2009 I received a iPhone 3Gs, discovered Hipstamatic and I haven’t looked back.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘balancing’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic,Helga Viking Lens, Blanko Freedom13 Film, No Flash

JC – Who and what are your influences?

DD – For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with images, moving and still. Films and paintings play a strong role in my life so I’m apt to ‘see’ light or colors from a favorite painting or painter or the color palette from a film while regarding the world around me.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘boy on a wall’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Helga Viking Lens, Pistil Film, No Flash

JC – What draws you to the subjects you seek?

DD – If something catches my eye I’ll usually try to capture it. It seems I am drawn to objects, begin to notice them everywhere. A series comes into being and after a time runs its course. Currently I’m working on four different series: flea market objects, particularly dolls, flowers, clouds and wall art.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘calla lilly’ – Apps used – 6×6, Snapseed

JC – What is it about these subjects that you want to capture/communicate and ultimately convey in your images?

DD – I try to find beauty in all things, obviously flowers and clouds are easy to understand. I’m fascinated by flea market objects and the glimpse into the ‘lives of others’ these objects provide. For me the dolls seem to hold remnants of the love, longing and sometimes pain the former owners lavished or shared with them. I take pictures of wall art because it is ephemera, sometimes beautiful and humorous.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘chambered light’ – Apps used – 6×6, Hipstamatic, Tiny Planets, Blender, PhotoForge2

JC – How did you “settle” on this subject?

DD – Didn’t really ‘settle’ on the subjects, just noticed that more often than not, these were the things I was photographing the most.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘dali contrails’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Salvador 84 Lens, Blanko Freedom13 Film, No Flash

JC – Is there another area/subject that you would like to explore, if so, what and why?

DD – Find I’m not very interested in photographing people or other sentient creatures, so I make an effort to photograph them.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘dolly in bonnet’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Ina’s 1935 Film, No Flash

JC – Which photographers (not necessarily mobile photographers) do you most admire and why?

DD – I admire a great many photographers but the first one to come to mind is my partner. I’ve watched her work for a long time and really admire the passion and dedication with which she approaches photography, both her commercial and personal work.

Street Photography…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘dry paint’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, No Flash

JC – Henri Cartier-Bresson is/was in many ways the Godfather of street photography, even in the 1930s 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?

DD – It seems that smaller cameras work better for street photography because they’re not so intrusive. I think in the mid-90s people went through camera skepticism, annoyance and avoidance. Though many people still seem leery of cameras aimed in their direction, they don’t seem to mind mobile photography, camera phones, quite as much.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘eastern clouds’ – Apps used – 6×6

JC – Tell us about your photographic technique do you rely on intuition or do you believe in a more formal/trained approach?

DD – I shoot relying on intuition rather than formal training; mainly because I don’t have formal photography training.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘floral detail’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Blanko Film, No Flash

JC – How has your photography evolved?

DD – Hard one to try and answer but I hope my work is getting better through constant use of my camera.

All For One…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘gerbers’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Blanko Freedom13 Film, No Flash

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?

DD – Can only answer for me, but if I see something interesting, try to ‘capture’ what I’ve seen. When I feel myself pandering to other people’s likes or dislikes I try to go back to base, which is myself.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘miss perky’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Melodie Lens, BlacKeys B+W Film, No Flash

JC – Do you take risks with photographs, push boundaries? If yes, please give examples, if no, why not, would you like to?

DD – No, I don’t take risks or push boundaries but I certainly applaud the people who do.

Favorite Image…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘monceau roses’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Helga Viking Lens, Ina’s 1935 Film, No Flash

JC – What is your favorite picture, of your own and why?

DD – ‘floral detail’ is my current favorite because of the graphic nature of the image.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘orange petals’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Pistil Film, No Flash

JC – Do you get emotionally involved with your photography?

DD – Get emotionally involved… Will say that photography seems to have taken up residence in almost every aspect of my life. Sometimes I notice the light and think about a certain Hipstamatic lens/film combo or want to grab my camera. I remember a recent dream where I saw amazing light and wished I had my iPhone to capture the light so I could app the image later. Woke up laughing because I wanted to app a dream photo.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘peony’ – Apps used – 6×6, Snap Seed, PhotoForge2


JC – Does your life become entwined with your subjects?

DD- Not exactly sure what you mean about entwined with the subject but am acutely aware of the clouds and skies outside our apartment. Constantly rushing to a window or the terrace to capture the ever changing sky.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘poppy’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, No Flash

JC – Do you have a special post-processing style?

DD – Currently, trying to loosen up in regards to post-processing images because I don’t do it a lot. Want to learn about and use more post apps. Also trying to be more diligent about noting the various steps used to alter a photo.

Tips For Post-Processing…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘puces doll in lace’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash

JC – Do you have any tips for post-processing?

DD – Suppose the only tip I can offer is to remain authentic to yourself and do what feels right. Also keep good notes of the processing steps.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘puces objects’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash

JC – Do you have a digital workflow system to sort your images, if so what is it?

DD – Because of personal predilections, education and career training I could be described as overly cautious. On a daily basis, I download all new images from my iPhone to my laptop. The images are imported weekly into iPhoto where’s there a sort of cataloging system. Plus I maintain an external hard drive back-up of all the original photos.



Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘spiral’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Blender, PhotoForge2, Iris

JC – How do you think photography has changed over the years?

DD – I like the fact that photography has been democratized even more, it’s available to a lot more people. The cost of photography has dropped; no film and processing fees for the vast majority. The downside, many of my photographer friends who depend on their images for a living are lamenting their change in status, they feel undervalued, under-estimated and under-employed.

35mm Film Days…


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘window cat’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Libatique 73 Lens, Blanko Freedom13 Film, No Flash

JC – As a mobile photographer you’re at the cutting edge of technology, do you ever hanker for the 35mm film days?

DD – No, I don’t hanker for 35mm film but I have a great appreciation and respect for analogy film. The only 35 mm film I am nostalgic about is used for shooting movies.

Apps With Links Used In This Interview


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘stormy skies’ – Apps used – 6×6, AutoStitch


Image Blender
Tiny Planet Photos

Additional Image


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘weeds’ – Apps used – 6×6

Additional Image


Copyright Image – Donna Donato – ‘store cat’ – Apps used – Hipstamatic , Buckhorst H1 Lens, Kodot XGrizzled Film, Jolly Rainbo 2X Flash

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]