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 and thoughts and influences that our interviewees experience from their photography. No other mobile photography website reaches the depths and emotions of the mobile photographers as we do in this series of interviews.
We think you’re going to enjoy this, a lot. This is our second published interview and it’s with Janine Graf, we recently interviewed Janine for our A Day In The LIfe Series, if you missed that you can read it here. Janine has an incredible talent as a photographer and you will see that in the images below. You’ll also learn about how her interest developed in photography and her influences, techniques and how her life recently became entwined with a subject of her photography in a very unique way.
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 ‘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…
And They’re Off…
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Brambles’ – Apps Used – Squaready, ScratchCam, King Camera
JC – How did you get started in photography?
JG – I come from a very artistic family and I’ve painted in oil off and on since I was six years old. Even though I feel I’m a decent enough oil painter, it never really hooked me. I find drawing a challenge and that aspect of the painting process frustrated me. It was probably four or five years ago that I discovered I was fairly good with composing a photographic image. I became more and more hooked and downright passionate about the medium with every click of the shutter. Something I can say never occurred with the stroke of a paint brush.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Cows Play Peekaboo’ – Apps Used – Juxtaposer, ScratchCam
JC – Who and what are your influences?
JG – Often I’ll see an image that takes my breath away, and some literally make me cry. I love it when an image evokes emotion; visual poetry. A simple flower, when executed properly, can bring me to tears. So I am definitely influenced by subject matter that can be seen as emotionally touching; be that humor, or feelings of loss, or love, or fear, or what have you. A lot of times music plays a role as well. If a certain song is playing in my head when I see a particular scene, *listening* to the music helps me see a subject I may have otherwise overlooked.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Fire Gypsy’ – Apps Used – Squaready, Camera+, ShockMyPic
JC – What draws you to the subjects you seek?
JG – I’m pretty much an impulsive shooter; I’ll know it when I see it sort of thing. Sometimes someone (a certain family member in particular) will say to me, “Take a picture of that! [points finger]” and often I just don’t feel it. I suppose I’m either instantly drawn to a subject or not; again, impulsivity. It helps to have my favorite apps filed away in my brain as I look at a certain subject; most times I can pretty much see (to some extent) how I’d like to represent the subject(s) in the final piece, so that helps.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘In the Murky Water’ – Apps Used – Squaready, ShockMyPic, ScratchCam
JC – What is it about these subjects that you want to capture/communicate and ultimately convey in your images?
JG – My goal is to create a piece that moves someone. A lot of my images convey a sense of fun or whimsy; or at least I try to convey that. Someone told me recently that my images make her happy. How wonderful is that?! That’s the goal right there! I’m also a hopeless romantic so in my floral images I hope to express a sense of romance, or even love lost. Again, anything that evokes emotion is the primary goal.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘I Spy a Bird’ – Apps Used – BlurFX, ScratchCam
JC – How did you “settle” on this subject?
JG – Boy, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve never taken myself seriously so I think it was quite natural for me to settle on subjects that convey a sense of fun loving or free spiritedness.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘I Spy a I Spy a Little Girl’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (John S lens + Ina’s 1969 film)
JC – Is there another area/subject that you would like to explore, if so, what and why?
JG – I would love to explore street photography more. I just don’t want to upset someone by taking their picture if they don’t want it taken. I’ve heard one too many stories about confrontations that make me think twice about photographing unsuspecting strangers. Confrontation and I are not on speaking terms.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Little Puppets’ – Apps Used – Snapseed, Iris Photo Suite
JC – Which photographers (not necessarily mobile photographers) do you most admire and why?
JG – I recently learned, with the rest of the world, of Vivian Maier. She was a street photographer back in the 1950s (thru the 90s) who was discovered by accident when her storage locker went to auction in 2007. I purchased a book of her photography called, “Vivian Maier Street Photographer” and the images made me cry, literally!! I had to pull myself together by the time I finished viewing the book for the first time (and second time, and third time . . . ). This woman was way ahead of her time, and in a field dominated by men no less! You can tell by her images that she was fearless! I’m actually tearing up now while mentally recalling some of her images.
There’s another photographer by the name of Judy Olausen who did this incredible portrait series of her mother in various comedic poses (i.e. “Mother as Coffee Table”, “Mother as Driftwood”, “Mother Under Pressure”) that literally, and I mean literally, had me laughing until I was crying; completely my style of humor. I think she’s a genius!
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Long Day’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (Chunky lens + Claunch 72 Monochrome film)
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?
JG – Oh absolutely! Having used to carry around a big DSLR and monster lens I can completely appreciate the discretion the small mobile phone brings to the scene. People don’t notice you as much with a mobile phone. Stores don’t pay attention to you when you’re taking photos of displays like they do when you have a professional camera slung around your neck (“Who are you working for?!”). You’re much less conspicuous with a mobile phone.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Off With Her Head’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (John S lens + Ina’s 1969 film)
JC – Tell us about your photographic technique do you rely on intuition or do you believe in a more formal/trained approach?
JG – I rely on intuition as I have no formal photography training, which is fine. I’ve joked before that I’m a bit apprehensive to take a photography class, fearful that once I learn the *rules* of photography all natural instincts will fly out the window. “The rules, remember the rules!”
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Scream Pilots’ – Apps Used – Snapseed, King Camera
JC – How has your photography evolved?
JG – I’ve become more experimental with editing. When I first started using apps back in 2010 I thought just running an image through Pic Grunger was cool (although one of my all-time favorite images of mine was solely edited with Pic Grunger). As far as photography itself is concerned, I’ve definitely become more diverse in subject matter. When I used to shoot with my DSLR, 90% of my images were flowers. Now with the iPhone and my “pocket darkroom” I feel I have a much broader range of compositions, probably because now there’s no excuse to miss a good photographic moment.
All For One…
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘She Played Pretty Music’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (Tejas lens + Float film)
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?
JG – Good question and one I think about often in fact! Since we live in the instant up-load age we are definitely taking images to share with the world. Now as far as staying true to yourself and taking the images you take because they appeal to you, I often wonder about this. In the beginning I most definitely posted images that appealed to me without any thought whatsoever as to whether or not someone cared for them; if they did then GREAT! My Flickr stream was my own personal gallery. After becoming really immersed in mobile photography I confess there were times I’d work on and then upload an image I didn’t feel was *me* because I was hoping to appeal to the masses. Those images never felt right and I’ve since removed most of them. I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of this to some extent off and on. Whenever I find myself feeling wobbly about my work, disenchanted, or in a rut, I just remember to chant, “I shoot for myself, I shoot for myself . . .”
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Someone Left the Barn Door Open’ – Apps Used – Juxtaposer, ScratchCam
JC – Do you take risks with photographs, push boundaries? If yes, please give examples, if no, why not, would you like to?
JG – I don’t believe I take risks or push boundaries. That’s a hard question to answer of your own work. Like I said before, I’d love to get over my worry of upsetting someone while taking their picture on the street. I need to practice my stealth skills.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Hurricane Will’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (Jimmy lens + BlacKeys B+W film), Pic Grunger
JC – What is your favorite picture, of your own and why?
JG – My favorite picture is probably one of my son called “Hurricane Will” (shown above). I took it with a Hipstamatic and ran it through Pic Grunger. The image has this pretty cool ghostly, eerie feel to it (that image was a semi-finalist in a photography contest and a few people wrote in to say they thought it was too creepy I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you). Although I have a fun and lighthearted spirit, I also have a thing for the macabre. I love getting goose bumps on my arms or having the hair on the back of my neck stand up!
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (John S lens + Ina’s 1969 film), Squaready
JC – Do you get emotionally involved with your photography?
JG – Oh yes, absolutely. There’s always some sort of emotional connection that occurs when taking photos (I bet most photographers feel this way). And isn’t it wonderful how the act of just looking at an image can transport you back to a certain state of mind or time in your life, like the smell of someone’s perfume (or sunscreen), or a song can; same holds true with a photograph.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘We All Float On – Apps Used – Snapseed, King Camera, Lens Light
JC – Does your life become entwined with your subjects?
JG – Yes, very often. Recently a wonderful series of events unfolded. I took an image of a beautiful young woman playing the cello at Pikes Place Market in Seattle one weekend. I asked if she’d mind if I took her photo while she played and she kindly obliged. It was just a simple Hipstamatic but the image turned out lovely with the afternoon sun beaming on her. I submitted the image to the photography section of The Seattle Times newspaper and they printed it (this was now a month after I shot the image). On the Sunday the image was printed in the paper someone recognized her while playing and said, “Hey! Did you know you’re in today’s paper?!” The cellist called her mom (in St. Louis, MO) and told her the cool news. Her mother tracked me down and sent me an email with information about her daughter (which I was so very thankful for because I’ve often thought about this woman in my photograph). They were delighted about the newspaper image and were sharing the newspaper’s online link with friends and family, including her first cello instructor! I told her mother that the image was also on display at The Lunch Box Gallery in Florida for their recent iPhoneography exhibit and her excitement was so palpable. I will never forget that for as long as I live.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘We All Have Layers’ – Apps Used – Squaready, Camera+, ShockMyPic
JC – Do you have a special post-processing style?
JG – I don’t think I have a particular post-processing style. I just try to aim for processing that helps to further convey the story in the composition; accentuate it as opposed to overpowering it. I use ScratchCam in most of my images because not only are their textures brilliant, but their colors are divine! You will definitely see a strong ScratchCam presence in my work.
Tips For Post-Processing…
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Wednesday Night Homework Meltdown’ – Apps Used – Hipstamatic (Bettie XL lens + Float film)
JC – Do you have any tips for post-processing?
JG – I learned eventually that sometimes less is more. If your image is being overpowered by processing that doesn’t compliment the composition, then maybe back off a bit. Sometimes an image is so strong on its own it doesn’t even need additional processing, so it’s good to be able to recognize that. Also, if you love a particular composition but are not happy with where the processing is going, set it aside and come back to it later. I’ve had images close to being deleted if it hadn’t been for stepping away for a day or more and coming back later with fresh eyes.
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Whole Made of Pieces’ – Apps Used – Squaready, Camera+, ScratchCam
JC – Do you have a digital workflow system to sort your images, if so what is it?
JG – Oh gosh no. I am so unorganized with my images that I’m sure it would make those organized individuals want to assume the fetal position!
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘With Your Feet in the Air’ – Apps Used – Squaready, ScratchCam, Iris Photo Suite
JC – How do you think photography has changed over the years?
JG – It’s definitely become more accessible than ever before; now pretty much everyone has access to a camera. Armed with a smart phone and editing apps (your “pocket darkroom”), even middle aged housewives with no formal photography training (ahem) can have images hanging in art galleries. Make no mistake, I’m not saying it’s easy because it’s not; you still have to have an eye for it. But it’s definitely a new era with amazing opportunities like never before. No one would know my name if I were still taking images exclusively with my DSLR; that could probably be said for a lot of us in this wonderful community.
35mm Film Days…
Copyright Image Janine Graf – ‘Wrapped Up in the Layers’ – Apps Used – Squaready, Camera+, ShockMyPic
JC – As a mobile photographer you’re at the cutting edge of technology, do you ever hanker for the 35mm film days?
JG – Yes! I sometimes miss the excitement and anticipation of waiting to get a roll of film developed; picking them up and then sitting in my car in the parking lot to review the photos. I am so incredibly thankful for our latest and greatest technology, but yes, sometimes I hanker for the days when life in general was slower and less complicated, and not so instantaneous.