Extension Of The I – With Andrew Proudlove An Inspirational Mobile Photographer
Welcome to another new series of interviews and insights that we are running on theappwhisperer.com. 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 artists experience from their photography. No other mobile photography website reaches the depths and emotions of the mobile photographers as we do in this new series of interviews.
We think you’re going to enjoy this, a lot. Today, we are featuring Andrew Proudlove. We interviewed Andrew previously for our A Day In the LIfe of column, if you missed that, you can read it here. Andrew is quite new to mobile photography says he always had a passing interest in photography but he started to ‘dabble’ in photography about 11 years ago, he admits it was really only in February of this year after rediscovering Instagram that led him “to a world of images that I didn’t think were possible from an iPhone”. Andrew continues “since then I have been totally immersed in this new world and spend all of my spare free time in it. What I like is that I have the camera and editing suite with me and so I can work on my images pretty much anytime and anywhere”. Despite this Andrew has had work featured n Pixels, as part of the Mobile Photography Awards weekly review and on other websites and has been voted Artist of the day at iPhoneArt.com.
Read this exclusive interview with Andrew 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 Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get it set up)
So, without further ado, let us begin…
First Things First…
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Pencils’ – Apps used – iPhone default camera, Dramatic B&W
JC – How did you get started in photography?
AP – I got a then “pocket sized” Olympus C-300 ZOOM for free with a piece of IT kit, I think it might have been a notebook or a printer that I bought from Dell sometime during the late 90’s. It was around 3 mexapixels I think but it was digital, which meant that I didn’t have to pay to have film developed and I could see instantly what I had taken. This just blew me away and opened up so many doors for me creatively.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Wood for the Trees’ – Apps used – ProHDR, Photoforge2, Image Blender, ShockmyPic
JC – Who and what are your influences?
AP – I am influenced a lot by things that I see around me, books that I have read, sometimes my mood at the time. Usually when I see a scene in front of me, I can picture in my head what I want the final image to look like, then it’s just a matter of getting there 🙂 I am also influenced a lot by the other artists at places like iPhoneArt, Pixels and Mobitog, quite a few of whom you have featured already on the AppWhisperer. Just when I see their work, I am constantly blown away by their ability and what they were able to do and this drives me forward.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘The Church Door’ – Apps used – ProHDR, Dramatic B&W
JC – What draws you to the subjects you seek?
AP – It really depends on what I am photographing, for example if it is a landscape, a sunrise or something natural, then it is usually the simple fact that I want to try to capture that specific moment. With people I tend to look at what they look like and what they’re doing. Sometimes it can be just because I think someone has an interesting face or lots of character with other things, inanimate objects, buildings, it really depends. Sometimes just when I am looking around, I will see it from a different angle/perspective that shows me a quality that the object has that wasn’t immediately apparent, sometimes it’s just the way a scene is unfolding before me. I’m really drawn to strong contrasts between shadow and light though.
It’s kind of hard for me to pin down at the moment as my style is everywhere as I don’t think that I have found my particular niche yet.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Jungmannova’ – iPhone default camera, Dynamic Light, TouchRetouch, Rays, ShockmyPic
JC – What is it about these subjects that you want to capture/communicate and ultimately convey in your images?
AP – Usually when I produce my work, I want to convey that same emotion to the viewer that I was feeling or just lay out the story of the scene before them. I’d like them to think about the person or the scene in front of them, what’s happening there? Why is it happening? Or in the case of a landscape, just to experience the beauty and timelessness of the scene as it was when I saw it.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Fringe Event’ – Apps used – Camera+, Decim8, Snapseed
JC – How did you ‘settle’ on this subject?
AP – As I mentioned earlier, I don’t feel I have settled on a particular theme or subject just yet. I have noticed a leaning towards landscapes/natural scenes though but I’m not sure that I’m ready to settle on that yet. I’d hate to be boxed into something and I’d like to be able to allow my creativity to flow and take me wherever it takes me, without feeling obligated to stick to one particular thing.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Birds on a Wing’ – Apps used – ProHDR, 3D Photo, Rays, Juxtaposer, Pixlromatic
JC – Is there another are/subject that you would like to explore, if so, what and why?
AP – There are two areas I would love to explore, one would be a more close-up and personal street photography but I don’t have the courage yet to just march up to someone and ask if I can photograph them and also I believe that by doing so, I would spoil the moment and disturb exactly that what I am trying to capture. So I need to work on my approach to this. The other thing I would like to try my hand at is abstract art.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘The Fountain’ – Apps used – iPhone default camera, Dramatic B&W
JC – Which photographers (not necessarily mobile photographers) do you most admire and why?
AP – This is a harder question for me to answer than you might think. Having only recently come into the whole iPhoneography scene (since February this year), I don’t really have much experience in order to name names as I am discovering more things and photographers each day. Almost everyone who I meet or whose work I have seen has been impressive, so it’s really hard to narrow it down at this stage. I think I’ll pass on this if you don’t mind? 🙂
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘The HIlls’ – Apps used – Pano, Snapseed
JC – Henri Cartier-Bresson is in many ways, the Godfather of street photography, even in the 1930’s 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?
AP – Absolutely! As I mentioned earlier, I think that the most important point when capturing something is to capture the scene without influencing it. As soon as you or the camera becomes noticed then the moment is lost and some people play to the camera. These are not always bad things but spoil the essence of the moment.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Tulips From Amsterdam 6’ – Apps used – Camera+, Snapseed, Paint FX, Image Blender, iColorama
JC – Tell us about your photographic technique – do you rely on intuition or do you believe in a more formal/trained approach?
AP – I’ve never had any formal photography training. The whole sum of my knowledge stems from experience and experiments and what I have learnt from various sources online. So most of the time when I am out shooting, I rely on intuition, what feels or looks right to me. There are a few photography mantras running through my mind though when I’m taking pictures, mostly regarding composition, paying attention to my surroundings, looking for the story in the scene and so on, that I picked up from various places online or podcasts.
It’s one of the reasons why I don’t think of myself as a photographer truly, at the moment I’m happier with the label amateur photographer or iPhone Artist.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘This Web We Spin’ – 645 PRO, Snapseed, Image Blender, Pixlormatic
JC – How has your photography evolved?
AP – For me it has evolved a lot, hopefully some of the people who know me or who know my work would agree. For example at the very beginning, I was a snapshotter, I simply put my subject in the middle of the frame, hit the shutter and was gone. Since then I have learned how to frame my pictures, how to better compose them, to some degree how to work with the sun, how to expose properly and so on.
Behind the scenes, I have changed my opinion (long before iPhoneography came along), regarding editing photos in order to bring out the best in them. Previously I believed that all of this should be done in camera and that was that but I came around to the idea that using Photoshop and later an iPhone to apply filters to improve aspects of the photo and removing an object that disrupts the scene or amending the saturation or even transforming the image can really help in bringing out the best from the photograph and help to convey your message. Plus there is something addictive about being able to take a boring image or mundane objects and combine them into an image that can only exist in your fantasy.
All For One…
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Two Sides’ – Apps used – iPhone default, Dramatic B&W, Noir, Image Blender, Pixlromatic
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?
AP – I think with the majority of people there are two simple aims, to take a great picture and have someone notice that picture. I do think though, that the people that do tend to get noticed and receive recognition for their work are the ones who put some of themselves into each piece and who do it because it makes them happy. I think that comes across in their work, it makes it captivating and makes it stand out.
So definitely in all of the people who are receiving recognition for their work in mobile or any kind of photography I think it’s fair to say that they do what they do because they enjoy it and part of that process is that they are creating something that makes them happy.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘He’s Got The Whole World’ – Apps used – iPhone default camera, Flowpaper, Photo FX
JC – Do you take risks with photographs, push boundaries? If yes, please give examples, if no, why not, would you like to?
AP – I honestly don’t know how to answer this. In general because of the subjects I photograph, there is little there that tends to be risky, more so the risk for me comes about in the way that I edit the photograph afterwards but compared to photographing something like a protest march, my photographs are probably tame by comparison. Would I like to push boundaries though? Definitely I hope that I am with some of my work and I hope I will do so in the future and continue to improve in this particular aspect.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘The Bus Got Lost’ – Apps used – Pixlromatic, Photo FX, Rays, Rollage, Tiny Planets, Image Blender, Snapseed, iCollage, PicGrunger
JC – What is your favorite picture, of your own and why?
AP – My favorite picture is actually one that I made up entirely, it’s called “Journey to a happy place” and is made up from 6 different photographs, including a shower curtain, some bits of a mosaic floor and so on. I like it so much because it was my first proper attempt at a collage and the first time that I really let my imagination run loose. I also remember just feeling really happy in general while I was working on it and the final result, for me at least was great, I was really pleased with it.
I’m also really pleased with how Reflections of Prague and Dejected came out.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Sudden Rain’ – Apps used – ProHDR, Snapseed, Moku Hanga
JC – Do you get emotionally involved with your photography?
AP – Yes, emotion is always a big part of the work and I am either trying to capture the emotion of what I see before me or my own feelings are playing their part in influencing the work during the editing process.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘In The Public Eye’ – iPhone default, Snapseed, Magic Eye, Color Lake, Image Blender, Silhouetter, Pixlromatic
JC – Does your life become entwined with your subjects?
AP – It does if I am photographing my kids 🙂 Otherwise no, to mis-abuse the now famous quote, I usually just take my picture(s) and scram.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Waiting For The Wind 2’ – Apps used – iPhone default, Snapseed, Noir
JC – Do you have a digital workflow system to sort your images, if so what is it?
AP –A rough one, that I am working on refining. At the moment I import the images from my iPhone to a folder on my mac using a program called Image Capture.
The images from that folder are then run through a program called Exif Renamer, which exams the EXIF data in the image and renames the photograph from the random numbers that the name is usually compromised of, to the date and time that the image was taken.
Once it has been renamed, it is moved into a folder called surprisingly, renamed 🙂 This is because I am notoriously bad about sorting my photographs afterwards but I like to keep the import folder clear.
Eventually the photographs are moved from renamed into different folders depending on what they are. If they’re photos of my family and personal events for us, then they go into a Family folder and are then organized into subfolders based the event and date the pictures were taken.
For my other work, it is sorted into three folders, Finals which contain the work I am ready to show the world, Experiments, which one day might make it into Finals and originals which are the unprocessed images that are waiting for me to review them and start working on them or dump them.
When I have time I plan to improve this process by partially automating it using a program called Hazel. You can use this program to watch folders and perform actions on their contents based on various factors, such as moving all of the images taken before a certain date to one folder or moving everything that has a green label to another folder and so on. It’s very powerful and well worth checking out.
I have also just started using Adobe Lightroom to organize and catalogue the photographs as it gives me a complete view of all of the photographs I have and allows me to create smart collections.
Previously I used Aperture but I find I like the flow a little better with Lightroom. I’m considering keeping Aperture for the family photos and Lightroom for my work but this may prove to be too cumbersome so we shall see.
One thing I don’t do though is post-process any of my iPhoneology photographs on my computer or manipulate them in any way. They’re just organized into folders or albums there and that’s it.
For the others though, once they are sorted into their proper folder then I review them using whichever app is currently my favorite (Aperture/Lightroom). The first run is usually a reject or accept run, with the rejects going to a rejected album (for a second review before I finally bin them).
The accepted ones go into a To Be Processed folder, where I will make any tweaks to them that I need, such as adjusting saturation, exposure etc. Once they’re processed and I’m happy, then they go to their respective archive folder where they will live. If something stands out then I will add it to an album or smart collection.
Still need to do a lot of work here though.
In terms of backup, I have two internal drives in my notebook, as I removed the DVD drive. So each night the main drive is cloned to the second drive just in case. Any new pictures taken that I have accepted are also uploaded to Dropbox as an additional backup.
Once a week I attach an external drive and the contents of both internal drives are backed up to separate partitions on the external, as well as the contents of my dropbox folder. I have two of these drives and rotate them. I will love a Drobo though 🙂
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘The Church’ – Apps Used – ProHDR, Dynamic Light, Rays
JC – Do you have a special processing style?
AP – I don’t think I do. I would like to but I think it’s still very much a work in progress at the moment. A couple of people have made comments about it in the past though, one artist whose work I really admire over at IPA told me once that I have an eye for pattern and Knox Bronson over at Pixels told me once that my pictures have a style to them but I just don’t see it myself yet.
Tip For Processing…
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Missing Building’ – Apps used – iPhone default camera, Lenslight, Dramatic B&W
JC – Do you have any tips for processing?
AP – Only to do a better job at it than I do! Just try to review your images and sort/catalogue them right after you have taken them, so you don’t forget when you took them and where you took them.
One tip I was told was also to come back to the rejects after a couple of days as you may find some hidden gems.
Most of the time subtlety is the key, try not to go too overboard with the filters if you can but then (and just to contradict myself now), there are times when the image needs you to go totally overboard. It’s hard to explain but usually when you see or are working on the image it will tell you when to stop, at least that’s been my experience.
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘The Galleria’ – Apps used – iPhone default camera, Rays, Noir
JC – How do you think photography has changed over the years?
AP – I think that the ubiquity of cameras, there’s one in almost every device these days and the fact that “proper” cameras have came down a lot in price has meant that there are more people capturing images today than ever before.
In turn I believe that this has led to more people discovering that they have a gift for photography and being able to enjoy it as an artistic or creative medium.
However, this has also given rise to various discussions regarding mobile photography and whether it can be considered proper photography or art. Something similar I think to the discussions that were taking place with the advent of digital photography over traditional film photography.
I myself hold to the belief that the final image is what matters and whether the photographer was able to convey what they intended with it. For me it doesn’t matter if the image was processed or not, shot on a DSLR or a mobile phone, all that matters is simply is it a good image, with everything that entails in terms of technique, emotion and story.
After all the tool shouldn’t matter, having the best DSLR in the world, will not immediately make you the best photographer in the world, just as giving an iPhone to a great photographer would not suddenly result in him producing terrible work. The key is just understanding the tools you have and using them to the best of your and their ability.
35 mm Film Days…
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘A Little Bit Lost’ – Apps used – Camera+, Pixlromatic, Image Blender, Rays, Fluid FX, Brushes
JC – As a mobile photographer you’re at the cutting edge of technology, do you ever hanker for the 35mm film days?
AP – No, I missed this period totally and so as such have no real frame of reference for it emotional or otherwise. While I respect and appreciate the photographs that were taken with film and the possibilities that offered, I started with and developed with digital and really enjoy the ability it gave me to experiment without any real risk and to see immediately if that experiment paid off.
Featured Apps With Links…
Copyright Image – Andrew Proudlove – ‘Journey To A Happy Place – Apps Used – iPhone default camera, ProHDR, Image Blender, Juxtaposer, Pixlromatic
Dramatic Black & White
Tiny Planet Photos
Paula Gardener (Jahsharn)
Andrew it’s such a pleasure to read about your journey through iPhoneography/ Photography. Congrats on the interview.
Thanks a lot Paula, I was really chuffed when Joanne agreed to the interviews, especially when I saw the other people she has interviewed in the past, definitely makes you feel very humble.