Extension Of The I With Alon Goldsmith – A Mobile Photographer Oozing With Natural Born Talent
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, if you’ve missed our previous interviews of this series, you can read them here.
We think you’re going to enjoy this, a lot. Today, we are featuring Alon Goldsmith, we recently interviewed Alon in our Day In The Life Interview series, if you missed that you can read it here. Alon is actually a relative newcomer to photography, but looking at his images you would not believe that. He has a very natural photographic eye and incredible natural talent. Alon’s photographs are simply a pleasure to view. Alon was born and raised in South Africa and lived in Jerusalem for six years. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Lianne and his daughters Lennon and Noa. He makes his living as a creative director/copywriter at a digital ad agency. Alon’s other passions include music, nature and cycling.
Each image is titled with the apps used to create it in sequential order. You can find all the links the the apps mentioned at the end of this article.
Check out the full interview below.
(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).
First Things First
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Between the Lines’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – How did you get started in photography?
Alon – I didn’t get “started” until I bought an iPhone and downloaded Hipstamatic. Still falling down that rabbit hole. Hopefully it’s bottomless. Certainly feels like it.©
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Bikes and Guns’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – Who and what are your influences?
Alon – Friends and family. The post-crazy creative characters that roam the corridors of the interwebs. The music of the spheres. Everything and everyone I encounter as I adventure through life. But most of all — me. Hmm, is that a mad notion? Are we ultimately our own biggest influences? I need to think about that a little more, but I’m digging the way it fits.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Boat’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Iris Photo Suite
Joanne – What draws you to the subjects you seek?
Alon – For the most part I don’t seek my subjects — they seek me. I go out with intent to shoot but it’s usually tabula rasa. I have a very come-what-may attitude to the whole situation. I might pick a place or time of day because I think it will be rich in subject matter, but I never know what’s going to happen until it happens. This eternal search for self-expression is a big mystery. And the fact that it’s unsolved, and perhaps unsolvable, is it’s most wonderful quality.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Building The Perfect Beast’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – What is it about these subjects that you want to capture/communicate and ultimately convey in your images?
Alon – I’m drawn to finding and expressing the tension that exists between things. Attraction, repulsion, reflection, echoes, space. Things at play. People in flux. In motion. Gesture, shapes, shadows and patterns. It could be a moment of humor that’s created in an instant by a random juxtaposition. Sometimes it’s a void or negative space. The relationship of colors. Alienation, alliances and alignment. Incongruences are a minefield of inspiration. Man and machines. Nature and concrete. Bring it on, because I need to capture it. To make people scratch their heads and say, “Who would have thunk?!”
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Concert’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – How did you ‘settle’ on this subject?
Alon – Well, I don’t think I’ve settled on a subject. Simply a way of looking at the world and trying to express it.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Curiosity’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – Is there another are/subject that you would like to explore, if so, what and why?
Alon – I recently had the good fortune to participate in a workshop where we shot a model. I enjoyed the process and the results, but realized that I know next to nothing about lighting. Or models for that matter. I usually shoot people who don’t know that I’m there. I would love to explore that space of intention between photographer and subject. That willingness to collaborate and communicate a reality that is manipulated and genuine all at the same time.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Hummingbird’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – Which photographers (not necessarily mobile photographers) do you most admire and why?
Alon – One of my favorite photographers is Dale Yudelman. He has that head-scratching thing down. I also love Larry Hirshowitz’s work — brilliant photographer with the uncanny ability of knowing what not to put in the frame. And then of course, there are so many brilliant photographers who I have the honor of hanging out with on the interwebs. Too many to mention, and probably better that I don’t!
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘I See Shadows’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – 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?
Alon – Absolutely. The iPhone puts a cloak of invisibility around you and lets you go incognito. It’s far from foolproof though. The other day this mean looking dude on the Venice Boardwalk wagged his finger at me malevolently and let loose with a barrage of expletives that would have made your ears bleed. And I have the photograph to prove it.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘In Memory’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – Tell us about your photographic technique – do you rely on intuition or do you believe in a more formal/trained approach?
Alon – Generally I take the shot, let it sit for a while, and then allow the app fairies to determine whether to hone further. Up till now, it’s been all intuition and learning in public. But I think it’s time to do some formal learning. Besides which, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to studying — simply love it.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Main Brass’ – Hipstamatic with Olloclip, Snapseed
Joanne – How has your photography evolved?
Alon – Initially I was drawn to taking beautiful pictures. You know, the kind that gets a profusion of likes on the iPhoneography Facebook groups. Then I became interested in composition and my beautiful pictures became better. Soon enough I started looking for patterns, tensions and juxtapositions and my beautiful pictures became less beautiful but more interesting. I’m still guilty of shooting beautiful things but hey, I’m human aren’t I?!
All For One
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Man & Machine’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
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?
Alon – People shoot for a myriad of different reasons but as much as we might like to think that we’re independent spirits swashbuckling in a world of unbridled inspiration who couldn’t care less what the great unwashed think, at the end of the day we want people to like and find value in what we do. Granted, it’s a spectrum. These days, with instant recognition available at the click of a mouse, it’s only the most vision driven among us who inhabit an Internetless ivory tower.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Prom’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – Do you take risks with photographs, push boundaries? If yes, please give examples, if no, why not, would you like to?
Alon – I often find myself way closer to birds than my chronic ornithophobia should logically allow. Does that count? Seriously though, as much as I’d love to think otherwise, I don’t consider myself to be an innovator — but I’m no follower either. Simply pure Gemini.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Purpose’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – What is your favorite picture, of your own and why?
Alon – The one I’m going to shoot tomorrow.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Ready’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – Do you get emotionally involved with your photography?
Alon – Yup
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Ribbed’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – Does your life become entwined with your subjects?
Alon – The Walking Man is a good example. He’s this shirtless old dude with an iconic white beard and a bizarre slow motion walking style that I see every few days when I’m riding my bike. From what I hear, people see him walking all over town. It seems he walks all day long. I’m totally intrigued by him and am always trying to capture the perfect photograph as I ride by. (Haven’t come close to succeeding I might add.) He was missing in action for a couple of months and I became quite worried. And then, suddenly he was back. I’m still plucking up the courage to talk to him and uncover the story of why he walks. Maybe better that I don’t.
Post Production (Processing)
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Splash’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – Do you have a special post-processing style?
Alon – I have more than one style. Some photos demand a more contrived app process, while some images just want to be left alone. A lot of my work is minimally processed.
Tips For Processing
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘The Main Event’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – Do you have any tips for processing?
Alon – Particular Hipstamatic lenses yield mysterious and fascinating results when you run them through certain apps. This is secret knowledge that you can discover simply by experimenting. It’s in your hands young grasshopper.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Tic Tac Go’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
JC – Do you have a digital workflow system to sort your images, if so what is it?
Alon – Yes, it’s something I’ve worked hard at over the past three years. I call it Total State of Anarchy and Matchless Confusion.
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘The Walking Man’ – Hipstamatic
Joanne – How do you think photography has changed over the years?
Alon – Quite nicely.
35 mm Film Days
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Wheels Within Wheels’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
Joanne – As a mobile photographer you’re at the cutting edge of technology, do you ever hanker for the 35mm film days?
Alon – In an earlier incarnation, I did have some fun holed up in a dark room with toxic chemicals and I did experience that wonderful anticipation of opening that envelope from the one hour photo store, but I have to say that I don’t miss all that waiting. I’m all for the instant gratification and micro ego boosting offered by the digital age. Click. App. Repeat!
Links To All Apps Used And Mentioned In This Interview
© Alon Goldsmith – ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ – Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Grungetastic
Oh what a wonderful interview! Alon, your “Splash” image may be one of my new all time favorite images!
Thanks Janine! I also really like the Splash image. Almost didn’t include it 🙂
Super photos, super interview! (So many of my favorite photos of yours included :))
Thanks Lee! Much appreciate that
Great interview, thanks
Very smart interview. Hard to box this chap. He is on a roll…… can’t wait to see what more is revealed. Thoroughly enjoyed that!!!
Alon, every one of your images is eloquent and your answers are as magical as your images!
These photos are superb. You have the most wonderful gift in how you see things. Annie Leibowitz should see what can be done with an iPhone!
Tracy Mitchell Griggs