Gray’s Anatomy – My name is @rugfoot and I’m a decim8aholic

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for our wonderful columnist Richard Gray and his brilliant humorous mobile photography column, entitled, Gray’s Anatomy, with a play on spelling of course, over to you Richard…(foreword by Joanne Carter)



The other day I was dismayed to find day that Decim8 (an app that mashes up images and rearranges the pixels in various different processes) kept on crashing. A quick check on Instagram confirmed it wasn’t just me. So I googled “decim8 alternative”. I was like an alcoholic riffling through the kitchen cupboards in search of that bottle of dark orange stuff that Auntie Margaret brought back from Bulgaria last year. I found a couple of apps that raised my hopes but they turned out to be the equivalent of turps. I was amazed that no-one had tried to copy decim8. Usually when someone comes up with a mind-blowingly brilliant product, it immediately gets copied. And decim8 is just that.

Sometime ago I happened across the derivation of the word “decimate”. In Latin it literally meant to remove a tenth. A Roman military term, if a battalion was mutinous or cowardly, one in every ten soldiers would be randomly selected for execution. Nasty. And I’ve been decim8ing about 10% of my iPhone photos in the last few months. I’m not a purist though: I’ve been decim8ing an image and then blending it with its original so that only part of the image is distorted. I like the unnerving effect of suggesting that there is something not quite right in an otherwise normal looking scene.

Turns out Decim8 was another victim of the new iOS. Why oh why can’t they just leave things as they are? Well, actually, scrub that. Mobile photography has often been criticized for using faux antique filters and indulging in nostalgia, but Decim8 is one of the few iPhoneography apps that looks resolutely forward. Go forth and do amazing new stuff, it says. And for me, our exciting photography genre is all about the apping. So it’s worrying that it’s still in the app hospital. But the app’s developer @movax says a fix is on the way. Let’s hope so: my shakes are getting worse and I don’t like the look of that orange stuff.

NB: Indeed the fix has been announced today, rather ironically and is available in the App Store to download…

Richard's mobile photography has been exhibited around the world and published in various magazines and on many websites. He launched the world's first live course in iPhone photography in early 2012 with Kensington and Chelsea College. He has given workshops with The Photographers' Gallery and British Journal of Photography. Sport England recently commissioned him to cover various of its Sportivate initiatives with the iPhone. A keen observer of this new photographic genre, his writing has been widely published (most notably in The Guardian) and he writes a blog (iphoggy-bloggy). With a big camera, he specialises in music photography ( and syndicates to Press Association (with both big and small cameras).


  • Dilshad

    Now I even love more Fridays!!!! Great writing Richard!!!! And thank god there is an update, was worried dead for you…;)

  • David

    Great article, Richard! I too am a decmi8 fanatic…although I haven’t used it in a bit. I find it very “enlightening” to use…sometimes I like what I get, other times not so much…but always appreciate the different insights it gives me towards an image. We do need more apps like this in our tool box!

    • Richard Gray

      Thanks David! it is a great app – and I’ve been using it a lot in combination with Blender by blending it with the original. So you can apply the decim8ed parts selectively. Do I know you on IG?

  • Rob (aka Brian Beaver)

    Looking forward to this week’s insights from you Richard. Glad Decim8 has been updated too. Missed using it because of the gremlins making it crash every time I fired it up. Now we can get back to adding some randomness and unpredictability to our pictures. As David above me said, we do need more apps like Decim8 in our toolboxes.

    • Richard Gray

      Thanks, Rob. Yes, I was rather distraught when it wasn’t working. Yeah, it’s interesting that there isn’t really anything that does anything similar out there. And we must stand up for iphoneography’s forward-looking credentials