A Day In The Life Of Michelle Robinson aka Mich Mutters – An Incredibly Creative And Talented Mobile Photographer
Welcome to our very exciting column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled ‘A day in the life of …’ and this is where we take a look at some hugely influential, interesting and accomplished individuals in the mobile photography world. People that we think you will love to learn more about.
This is our sixty eighth installment of the series, if you have missed our previous interviews, please go here. Today, we are featuring Mitchell Robinson, also known as Mich Mutters. Michelle lives in Australia and is a mother and lover of art, photography and general creativity and you can see this so clearly in her imagery. She has an amazing eye for detail and has the ability to work in an assortment of styles. We have often featured Michelle’s stunning work in our Flickr Group Showcase, read more about Michelle in the following interview below.
You can find all the links to the apps mentioned at the end of this article.
(If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘A day in the life of …’ section, just send an email to Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get it set up.)
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Circle Me, Circle You, Ah-haaaaa (Death by Social Networking Series – Google+) – ProCamera, Snapseed, Decim8, Superimpose, 100camerasin1, ScratchCam
First Things First
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Peep’ – Native camera, Big Lens, Noir, Snapseed
Joanne – Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?
Michelle – Pretty much the same every single day: that it is a brand new day. For me, that means that whilst the routine might be the same, the things that I observe around me will be different. It’s the nuances of Life that I love – even if I see the same people at the tram stop, or people I work with, there is always something different. My routine is orange juice first, coffee (this will be the first 2 shots of 6 to 8), then oatmeal. I only just returned to work full time after being a full-time mother for 11 years (I did work part- time somewhere in between for a year) – so after my breakfast, I prepare lunch boxes, get ready and leave … with my beloved iPhone 4S, of course!
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Untiled’ – Native camera, Snapseed
Joanne – Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?
Michelle – I don’t have a set routine for taking photographs. I capture everything and anything. But I don’t post everything I capture. This is the first time I am publicly sharing any images so I self-edit very heavily.
Photographer bs Mobile Photographer
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Portrait of a Man’ – Native camera, Snapseed
Joanne – How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (pardon the pun).
Michelle – I think it was an unconscious transition. I still use a camera, but the iPhone has certainly replaced my point-and-shoot. It is such a privilege that we exist in the age of this technology! I have one less thing to carry in my handbag now. I think many people who are avid photographers will agree with this.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Untitled abstract’ – Decim8, Snapseed, Noir
Joanne – Do you like to download new apps regularly?
Michelle- I used to download anything new that came along, but I have stopped that now. I tend to look for things that are different i.e. an effect or a particular set of filters that I don’t like. Now, I tend to look for apps that have been optimized for the iPad as well and can save in the original resolution. The number of times I have been caught out in the past with an image that is at only 640×640 used to frustrate me, especially if it was a piece of mobile art!
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Things Unseen’ – ProCamera, Snapseed
Joanne – How often do you update your existing apps?
Michelle – Every time there is an update, I am there. I think it’s important to. Many of the really great developers are constantly doing bug fixes or additions.
Location, Location, Location
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Watching You’ – ProCamera, Snapseed
Joanne – Where’s your favorite place in the world for a shoot?
Michelle – This is a tough question – it’s like asking me which is my favorite piece of music! Can I dodge this question and say “everywhere”? I think given my nature as an observer, I can be in my bedroom and still notice a new detail – when you are in love with Light and the way Light reflects off anything and everything, there is always something new to look at. But if push comes to shove, I would say any city – right now, it’s my own city ofAdelaide. I am on a discovery of the many ‘crevices’ that are within the structure and framework of the city. I recently completed a personal project called “Things Unseen” which focused on just the little lanes that run off Rundle Mall which is the main shopping precinct. What I thought would be a one-hour session because Adelaide is not large, turned into a 3.5-hour session!
Tools Of The Trade
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Blackeby’s Old Sweet Shop, Adelaide’ – ProCamera, Filter in EyeEm
Joanne – Do you also use iPhone photography tool apps, such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris and if so do you use it to plan your shoots?
Michelle – Uhmm … no. I don’t plan shoots. I do have concepts in my head and ideas especially for mobile art. If it is something I think I might not remember, I story-board it in my Moleskine (yes, I am still old-school that way), or I will make a quick note in my iPhone. Generally, iPhoneography is a creative outlet for me. As I have mentioned in other interviews, I get to comprehensively combine my love for photography and art without the mess. It is by far the most marvelous thing ever!
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Any Twit Can Be A Superstar; – Native camera, Snapseed, Superimpose, ScratchCam, Picfx, Sketchbookmobile, 100Camerasin1, Outcolor
Joanne – What are your favorite, at the moment, iPhoneography apps?
Michelle – In my favorites folder on my iPhone and iPad are: Procamera, Snapseed, Iris, Photoforge2, Pixlr-O-Matic, Scratchcam, Decim8, 100Camerasin1, Big Lens and Noir., Image Blender and Superimpose. New favorites on the iPad are iColorama, Modern Grunge, Ripped from Reality, Kyoobik.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Getting The Balance Right’ – Snapseed, MarbleCam, Superimpose, Pixrlomatic, ScratchCam
Joanne – Where do you like to upload your photographs? Flickr, Instagram?
Michelle – I only started to upload to Flickr a few weeks ago because I wanted to be more active in all the groups. Now with EyeEm, I upload street photography, low edit or no edit and black and whites there. On Instagram, I mainly upload mobile art now. It took me 1.5 years to master the use of the hash tags and when I finally did, a whole new world opened up! How I even got onto all this was Google+ – that was where I first started to share my images publicly. So, that is why I am seemingly a ‘new comer’.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Flouting The Rules’ – ProCamera, Snapseed
Joanne – Do you take photographs with your iPhone everyday?
Michelle – Right at the moment, and for the past month or so, yes. I am part of the Creative 366 Project run by Takahiro Yamamoto on Google+ (a wonderful photographer and friend). Not all the images for the project are by iPhone though – being back at work full-time, I have to create within a new set of lifestyle constraints.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Risk Taking Should Be Calculated: It’s Often Better To Walk Than To Run Or Cycle’ – Snapseed, ImageBlender, Superimpose, Pixrlomatic
Joanne – What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Michelle – People. But not just general street photography. I enjoy engaging with the people I capture. I don’t know if this term is used at all, but I refer to the genre as “candid street portraits”; I love architectural detail for the abstract nature of them when viewed in isolation – I find great comfort and peace in the order and purity of geometrics.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘1700: A Day In The Life Of …(for ADay.org) – Slow Shutter, Snapseed
Joanne – How did the teaching side come along?
Michelle – I don’t teach per se. My edit notes are because I take part in the hash-tag #ampt_community on Instagram. One of the requirements to be considered for a feature is to either list the apps used or write your editing processes. AMPt maintains a high level of integrity with regards to the term “iPhone only” or “mobile only” – furthermore, the sharing of information by other artists have also led me into editing or creating better images.
Top Five Tips
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Suburban Urban Series Part 10: Life Was Always A Downhill Drainpipe’ – Snapseed, Big Lens, Pixrlomatic, Juxtaposer
Joanne – What are your top five tips for iPhone photography?
– Be inspired but go your own way. There are too many styles that are similar out there at the moment, and I think it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be original. But I believe that if a person remains true to themselves and understands that creativity has no limits, they can create their own style.
– Learn to frame well and understand light. Use the best in-app camera possible. I still love Procamera – but I also use the native camera a lot as well.
– Be brave and be bold in your images especially in street photography. I can now spot a fellow mobile photographer from a mile away because of the number of tips out there on how to secretly take a photo. I am extremely obvious simply because I don’t want to look silly.
– Always have a story to tell. The people who inspire me, and the ones whom I have learnt from and studied always have a story in an image. If it’s not a story, it’s an emotion … even if it’s food. One of my old friends, Alex Ortega is a master iPhoneographer of food. (He is responsible for me entering the world of Instagram and learning about hash tags).
– Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of apps. It’s ok to not like an app that the ‘stars’ are using. An example of this for me is Filterstorm – I dislike it with a passion even though it is really popular with some really great iPhoneographers.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Suburban Urban Series Part 6: All Her Secrets Unlocked’ – Snapseed, ScratchCam, Juxtaposer, Pixrlomatic
Joanne – Do you edit images on your iPhone or do you prefer to do that on a desktop/laptop?
Michelle – I am an old-school purist. My camera images are edited simply in Aperture. On the very odd occasion I will use something like Flare. However, when it comes to mobile photography, all hell breaks loose. So, I practice “iPhone only” art and photography – I tend to refer to it as “iOS only” as the iPad runs off the same operating system as the iPhone – I edit a lot of art on the iPad to save my eye sight especially if I have to do complex masking!
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Suburban Urban Series Part 9: Denial In Dementia’ – Snapseed, Pixrlomatic, Juxtaposer, Picfx
Joanne – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?
Michelle – I have yet to really go into this. I use it like a typical mother: at school events!
The Future Of Mobile Photography
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Interweave 3’ – Decim8, Iris, Snapseed
Joanne – Where do you see the future of iPhone photography?
Michelle – I believe it will take it’s place as an accepted method of photography. As 4/3 cameras become more popular and point-and-shoots nearly obsolete, the mobile phone camera slots in nicely. In the artistic field, I think iPhoneart.com and what they have achieved with the recent LA Mobile Arts Festival, it will become recognized genre of digital art.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘All Of Life’s Baggage’ – Native camera, Snapseed, Noir, ScratchCam
Joanne – What do you think is the most popular area of iPhoneography?
Michelle – Street photography and food, followed by art. The mobile camera has certainly made “street photography” and the journalistic and documentary-style of photography much more accessible to people who have never ventured into that area of photography. For the people who shoot with cameras, it certainly has made it easier as well, especially those who are not comfortable with pointing a camera at a stranger.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ Arthur C Clarke. ProCamera, Snapseed, Decim8, Pixrlomatic
Joanne – Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?
Michelle – I definitely think so. I only know of a handful of iPhoneographers from Australia who have been internationally recognized. My city is a small one and Instagram is seen as another ‘fun’ way to share photos instantly. Hopefully the local photographic community can see it is another way to share their images especially during Instameets. In Adelaide we have Instagramers Adelaide (#igersadelaide) and we help to promote the Instameets that is organized by an ad-hoc group that created #instagramadelaide. However, for a small city, the idea of the groups not working together cohesively to form a stronger one seems strange. I certainly think that the Europeans, Americans and many South Americans, particularly in Mexico and Brazil that Instagram has become much more of a platform than just sharing every minute of one’s life. There seems to be a wider understanding there that Instagram is merely a platform and one can use a wide variety of tools for a lot of things. There are only a handful of photographers here who actually display their camera work (they are honest about it and state so in the hash tags used) – I think through Instagram, and mobile photography as well as traditional photography, these photographers have driven much more traffic to their own sites for their professional work. It would be a mistake for many hard core purists to regard iPhoneography or mobile photography as not “real photography”.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Living In A Bubble’ – Snapseed, MarbleCam, Superimpose, Pixrlomatic, ScratchCam
Joanne – Are you pleased with the new iPhone 5 for mobile photography?
Michelle – I love the way it works as a camera. It’d be nice if the camera could move to the middle of the back of the phone. But aesthetically, I don’t know if that would look too odd.
© Michelle Robinson – ‘Balancing The Fine Line: The Push To The Invisible Finish’ – Native camera, Snapseed, Image Blender, Juxtaposer, Pixrlomatic
Joanne – What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?
Michelle – I think theappwhisperer.com has grown in a great way since it first started. I only had fleeting glances of the site when I first started, but certainly it was a “go to” resource when I needed some information. I only started to contribute to the Flickr group when I felt I was ready to. I don’t know Joanne personally, but she comes across as being really down-to- earth.
I am not particularly keen on the slide show for the Flickr Group Showcase feature. I think I still enjoy looking at images traditionally, ie by scrolling – I still enjoy being the driver.
Links To All Apps Used And Mentioned In The Interview
© Michelle Robinson – ‘I Was Used & Left’ – Native Camera, Snapseed, Photoforge
Iris Photo Suite
Ripped from Reality
Super vision and work with the software Michelle.
Thank you Carlos
And thank you Joanne for this!
amazing photos and wonderful article!!
Brilliant work, I love the freedom that you demonstrate! And it is great to read your views!