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 ninth installment of the series, if you have missed our previous interviews please go here. Today we are featuring Tommy Vohs. Tommy is originally from the Channel Island of Jersey and has been living in Canada most of her life. She has worked as a train conductor at Canadian National and VIA Rail out of Toronto for 25 years and will soon be working solely at VIA as an engineer, driving the passenger trains along the Quebec, Toronto, Windsor corridor. When she’s not working you’ll find Tommy playing ice hockey, guitar or with spending time with her girlfriend Erin’s two kids; Max and Phoebe. The iPhone has a very important place in her life and she’s constantly in the ” iPhone position”; shooting, editing, squinting.
Tommy is honored to have had her work exhibited at the Red Church Gallery, CoeHill, Ontario; the MJG Gallery, Parliament Street, Toronto; LA MAF, Santa Monica, California; the Kiernan Gallery, Lexington, Virginia and Akasha Art Projects, Church St, Toronto.
You can read more about Tommy in the 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.)
First Things First
© Tommy Vohs – ‘A Different Perspective’ – Leme, Photo Power
Joanne – Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?
Tommy – I’m a late riser because I work a lot of nights and a lot of long shifts. I usually get up just before noon, have some breakfast with my singing cats. After that ill usually try to figure out which photos I accidentally deleted when I fell asleep on the couch last night with my iPhone in my hand.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘City Cycle’ – Leme, Photo Power
Joanne – Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?
Tommy – I see the sun come up regularly when I’m working and that’s my favorite time to snap nature shots. Otherwise, I usually shoot between 2 and 5 pm.
Photographer vs Mobile Photographer
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Bus Stop Unravelling’ – Leme, Phototropedelic, Dynamic Light
Joanne – How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (pardon the pun).
Tommy – I did not own a camera before I purchased my IPhone. ( I haven’t had a ‘ traditional’ camera since my teens.) I took to iphoneography like batter on a fish stick…a cohesive relationship only made stronger over time. It was natural and free flowing and came at a time in my life when I desperately needed a distraction. Once I got my fingers into the App Store and saw all of the photography apps, I transitioned from playing Angry Birds all night to taking photos of transit and nature.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Crossing College’ – Leme
Joanne – Do you like to download new apps regularly?
Tommy – Oh yes. I’m always trolling the photography category at the App Store. I probably get a couple of new apps a week and then never use most of them. If they don’t save in high res I don’t keep them around.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘e-motion’ – Leme, Phototropedlic, Image Blender
Joanne – How often do you update your existing apps?
Tommy – Daily, blindly.
Location, Location, Location
© Tommy Vohs – ‘evulsion moodcam’ – Phototropdelic, Photo Power, Photo Wizard
Joanne – Where’s your favorite place in the world for a shoot?
Tommy – I have a two part answer. Northern Ontario for nature shots and on board transit; be it bus, subway, tram or train in any big city.
Tools Of The Trade
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Flyby’ – Lomora, Photo Power
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?
Tommy – I do not use the Photographers Ephermis because I’m not that structured. I like to take risks with light, time of day and so I can’t follow orders. My idea of planning is seeing an opportunity and shooting immediately. I’m very attracted to candid photos; flawed, raw, and a real moment in time. If some one starts to pose or notice me I don’t shoot. The moment is gone and so is my interest.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Fly n Shine’ – Leme, Photo Power, Image Blender
Joanne – What are your favorite, at the moment, iPhoneography apps?
Tommy – Photo Viva to paint photos and really accentuate certain areas. Dynamic light for amazing definition. Photo Power for its infrared colors and Retinex option Jazz for filters. Leme Pro for the HIGH res output and double exposure camera. PhotoTropedelic for groovy lines. Lomora for filters.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Headless In Toronto’ – Leme, Jazz
Joanne – Where do you like to upload your photographs? Flickr, Instagram?
Tommy – iPhoneart.com and my Facebook page are it. Those two sites are all I have time to keep up with.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Into The Sunset’ – Leme, Jazz, Dynamic Light
Joanne – Do you take photographs with your iPhone everyday?
Tommy – No, not every day. I’m very particular. I won’t take pictures of just anything. My friends offer opinions on what I should be shooting but I pretty much don’t listen to them. I have to be inspired.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Jack Pine and Mist’ – Lomora, Jazz
Joanne – What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Tommy – Nature, flora and fauna, streetaffiti ( that’s my own classification for my street shots) and bicycles or other transit.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Percolator, Phototropedelic
Joanne – How did the teaching side come along?
Tommy – I help my friends out with tips about apps and how to use them. In the future I certainly would be open to holding a workshop. I worry though that I’m just not structured and organized enough to be able to actually teach somebody.
Top Five Tips
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Medora Morning’ – Lomora
Joanne – What are your top five tips for iPhone photography?
Tommy – Look for angles or turn your phone slightly for a more Interesting shot. Super Saturate!!! Choose high res apps and shun pixel-eaters. Don’t shoot what everyone else is shooting. Stand out. Print your work. It does amazing things to ones confidence to have a hard copy of your efforts.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Osgoode’ – Lomora, Picture Show, Jazz, Image Blender, Dynamic Light
Joanne – Do you edit images on your iPhone or do you prefer to do that on a desktop/laptop?
Tommy – I only edit on my iPhone and iPad without exception. I appreciate the limitations of mobile devices. I’m not looking to make my photos perfect in fact I like the flaws inherent to editing on mobile devices. I have been criticized for not, supposedly, wanting to make my photo the best it could be but people are entitled to their own opinions. This works for me and I’m satisfied.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Partially Cloudy’ – Leme, Photo Power, Image Blender
Joanne – Do you enjoy videography with your iPhone?
Tommy – Yes, I’ve used Super 8 to make great videos of my dog, Kiki but that’s about as far as my video experience goes.
The Future Of Mobile Photography
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Pick Up On The Empty Streets’ – Lomora, Phototropedlic, Photo Wizard
Joanne – Where do you see the future of iPhone photography?
Tommy – It’s wide open, a gateway to creativity; easily accessible creativity for the average Joe like me. I think iPhoneography deserves to be in fine art galleries and museums all over the world because it is worthy. Evolution is necessary and imminent. It doesn’t mean the end of traditional photography to me, just a metamorphosis of the minds who appreciate the art of it.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Platform Change Off’ – Lomora, Photo Wizard, Dynamic Light
Joanne – What do you think is the most popular area of iPhoneography?
Tommy – (I’m blanking out a bit here, so I hope I’m answering your question)
Apps like hipstamatic and social sites like Instagram seem to be very popular amongst my friends. Both of those apps/social sites have really opened up the possibilities for all interested people and are probably creating pathways to creativity much more easily than ever before. They are tweaking people’s photos, making them more appetizing to the eye and, in turn, sparking interest that might otherwise have not be ignited.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Please Bring Joy’ – Leme, Photo Power
Joanne – Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?
Tommy – I don’t know if its country specific. I think it depends on accessibility to technology. I know on IPA, there are artists from Botswana, Switzerland, Russia, Japan, Australia, the UK, as well as Canada and the US. that said, I still go to print shops here in Toronto and have to break it to them gently that yes, in fact, my photos were shot with a phone.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘Queen Of The Woods’ – Leme, Photo Power
Joanne – Are you pleased with the new iPhone 5 for mobile photography?
Tommy – I’m holding out for the 5S myself because my 4 suits me just fine for the moment.
© Tommy Vohs – ‘York 3 Departure’ – Leme, iPhoto, Dynamic Light
Joanne – What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?
Tommy – Joanne and the App Whisperer provide the best insight on everything “apps” and mobile information. I’ve learned a ton about apps and artist techniques from reading her blog and visiting her page on Facebook. It is great to see and read other artists interviews from all over the world and be introduced to their work. I think the App Whisperer is a staple for any mobile phone artist. She gets a 10/10 from me.