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The App Nerds Workshop – Mea culpa – By Lola Mitchell

We’re delighted to published the latest article to Lola Mitchell’s App Nerds Workshop Column. This is a truly stunning article and we are sure you will love it, over to you Lola…(foreword by Joanne Carter).


So last week I did the unthinkable. It is not the first time either.

So here I go (breathing shakily while standing at the platform):

‘My name is Lola Mitchell and I mixed iphone photography and what is called traditional photography.’

Screams everywhere, undignified huffing…

‘And I will do it again too!’

complete silence.

My defense:

I am exploring all the tools that are available to me and experimenting. Still doing mostly Iphone/Ipad only art but I love learning.

I have never learned photoshop and am planning on.

So what did I do? I took a photo with my dslr camera (which I had not touched in I think a full year!!), uploaded onto my ipad where I did all my edit.

And then I did some editing on pixelmator on my computer.

Insert shocked screams.

And you know what, I liked it. I also liked the result.

here it is:


©Lola Mitchell

I decided to document my journey into fine art in a website diary of sorts. Putting little tutorial for pretty much all my photos. At first I was going to keep it for my photoshop learning (which I still do not have lol). But then I liked the idea of sharing, and for me it is truly a diary. Check it out and let me know what you think.

So hopefully I did not offend anyone. I do think that they are two different platforms and I believe they are equal in strength and possibilities.

They are different tools really. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. I was even wondering if anyone else is doing this out there. Maybe I would start a little flickr group of mixed iphoneography that would be featured on my site. Redifining mixed media here : ) Maybe next step is printing my mixed iphoneography and add some real paint and paper!!!! wow. (sorry being silly here but I actually was nervous about not only doing it but sharing. there is a lot of passion on the subject).

App Nerds Flickr Group showcase:

Again these past two weeks there were great photos submitted onto our Flickr group. Please keep sharing (Iphone/Ipad only please). App nerds group

‘Raining in my heart’ Mutablend


©Mutablend (apps used listed in tags: rainy daze, superimpose, mexture, filterstorm)

Link to photo on Flickr

‘Tracks of my tears’ by Clint Cline


©Clint Cline (Apps used: hueless, rollage, hisptamatic, 645pro, modern grunge, superimpose)

Link to Clint Cline photo on Flickr

‘Under one moon” by Photomikro


©Photomikro (apps used: filtermania2, juxtaposer, alien sky, xnretro, snapseed)

Link to Photomikro photo on Flickr

‘The cloudmaker’ by Gladly Beyond


©Gladly Beyond (Apps used: photoforge 2, camera noir, repix, vsco cam)

Link to Gladly Beyond photo on Flickr

Lola discovered iPhone photography shortly after getting her first iPhone a year and a half ago. Her love of photography started early, thanks to her father who was a professional photographer – Jorge Damonte. Through him, Lola learnt about other photographers and artists. He taught her the ropes and she dabbled in the darkroom. Lola explains that she always took photographs but never felt the urge to share or do anything further with them, that all changed with the iPhone. Lola’s career, pre-kids was in production of documentary television and once she had kids she kept on taking photos and the iPhone gave her an outlet for more artistic montages.


  • Sharon LuVisi

    First of all, thank you for broaching this delicate subject.

    I LOVE the mobile photography community and I am truly am grateful for their support. The only thing that has puzzled me within the community is, at times, the hard-lined stance that all editing must be done either from your camera phone or tablet. Really? Why? Does it make it less of an image if it was edited in Photoshop? Is it the invented “purist” attitude that has seemingly permeated this community into thinking that you must not edit from Photoshop? I am clearly a newbie here and perhaps I simply do not understand all of the nuances of this issue. However, I would be very interested in finding out who decided that this was necessary and why it is important to avoid Photoshop at all costs. But, most importantly, I really feel that the mobile photography community might have lost their way when I read some contests’ rules that images will be tested and eliminated if Photoshop has been used in editing.

    Trust me when I say that I love the freedom, ease, and fun derived from editing on my iPad and this is where 100% of my editing begins, but I have absolutely no qualms about moving an image into Photoshop if I am stuck and/or I believe my image would benefit from doing so. I wonder how many and the time will come that mobile photographers will finally own up publicly to doing the same.

    Lola, I don’t know if you already have Photoshop in your home (I’m assuming so because of your hubby’s profession) but if you (or anybody else reading this) don’t, you might want to consider its “little sister” (sorry….I haven’t had my morning coffee yet), Photoshop Elements. According to Kelby Training, it has 95% of Photoshop CS6’s features at a mere fraction of the price, along with the fact that you don’t have to subscribe to Adobe’s newly-implemented monthly subscription.

    I know this issue has been discussed on countless blogs but I would love to read differing opinions to this issue within this forum because there must be more valid reasons than what I stated above; otherwise, it simply doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Lola Mitchell

      I actually understand. The mobile community gets a lot of criticism from the ‘traditional photographers’. Keeping it separated for now shows how versatile this medium is to the rest of the world.
      The world already know what a dslr and photoshop can do and has accepted it.
      I, personally make sure to make a note when I use pixelmator, and my canon 60d. And I never ever ever EVER enter these photos in any group or contest for iphone/ipad only.
      I do not have photoshop, my hubby is a physical special Fx guy, so sculptor, fabricator. But I am planning on getting it, someday.

      I just would like to know what photoshop has to offer.
      It is more for my personal art journey than anything. But I will admit that I was afraid that my decision to mix art would damage all the work I have done so far and still do as iphone/ipad only art.

      I think until the mobile art community is not frowned upon by many it is important to keep the medium as it stands right now.
      I would say that I think entering photography contest not directed at iphone/ipad only is as important for the acceptance of the medium.

      • Sharon LuVisi

        Thank you for your response to MY response! 😉

        Please know that I always try to be aware of what each Flickr groups’ rules are and also do not submit my PS images if their rules do not permit PS use. However, I only use it in otherwise impossible-to-correct situations (for me, anyway) and its usage is at most very slight.

        After reading Tracy Mitchell Griggs’ explanation as to why she doesn’t feel it’s fair to use Photoshop in photography contests if not all of the applicants have access to it, I do agree with her. As I said, I need another side of the story to get a clearer view of this, proving that I am indeed a newbie.

        And, Lola, you live in So. CA, right? If you’re interested, I would gladly give you an introduction to Photoshop at my home. While I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I have used it for years in conjunction with my Nik Software plugins (the company who developed Snapseed) since my DSLR days and have the latest version on my desktop.

        • Lola Mitchell

          I do. That would be lovely. It probably would include my kids. Hard to know when my hubby is not working. are you on facebook?

  • Tracy Mitchell Griggs

    An image is an image is an image. Does not matter the tools. Clearly, a DSLR, iPad, laptop, Photoshop, and other accessories and tools (stylus, LED lights, tri pods etc) and other tools might elevate the work to a more refined image.

    I think the only place this issue really matters, is for contests, where the playing field should be equal. Not everyone can afford the gear.

  • Tracey Renehan

    Brilliant article and viewpoint. Love your free spirited attitude! Your work is also brilliant and you have my support 100%.

    Great selection as well. Congrats everyone.

  • Stef LP

    A group for mixed photography would be great!
    While of late I am mostly shooting n editing via my iPad or droid …for my montages I do love to use my stockpile of photos.
    I have sooo many photos that can be used for dreamscapes that I prefer to use those as opposed to stock photos.
    Actually I was thinking of starting a folder for Creative Commons use.

    I do know that certain groups will not except a montage if it is not 100%mobile shot and edited.
    I have high respect for rules etc and like meeting the challenge to abide by them.
    Of late I am trying to work with my phone photos…or as one advised me, take a screenshot or photo of one of my photos to make it 100% mobile. (The images I most need to use where when working with a model.)
    That gets a little tricky since the image quality of taking a photo of a photo does not often look good.
    It creates a strange swingy texture ..which I have learned how to work with.
    Because of the standards out there I have set up sets defining the mixed phoneography and 100%.
    I think defining ones process for what it is , its just that.
    It doesn’t matter how something is done, whether standard or mobile.
    If communities have their standards they have their prerogative to do so.
    So be it.
    We should not hesitate to continue to create by whatever means necessary .
    The end result is what matters.
    Better a fine skilled creation that took self investment to create –via whatever is deemed necessary for the artist to create …then a quickly piece done simply to be accepted by communities peers.
    To me that is the problem. Folks pine for acceptance that they allow themselves to conform so as to be.
    No one ever said photoshop creations lose their value. Those who do frown or judge ART…because it isn’t created one way or another …cannot be true appreciators of art.
    In my little opinion.
    Communities –groups— focused on a particular venue of creating are there to support the process.
    I personally am favoring the mobile arts because…lol– in my aging state — I find it much more easier to do so as opposed to being trapped on a desktop.
    I will never get rid of my photoshop or cameras because I still use them.
    Although…to fess– I have over the past year considered selling photoshop and just use my iPad to edit my standard photos.
    Then again…even those…seem to be being replaced with my phone.
    I can’t express how liberating it has been to not have to carry all the weight of my gear.
    Forget about traveling …most of my luggage would be just that.
    A phone and an iPad!!!! Make life so much more lighter.
    Yes- a group for mix phoneography would be a good idea.
    Although the distinctions of a truly manipulated standard photo for mobile arts might be a good goal.
    Otherwise what would prevent folks simple texturizing an image and label it mobile arts.
    Maybe that’s the tricky thing about mixed work.
    There is a measure of pride in supporting a venue that is fighting for recognition.
    Just consider the changes in Flickr and how so many folks were blaming mobile photographers and judging their work as poor photos and snapshots blah blah blah.
    I actually found that offensive and felt compelled to work even harder at proving mobile photography has its place in the 21 century record of art.
    Maybe a group that shows the process of transforming a standard photo via mobile process?
    For now… If I do use my rebel photos …for a montage…they are often so far removed from the original take — they have truly been transformed .
    And I am always thrilled to show the process of breaking apart those digits while lounging.
    Just create…
    And sign it for what it is.

    • Lola Mitchell

      Thank you. So glad of the response I am getting. I might do just that but I would put that on my site. Keep for mobile photos only : )

  • Janine Graf

    Ahhhhh this was right up my alley Lola! Loved it! I too lately have been itching to learn Photoshop. Let’s face it, it’s such a powerful tool that could really take us to the next level! Although I do start to develop an eye twitch while thinking about the learning curve. 😀

    • Lola Mitchell

      Ah Janine. Exactly my thoughts too. And yes I am terrified of the learning curve. I also think it is not the same thing to sit with my iphone or ipad or sit at the computer for hours. But I want to try. I am pleasantly surprised by the response I am getting her.

  • Andrew B. White

    Great article and opens up a good line of debate/discussion.

    There is absolutely no reason why you should feel ‘dirty’ about editing an image that has not been shot on an iPhone (or other mobile device) on a mobile device.

    In my line of work I often get images that are taken by professional photographers (or not) that I choose to retouch on my iPhone rather than Photoshop.
    I’ll mention here that I started using Photoshop in 1991 (at around version 2.0) and have spent the last couple of decades editing, retouching, cloning, colour correcting… making people look far better than they actually are (lol) so you could say I know what I’m doing there. Despite that I enjoy the workflow of iOS photo editing apps and prefer to edit some images on the iPhone, instead of or in conjunction with Photoshop on a computer. Even the Mac desktop versions of some of these iOS apps I won’t bother with – the iOS way is more fun.

    A general work flow would go something like this:
    Receive digital photo -> check the physical size to ensure the iOS apps won’t crash or refuse to open it (luckily most apps now support very large images) -> resize if needed -> convert to RGB mode -> carry out any pre editing i.e. remove spots from faces, adjust contrast, clone out any items that I don’t want in the final image (although iOS apps like TouchRetouch are great it is a finicky way of doing edits if you have the image in Photoshop already) -> save as hi-res jpeg and import to iPhone to edit. When the edit is done re-import to Photoshop for any final colour correction, sizing and sharpening using unsharp mask filter, and conversion to CMYK for print if required.

    Using this process I have been able to use my iOS photo app skills to work on conventionally supplied images and achieve results that would be tedious or less creatively inspiring using Photoshop on a computer.

    I don’t use Photoshop Touch for iOS by the way – that seems ind of pointless to me. If its iOS I use more specific apps.

    I have quite a few examples of these ‘cross-platform’ works all of which were commercial projects.

    So there is no reason to think the two things shouldn’t go together.

    On the other hand I’m a big fan of keeping stuff all mobile based where appropriate – the photography, the editing etc.
    This is because you are using the limitations or processes offered by the mobile device and nothing else. One should be upfront about processes and this is why a lot of the mobile photography competitions/sites stipulate that only mobile shot/edited images are acceptable. I agree with that – it is about the context of what your doing and if we are talking ‘true’ mobile art then we need to establish boundaries to work within so we can define the art form and give everyone a set of guidelines to work to.

    Other examples:
    In 2010 I pitched the idea to a client to shoot their album cover using an iPhone. I stress, this was 2010 which in iPhone photography was like, 50 years ago lol. They were in to it as they had seen the work I’d done on the iPhone. I was using an iPhone 3G at the time (it was before the iPhone 4 had been released) using Hipstamatic (the one shot at a time version). We had to take a shot, wait for it to develop and then do the next one. Slow! The image size was just adequate when re-sized for print reproduction. I did import the images into Photoshop for some editing, resizing and colour correction but tried to keep the work flow as ‘mobily’ pure as possible. Of course I added text and put together all the art in a page layout programme. The aim for this was to be one of the first people to specifically shoot an album cover on a mobile phone and use that angle as part of the whole promo process. I was always clear that the images were shot on a mobile device but that I also used Photoshop and a computer as well. These days I’m more inclined to use less computer in this process because the editing process on iOS is more advanced. Anyway, this is a good example of using mobile/conventional processes together but going in the other direction.

    In regard to making films/video using mobile devices – this is another interesting area when you are talking about a ‘pure’ mobile creation/editing path.
    There is no doubt you can use a mobile device to do the whole process – shoot, edit, treat, make and mix the music and audio, compile and share – all on mobile.
    Sometimes its better to edit the mobile footage on a computer. This is entirely dependant on what you want to achieve. I encourage people to try and see what they can do just on a mobile device but it is not compulsory. If you look at most mobile film festivals or submission criteria they generally allow for external editing on a computer. No, this is not pure mobile content creation but its a personal choice. Just like photography.

    I think as long as everyone is upfront with what they are doing – anything goes.
    Keep it strictly mobile or mix’n’match!