Oh wow, what an interview! We’re delighted to publish the first (of many) interviews by Janine Graf with fellow mobile photographers for her fantastic iSights Column that she has with us here at theappwhisperer.com. I love it, thank you to both Janine and Fabio for their fabulous collaboration. Over to you Janine (foreword by Joanne Carter).
Hi everybody! When Joanne Carter and I were in the brainstorming stage for my iSights column, one of the ideas I mentioned was conducting interviews of some of my favorite mobile photographers. I am truly excited to announce that I have my first interview for the column! Fabio D’Andrea (a.k.a. Fastcomet) has graciously accepted my invitation to be my interview guinea pig. I first came upon Fabio’s work on Flickr over two years ago and he immediately became a fast favorite of mine; not only because he’s incredibly talented, but also due to the fact that he’s such a nice guy. His style is really quite varied and ranges from the geometric abstract, to painterly landscapes and flowers, to black and white street scenes, on down to the surreal; he does it all and he does it with his own personal flare. I always get excited when I discover he’s uploaded a new image to Flickr; quickly clicking on the thumbnail to see how he will impress me this time.
So without further ado, let’s get this interview started! Links to where you can find Fabio’s work will be listed at the end of this interview.
‘Profile Pic’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Fabio. Where are you from? What do you do for a living? Do you have any non-photography related hobbies? Do you own any pets and if so, do they make you as bonkers as my dog makes me?
FD: I was born in 1969 in Rome, Italy where I’ve lived since then. I’m a Hardware manager working in an Italian tech company on law enforcement support devices. Now I’m working on a license plate recognition device that will be sold in the US too, so be careful with the speed of your new sport car Janine!! 🙂 I’ve always loved technology and I wanted do to that since I was a child, so my job is also my hobby with all the pros and cons.
I love dogs but I can’t own one because I’m out of my home the most of the time. I use to play with the dog of one of my best friends, her name is Maya (!) she’s so sweet and we were born on the same day, so we blow out candles together.
‘Dark Light – NY Series’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: I have been a fan of your work since day one on Flickr, but over the past several months you’ve really amazed me with your new style that combines very dark with vibrant, almost electric, colors; your “NY Series” comes to mind. Would you please share with us a few of your personal favorites from this series and maybe tell us a little bit about them?
FD: I was in New York in 2011, one of my favorite cities, I took more than 800 photos with my iPhone and I edited and shared some of them several weeks after my trip. Most of them were on my iPhone just waiting to be edited with the right flow of Apps. I decided to explore a new way to edit these shots and I started the NY Series. The result of this processing is a dark image (even if it was taken at full sun) that looks like a painting on metal.
My favorite image is the first one “Dark Light” because I got a lot of good feedback from all my fans (I don’t have any fans but I like to fake it).
This process starts using Lomora on the original image and Glaze as second one, Blender on the two output images using “difference” blending mode (this is the step that gives the dark style) and masking the image parts that needs to be highlighted. The image is then processed in TangledFX with custom settings I shared on the amazing Mobitog. For the final touch the Repix App using Spray, Drips and Freshen brushes.
‘Eleven Forty-Three – NY Series’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: What are your favorite apps at the moment? Do you have a least favorite app?
FD: I have more than 400 photographic Apps on my iPhone and iPad and my favorite ones change every day. If I should write down a list of my recent favorite apps I would choose (links attached):
‘First Contact’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: We have talked in the past of being surprised when a personal favorite image of ours was not necessarily a hit with the public. Is there a particular image of yours that was not as popular as you had hoped? Any ideas on why it bombed, so to speak?
FD: Oh yes this is one of the most interesting topics to discuss. We all edit images to show our creativity, an idea, a meaning and also for a personal gratification, sometimes it requires a strong effort and time. It is so funny to realize that you can never tell if your image will be a hit or not, even if you put a lot of time and effort to do it.
I have to admit that figuring this out is the most beautiful part of the story, though. One of the images that perfectly fits in this is “First Contact”, a Sci-Fi theme image that required a lot of work, but was one of the most unpopular images I ever posted (I should probably re-title it as “The Meh Effect”), I don’t know why but probably because of the Sci-Fi theme and because it’s a weird image.
In these cases what we use to say is, “I did it for myself”.
‘Enjoy the ride’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: Is there a genre of photography you’d like to explore more? If so, have you taken any steps towards that new direction?
FD: I’ve always loved street photography and I tried so many times to take shots of people in public places, but I’m shy and you need to get close to the subject so this is a genre that is completely out of my comfort zone, I’ll keep on trying.
‘Escaping the dust’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: Has your work been featured in any shows / exhibits? I know you are humble, so here’s your chance to brag!
FD: I got two honorable mentions in Mobile Photo Awards 2012 in Travel and Abstracts categories with the images “Because I Fly” and “Vulnerable Essence”, these images have been exhibited at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in NYC.
The image “Enjoy the Ride” was featured in the “Mobile Challenge Winners Video” as part of Mobile Masters Dan Marcolina’s ebook.
I got some “daily pic” features on P1xels, as well as various features on the most popular iphoneography blogs.
I’m the curator of the NEM SciFi album on EyeEm.
Last, but not least, I was featured on the most amazing, wonderful and up to date “TheAppWhisperer” curated by Joanne Carter, I think that you should know her!
‘Remember To Breathe’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: OK, now let’s get down to the important questions, shall we? Who do you believe is a better leader; Kirk, or Picard?
FD: You probably know that if I have to choose the answer is……Picard. He is diplomatic, takes his job very seriously and doesn’t make rush decisions or shortcuts. There’s no better, or worse, because they’re different, useful in different situations. BTW Picard is a true leader.
‘Spinning Slowly’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: What is your favorite Star Trek series?
FD: As a big fan, I’ve seen all Star Trek series and in my opinion “The Next Generation” was the best.
What I love in Star Trek (in general) is the incredibly optimistic vision about our future; Gene Roddenberry (the ST creator) frequently stated that money would not exist in the future, that instead people work to “better themselves” and to “enhance humanity”, maybe a bit utopic but, damn, why not?!
‘Sun Will Rise’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: If Caption Jean Luc Picard and Commander William Adama were to get in a bar fight, who do you think would win?
FD: You know, Jean-Luc doesn’t have a great reputation in bar fight, he was stabbed in younger age and he got a cool artificial heart. I want to believe that learning from the past he would win. Yes, Picard is my captain.
‘Vulnerable Essence’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: Were you as disappointed in the series finale of Battlestar Galactica as I was? Granted, I realize this happened several years ago now, but I’m still irritated on the way the writers wrapped it up.
FD: I’d say “what the frak!!” in BG slang. BTW I totally agree with you and I had the same feeling, it was the worst ending for one of the best science fiction television shows after Star Trek. It’s quite clear that the producers decided to suddenly shut down this series; it’s better off not to focus on the finale but the high quality level of this series.
‘Bright Lights Bigger Electric Bill – NY Series’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: If we were doing this chat in a coffeehouse, what drink would you have ordered and most importantly, would you have offered to buy my cappuccino?
FD: I don’t drink so much cappuccinos, I prefer an Earl Grey tea, hot….. and chocolate cookies or a chocolate cake. Yes, I love chocolate, dark chocolate to be more precise and, no doubt, I’d be proud to pay for your cappuccino and anything else you want, even bacon if you want to eat with it!
‘Because I Fly’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
JG: Is there anything, anything at all, you’d like the readers to know about you? For example, do you have any special powers? My special power is the ability to center anything in any space without measuring first. Please tell me your special power is cooler than that.
FD: This is my very first interview and I thought it was easier. I got all the iPhones from 2G to the last 5S.
My first camera was a 110 film Kodak Ektra with built-in cover that turns into a handle.
My latest DSLR is a Nikon D7000.
My parents wanted to give me Andrea as name but Andrea D’Andrea is such a disgrace so went for Fabio (Marco and Andrea are my additional names).
I hate when my co-workers reply to my email calling me Andrea.
When I was young I used to play keyboards, playing melodies with both hands separately but now I can barely read a score.
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
I love every style in photography and editing if the result is nice, but slanted horizon drives me crazy.
Special powers?? I tried to use the force sometimes, but didn’t work. I can whistle (without using fingers) from 250 to 4000Hz with more than 100dB of sound pressure.
‘A Matter Of Perspective – NY Series’ – ©Fabio D’Andrea
I want to thank Fabio for being such a great sport and wonderful first interview subject! Fabio, if you are ever in the greater Boston area, let’s meet for chocolate cake and a round of street photography, as that is a genre I would like to get more familiar with as well. Ooh, maybe one of us could create a diversion while the other snaps away at the unsuspecting subjects! I think Picard would approve. I do have one request though; just don’t whistle around my dog, her giant melon head might explode.
You can find more of Fabio’s beautiful imagery at the links below: