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Mobile Photography Interview – A Day In The Life of Brett Chenoweth – A Talented and Well Connected Artist

Welcome to our very exciting interview column on theappwhisperer.com. This section entitled “A Day in the Life of…” is where we take a look at some hugely influential, interesting and accomplished individuals in the mobile photography and art world… people that we think you will love to learn more about. This is our 107th installment of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here.

Today we are featuring mobile photographer Brett Chenoweth. Chenoweth has been a working and nationally exhibiting artist for over 20 years. He earned a B.F.A. in photography with a minor in art history from Washington University in St. Louis in 1986 and a B.F.A. degree in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1989. Brett also earned his master’s degree of interdisciplinary studies in literature, creative writing, art, philosophy and theology from St. Johns and Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. in 1999. He has been a painting and drawing instructor in Kansas City, Vermont, and Maine.

Chenoweth reignited his love for photography while taking pictures for source material for his drawings. As the iPhone began to emerge as a valid and present vehicle for documentation, Brett now focuses on mobile photography as his primary tool for his work. Additionally, the iPad allows him to mix drawing, painting and photography together with ease, essentially obliterating the boundaries between these media–taking Brett’s work into new directions.

We couldn’t wait to find out more about him and invited him to take part in this interview. We think you will all enjoy this a lot, it’s full of fabulous insight, images and words.

Under each image you will find the title and a list of all the apps used, links to these apps are at the end of the article.

(If you would like to be interviewed for our new ‘A Day in the Life of…’ section, send an email to [email protected], and we’ll get back to you.)


Brett Chenoweth


‘Self portrait’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Contrast Camera, Dyptic



‘Do sleeping dogs dream of children and spies’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Leonardo, VintageHD, Image Blender, Phonto


Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?

I wake early get myself going, then wake my daughter and get her ready/off to school. Coffee happens before with her, and after while checking emails and social media. Then it is on to my day, errands, home and creative adventures until I pick her up in the afternoon.


‘Measure a spy, exit a fool’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Leonardo, VintageHD, Procreate, Filterstorm


Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?

I shoot often, but no particular place or time. Where ever I happen to be is a good place to photograph. I’m always looking. I do shoot and edit everyday for my private 365.


‘Spies don’t speak love letters’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Procreate, Leonardo, VintageHD, ModernGrunge, Image Blender


How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (Pardon the pun)

lol. Accidentally. I got my BFA in photography. Darkroom, black and white, pushing and pulling film… Then became an abstract painter. Though I taught some darkroom photography in the 90s, I did not take a serious photograph for twenty five years! Then life happened in big ways over the last ten years. In 2005 after the last of my representing galleries closed, I dropped out of the art world to rethink my work. Then my daughter was born and painting became impossible while caring for her, so I made drawings. I started photographing again for source material for the drawings. When I became a single parent 4 years ago I had to give up the studio. I got my iPhone 4 (now use 5s) six months later and read about replacement camera apps. One black and white photo from camera+ and I was back. I began asking questions on social media about apps and discovered this amazing community of generous, unpretentious creatives willing to help each other learn and grow! (Shout out to Mobitog). Now my iPad is my studio. Drawing, painting and photography collide through the mobile photographic process and I’m having a blast!


‘Tears of a spy’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps used – Leonardo, Camera!, VintageHD, Image blender, ScratchCm, ProCreate


Do you like to download new mobile photography apps regularly?

Yes, but I have become more deliberate in my choices. Many apps do the same thing. I now look to apps that I think will add to/ better my workflow.


Eclipse’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Camera+, CameraBag2, Stackables, Filterstorm


What is your preferred platform, Apple iOS, Android, Windows?

I am iOS all the way. It’s easy, seamless, and straight forward. Keep it simple


‘Give me’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Camera+, CameraBag 2


Would you consider changing platforms and why?

Not really. If someone gave me a Nokia to play with I would try it as a camera, but it would end up being one more thing to carry. All editing would still be done on my iPad.


‘Man in museum’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Hipstamatic and…


How often do you update your existing apps?

I keep them on auto update. I check a couple of times a week to see what has been updated.


‘Parader’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Camera+, CameraBag 2


What are your favourite photography apps and why, what features do you look for in a new photo app?

For my photo collage work – I work in Leonardo for its ease with masking, layering, and photo editing, and procreate for the same reasons, with the added bonus of being able to create my own grunge, filters, add drawings, paint in and out elements and most importantly work in a lot of layers. Procreate is more stable when I get ten to fifteen layers going. For straighter photography, I love camerabag 2. I make my own filters on the mac version then download them to the app version through iTunes. I’m a sucker for being able to create my own filters, so apps like stackables and mextures appeal to me. I love black and white photography, especially with a little grunge/noise, and am enjoying monokrom. Everything ends with filterstorm Neue, a great straight forward editing app, for tweaking and meta data.


‘Puppet Saint’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Hipstamatic – libatique 71 and d-type plate


Where’s your favourite place to shoot and why?

Based on the umpteen thousand photos of my daughter, I would say wherever she is is my favorite place to photograph. I like photographing at art openings, and other events. People do not tend to be as camera shy in these situations. And I’m doing more street photography as a practice. Mostly I let the photographs come to me.


‘The book saint’ -©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Camera+, Mextures


Where do you like to upload your photographs to – Flickr, Instagram etc?

My own website brettchenoweth.com which has links to my Flickr page – http://www.flickr.com/people/blackbulbstudio/ and VSCOgrid (blackandwhite white photos). I upload fairly liberally on EyeEm http://www.eyeem.com/u/Brettchen and specific FB groups. I have a visual tumblr blog that I upload some of my work to as well – http://blackbulbstudio.tumblr.com/ .


‘Guided by desires bought and sold’ – ©Brett Chenoweth


Do you use your mobile phone everyday to take images?

Yes, I shoot something everyday and try to edit something as well. I do not own any other camera, though I have hankering for a Polaroid.


‘The beat goes on’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps used – ProCreate, ModernGrunge


Do you like to use external hardware products with your mobile device for image and video capturing, such as lenses, tripods, external storage and battery packs? Please elaborate as much as possible.

Honestly I am not that interested. One of the reasons I left photography in the first place was the lugging of stuff – All the gear necessary, for studio shooting and such took the fun and what immediacy there was away. As it was, I strapped my Nikon around my shoulder with one of my two lens on it, stuffed my pockets full of hp5 and off I went. Now I don’t even have to stuff my pockets! I’m all about keeping things simple on the front end and letting complexity build through editing.


‘Upon the ground we stand’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – ProCreate, ModernGrunge


Do you edit images on your mobile devices or do you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer? 100% mobile.

Most of my editing is done on my iPad. I do use the desktop version of CameraBag 2 to make filters.


‘And so it is’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps used – ProCreate, Leonardo, Stackables, Tintype, ModernGrunge, Filterstorm Neue


Where do you envisage your mobile photography passion will take you? Have you been involved with exhibitions etc?

Already in the two years (since September 12 2014) I have been at this, my twenty five plus years of art making has come full circle and been jettisoned forward in ways I would never have imagined. Much of that has to do with the immediacy and playfulness of the medium, and the quick growth curve that allows. I believe in the last 6 -8 months, after a year plus of playing, experimenting, and learning apps (all of which I still do!), that my work is beginning to take on its own identity and direction. I am looking forward to watching my work grow.

I am currently involved with the New Era Museum. I curate the NEM self action twice a month on EyeEm. Also, I have organized a show under the NEM flag here in Kansas City for September. I aimed high and asked museum curator/ art historian / mobile photographer Gina Costa to curate and she agreed! She then asked me to co-curate and I accepted. So the call is out to all mobile artists!

http://neweramuseum.org/kansas-city-2014/ It is a wonderful opportunity, and I hope everybody submits. submission is Free! The deadline for submissions is May 15th. I am hoping that the show grows into an event. I have time available for artist talks and discussions as well as space available for workshops. But one thing at time. I love this mobile art community and hope to continue to support it anyway I can.


‘Broken toy soldiers’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Camera+, Procreate, Tintype, Filterstorm


Do you also enjoy shooting videos with your mobile phone? If so, what do you do with them? Have you considered uploading them to our Mobile Movies Flickr group?

I have made a few short videos with my phone and pad, but at the moment it is not a direction I wish to pursue. I probably will make more in time.


‘Dancing cunningham’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Leonardo, Tintype, Stackables, Filterstorm Neue


Where do you see the future of mobile photography?

Growing and growing! The phone camera’s will continue to improve as will the apps. Because of the social media community aspect and the immediacy of the process, the creativity involved will grow exponentially. People are challenging each other visually and creatively simply through sharing. Also because of the relatively easy access and inexpensive apps, I have seen that people who would never have considered themselves creatives are finding their way as mobile artists! This is very exciting to me – The more the merrier. Some may see this as dilution, I see it as expansion. We need more creativity in the world not less. Also, I think this is a boon for street photographers and journalists. No longer does a photographer have to haul a load just to get a good picture, nor does anybody have to spend a fortune on software to get a good edit. All of this will continue to change the discourse associated with photography driving everything in new directions.


‘Mother is watching’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Leonardo, ProCreate, TinType, Phonto


What do you think is the most popular area of mobile photography?

Street. Phones have made it easier to shoot on the streets allowing more people into the genre. I also see street photography becoming more challenging for these same reasons. As it becomes more democratic plus the ethical considerations involved, the bar and definitions of what constitutes a “good” photograph will be raised higher.


‘Paperdolls’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Leonardo, ProCreate, ModernGrunge, TinType, Phonto, Filterstorm


Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?

No I really don’t. I communicate with people all over the world. It is really a very exciting time for photography and world community.


‘Slightly adrift’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Camera+, ProCreate, TinType, Filterstorm


If you could select a specification for a mobile smartphone, what features would you select, photographically speaking?

I’m pretty easily satisfied with what is already in use. That said I would like to work with less destructive file saves, which will require more gigabyte space on mobile devices. This is already beginning to occur as more apps are allowing for use of tiff and png files. RAW or something like will happen. I would like to see a standard nondestructive file system across the board.


‘Shine’ – ©Brett Chenoweth – Apps Used – Leonardo – photo taken with a long exposure app – words written in A+ signature


What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?

Joanne Carter Rocks! And really you and theappwhisperer.com are one of the driving forces behind this amazing community. Your website is the go to place for information, stories and tutorials. Kudos, and thanks for being awesome!

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]