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 109th installment of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here.
Today we are featuring Amy Leibrand, known online as @_thisspace_, she describes her work as haunting, yet feminine, considering herself a manipulator of images, not a photographer. Her work in digital, film, and mobile genres has gained international attention through exhibits at the Bastille Design Center (Paris), Berlin Foto Festival, Lunch Box Gallery (Wynwood Arts District, Miami), Black Box Gallery (Portland), Soho Gallery for Digital Art (NYC), and Columbus Museum of Art. Amy has been featured in many publications, most recently the French print magazines Backlight and Réponsés Photo. In addition to her two-dimensional work, Amy also builds mechanical, interactive wood constructs that incorporate her images. She is actively involved in her local arts community as a curator and administrator, and is the founder of EXPOSURE: A Mobile Photography Exhibition. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. More information can be found at www.thisspaceisrented.com.
We couldn’t wait to find out more about Amy, we adore her work and we’re sure you will too and invited her to take part in this interview. We think you will all enjoy this a lot, it’s full of truly incredible images and insight.
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 Joanne@theappwhisperer.com, and we’ll get back to you.)
‘Last Act’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, PhotoFX
‘Fortunes’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, PhotoFX, Juxtaposer, Afterlight, TouchRetouch
Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?
The alarm is set for 7:30. I wake somewhere between 4:30 and 6:00. During this unfortunate gap, I hide under the covers and poke around on my phone. Mostly news and email. Once I’m upright, it’s off to run errands and then I head to work.
‘I need one time’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Image Blender, Snapseed, PhotoFX, PhotoFactory
Do you like to head out and take photographs early on?
I don’t, actually. I tend to shoot later in the day — I like the light between 4 pm and dusk the best. And I don’t think I’ve ever shot in my studio earlier than 8 pm.
‘Untitled’- ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Image Blender, Snapseed, Afterlight
How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (pardon the pun)
My path was more like painter to mobile photographer to traditional photographer to lomographer to assembler of objects and back to mobile photographer. I’m a dabbler, but the only genre that has stuck is mobile photography. The mobility aspect makes it a keeper.
‘My narcissim is leaking’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Juxtaposer, Image Blender, PhotoFX, Snapseed, Mextures
Do you like to download new mobile photography and/or art apps regularly?
Not really. Not unless I see an unusual technique or filter, then I might ask the artist what app they used, which I’ll then explore further. I’ve been immersed in mobile photography for about five years, and I am a creature of habit. My go-to apps are ones I’ve used for years.
‘Ratios’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, PhotoFX, Image Blender
What is your preferred platform, Apple iOS, Android, Windows?
‘Sweaters’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Image Blender, Afterlight
Would you consider changing platforms and why?
Doubtful. I’m comfortable with iOS and understand its quirks, strengths and deficiencies.
‘Thirty seven’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Snapseed
How often do you update your existing apps?
My phone is set to update automatically. Love that feature!
‘Manual input’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, BlurFX, Photo Factory
What are your favourite photography apps and why, what features do you look for in a new photo app?
I’ve gotten away from using shooter apps, but I will always have a soft spot for Hipstamatic. My go-to editing apps are Photo Factory, Photo fx, Juxtaposer, Image Blender (I warned you I like the oldies!), Snapseed, and Retouch. For filters, I prefer Mextures and Afterlight. Noir is beautiful for black and white. I’ve also been having a lot of fun with Koloid, which is a challenging app to master.
At this point, to pique my interest in a new app, the app would need to be something visually or functionally unique.
‘The furthest I had run in my life’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic
Where’s your favorite place in the world for a shoot and why?
Mostly my studio where I have many props, which I then superimpose into images I’ve taken in the desert, abandoned homes, historic buildings, bar bathrooms…
‘Untitled’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstmatic, Snapseed, Afterlight, Image Blender
Where do you like to upload your photographs to – Flickr, Instagram etc?
Facebook and Instagram (@_thisspace_). Occasionally Twitter and rarely Flickr.
‘Untitled’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Juxtaposer, Snapseed, Photo Factory
Do you use your mobile phone everyday to take images?
Lately, yes. However, most of those images are never used in artwork. I’ve started taking snapshots of things that inspire. I’m in the midst of a creative slump.
‘Fear that lies or whatever the proper grammar is’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Noir, Juxtaposer, Snapseed
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?
When I shoot self-portraits I use a tripod equipped with the Glif Tripod Mount. Other than that, it’s just me and my phone. I came into mobile photography early on, before all the gadgets. Again, creature of habit.
‘Let’s start at the beginning, hashtag, let’s not’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, Afterlight, Image Blender
Do you edit images on your mobile devices or do you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer
All editing is completed on my phone. Personally, I feel that if a PC is used, then it’s not mobile photography.
‘Dream job 1337’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Image Blender, Blur FX
Where do you envisage your mobile photography passion will take you? Have you been involved with exhibitions etc? Please elaborate if you can.
Mobile photography has opened so many doors. I can’t possibly speculate how things will progress, since so many opportunities have seemingly come out of nowhere. I participated in both Mobile Photo Paris exhibits, which resulted in being published by New York Times Lens, and am currently represented by Out of the Phone, a Parisian mobile image publishing house. My work is currently on display at La Chambre Claire, a well known and respected book store in Central Paris. I participated in a mobile exhibit at The Browse Berlin FotoFest in 2013, which led to my work being featured by VICE magazine.
I show my mobile work quite a bit in my city, Columbus (Ohio). Partly because of the questions I repeatedly received about the genre, I founded EXPOSURE: A Mobile Photography Exhibition, an annual juried exhibit of mobile photography held in Columbus every March. The brick-and-mortar exhibit features 30 Ohio artists and 30 national and international artists, each exhibiting five images for a total of 300 mobile photographs.
I’m so grateful for these opportunities. The mobile photography community continues to inspire and I’m very fortunate to have made many great connections over the years. I can’t wait to discover what’s next!
‘Half does and half does not’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Juxtaposer, PhotoFX, Diptic, Image Blender
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 the Super8 app, which creates vintage-y videos. It’s fun to use and visually extraordinary. But that’s where my interest ends. I much prefer stills.
‘Untitled’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, Afterlight, PhotoFX
Where do you see the future of mobile photography?
I think it’s poised to become excessively gadgety. The definition of mobile photography has become blurred by the advent of ancillary equipment made specifically for smartphones, such as the SLR lens mount. Having the capability to use a high-end professional SLR lens with your phone is powerful; however, my concern is that by eliminating the challenges of mobile photography that the genre will lose the unpredictability that initially attracted so many of us artists.
That said, I (hypocritically) love the Impossible Project’s Instant Lab, which prints edited images directly from the iPhone to Polaroid film. This allows the user to control the resulting print — purists are surely screaming since the Polaroid is all about unpredictability. However, I love having the ability to create surreal prints that would otherwise be impossible to create with instant film. I think it remains to be seen how the mobile community accepts or rejects the blending of genres as technologies evolve.
‘Untitled’ –©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, Afterlight, Photo FX
What do you think is the most popular area of mobile photography?
2013 was The Year of the Selfie. I’m most definitely guilty of contributing to that.
‘Preparation and display ‘ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, Photo FX
Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?
I haven’t noticed, to be honest. Mobile photography makes the world feel small. Trends spread rapidly and we’re all connected.
‘Weighted’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Snapseed, Juxtaposer, PhotoFX
If you could select a specification for a mobile smartphone, what features would you select, photographically speaking?
Higher resolution, especially of the “backward” camera (selfies!). Actually, I quite like the limited function of the smartphone camera. Working with constraints is a challenge, and I enjoy that. If I want a perfect shot, I’ll use an SLR and adjust aperture, speed and ISO. What I like about shooting with an iPhone is that I *can’t* control those elements. I’m forced to rely on the environment.
‘Their must’ve been more gravity in that spot’ – ©Amy Leibrand – Hipstamatic, Tilt Shift Generator, Juxtaposer, Snapseed
What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?
As the brains and brawn behind The App Whisperer, Joanne has facilitated the connections that are the foundation of the mobile community. Her work and foresight have resulted in many offshoot social media groups, which provide mobile artists a forum to share their work and critique. The App Whisperer site serves to educate and promote artists and is one-stop-shopping for all things mobile! App reviews, tutorials, info about exhibitions and contests, artist interviews, you name it, it can be found there. Truly a great resource for the mobile community. Kudos to Joanne for her tireless vision!