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 116th installment of the series. If you have missed our previous interviews, please go here.
Today we are featuring Fiona Christian. Christian was born in Birmingham, UK and moved to the South of England around 30 years ago, she currently resides in a tiny village in East Sussex with her husband Carl and their daughter Holly. Christian loves anything creative from cooking and gardening through to arts and crafts. She is self-employed, working with Carl in their interior decorating business which covers all aspects of interiors from kitchen fitting to wallpaper hanging.
Christian previously worked as an exhibition organizer for The Wildlife Art Society arranging local exhibitions and notably staging the annual exhibition in London’s Westminster Galleries.
We couldn’t wait to find out more about Fiona Christian, we are certain you’re going to really enjoy this!
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.
‘A Winter’s Day’ – ©Fiona Christian – Apps Used – Hipstamatic, Anticrop, Bleach bypass, Scratchcam, Blender, Iris (now called Laminar) Touch Retouch & Filterstorm
Let’s start at the beginning of the day, how does your day start?
I’m not a morning person, preferring to stay up later at night when it’s quieter. I wake up at around 07.45 and have a quick look at Facebook to see what’s been going on in the world, before I get up and get ready for work. I never read newspapers and rarely watch television news so this is my way of keeping up with events. I’m very lucky to also get a cup of peppermint tea made for me by Carl, before we attempt to herd our 9yr old daughter Holly towards the school bus.
‘Vogue’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/Jane/Ina’s82
How did the transition from traditional photographer to mobile photographer develop? (Pardon the pun)
It was purely accidental. My first job after leaving school was in a photographic studio. I trained in all aspects of studio work including film processing, printing and graphic art. I moved on eventually, to several very different jobs but years later I took up wildlife photography as a hobby, using an SLR (there was no ‘D’ in those days!). Gradually I stopped taking pics altogether due to pressure of work and lack of time. Fast forward 10 years… I got my first iPhone 3GS in 2010 and started browsing the app store one cold December day. Hipstamatic caught my interest and since we were snowed in at the time, I tested a few lens/film combos on the garden. I was stunned at the difference between the standard camera and the Hipsta pics and the rest, as they say, is history!
‘A Partridge in a Pear Tree’ – ©Fiona Christian – Apps used – Hipstamatic, Juxtaposer, Scratchcam, DistressedFX
Do you like to download new mobile photography apps regularly?
I’m a recovering appaholic. There was a time when I’d get a new app as soon as I heard about it. Recently I’ve started to go through them all and delete the ones I rarely use. When i hear about a new one, I’m less likely to buy it if it doesn’t do something amazing that none of the others do. Less is more is my new mantra.
‘Seven Sisters from Birling Gap’ – ©Fiona Christian – Apps used – Hipstamatic GSquad/Blanko13
What is your preferred platform, Apple iOS, Android, Windows?
I’m an Apple girl 🙂
‘Tintagel Gulls’ – ©Fiona Christian – Apps used – Hipstamatic – Jane/Ina’s 82
Would you consider changing platforms and why?
No. I just love apple products. I have a macbook, an ipad and an iPhone 5s. Even if the android market interested me, I wouldn’t get one as my beloved Hipstamatic is not available on any other platform.
‘Venice’ – ©Fiona Christian – Apps used – Standard iPhone camera, Glaze, Scratcham, Image Blender, Laminar, Filterstorm
How often do you update your existing apps?
I don’t update them very often. I never get the latest iOS version when it’s released in case things start to go wrong. Most updates are bug fixes so i don’t need them as badly as some might. If it’s an improvement update I’ll get it sooner.
‘Jonquil’ – ©Fiona Christian – Standard iPhone camera, Repix, Glaze, Aquarella, Image Blender
What are your favorite photography apps and why, what features do you look for in a new photo app?
You already know my fave app 🙂 Others that I love are Repix, Snapseed, Anticrop, Blender, Juxtaposer, Facetune, & Glaze. There are dozens of great lomo filter and grunge apps but these all do something different. Ease of use is vital. I hate apps that require a lot of head scratching. Whilst I have infinite patience where creativity is concerned, I have none whatsoever when it comes to technology. Anticrop is really useful for adding additional space around an image. Facetune is fab too. Originally designed to retouch portraits to give a ‘hollywood’ look it has so many other uses as, unlike other similar apps, it doesn’t require face recognition. This makes it ideal for selective sharpening and other tweaks.
A new app would have to have something I haven’t seen before or be able to do something a lot more efficiently than other similar apps. It also, above all else, has to do something that I like. There have been several very clever and different apps lately that ultimately I’m not that fond of. Frax, for example, is great fun but after playing with it for 10 minutes I realized that the chances of me ever using it again were remote except for amusement or the odd appstract.
‘Kite Flying in a storm’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/JohnS/Pistill
Where’s your favorite place to shoot and why?
Anywhere that I happen to be. I love traveling, so whenever I go somewhere new I’m in heaven… Even if it’s only a few miles away. I live in a remote part of east Sussex and don’t always get out & about when not working so I’ll often wander round the garden, on the lookout for a good subject. I travelled extensively before discovering iPhoneography so I’d love to go back round again. Australia would be top of the list. The West coast remains my favorite place on earth.
I’ve recently been to Cuba, Venice and Sardinia, all of which were unforgettable and magical places.
‘NEM Poster’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic, Juxtaposer, Anticrop, Image Blender, DistressedFX, Phonto
What are your favorite photographic subjects and why?
Anything that catches my eye. I love street photography but rarely get to a city. Landscapes are the easiest thing given that I’m surrounded by them most of the time. I really enjoy Still life, especially as I can create something even if I’m stuck at home and it’s raining outside. Macro work fascinates and frustrates in equal measure too.
I’d love to do more portrait work but it’s a lot less spontaneous than other types of photography and therefor more difficult to squeeze in to a busy schedule.
‘Ode to Spring’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic, Repix, Glaze, Image Blender
Where do you like to upload your photographs to – Flickr, Instagram etc?
Facebook is my go-to place for sharing images. I also upload to EyeEm although not as often as I should! I try Oggl but it makes my brain hurt. I’ve never used Instagram. Flickr is a mystery to me. I try but I just don’t get it. It’s like walking into a bar where everyone just stares at you when you walk in. However, since the demise of IPA, I’ve vowed to try harder with it!
‘Outside Looking In’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/JohnS/Claunch
Do you use your mobile phone everyday to take images?
Not every single day, no. But most days 🙂 even if I’m in a shop and see a vase I like, I’ll take a pic and use it in a still life …eventually.
‘Poetto Beach’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/Helga/Blanko 13
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.
I have a range of magnetic lenses from photojojo.com …a macro/wide angle, a fisheye and a telephoto. I prefer them to the olloclip as i always have a case on my phone and can’t be bothered to take it off every time i want to take a pic. I chose the Speck Candyshell case because, apart from being shock proof, it has a large hole around the lens which allows me to stick the magnetic ring to my phone and use the lenses without taking the case off.
I do have a couple of tripods and use them occasionally but don’t carry them around with me. I also have a couple of spare battery packs. By far the best is The New Trent NT70T. It connects via my phone charging cable so I can keep it in my pocket and continue shooting. It gives at least 2 full charges (often more) and works as quickly as mains charging. I prefer it to the in-case types as, once again, you have to take your protective case off to use them. Ooh! I nearly forgot.. I also have a periscope lens that lets you shoot around corners! I haven’t had a chance to use it properly yet though :/
‘Raindrops on Grass’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/Helga/Pistil + Macro
Where do you envisage your mobile photography passion will take you? Have you been involved with exhibitions etc? Please elaborate if you can.
I’ve no idea where it will take me. But that’s part of the fun 🙂 So far, being a part of this wonderful online community has enabled me to meet many of it’s members in person and forge several lasting friendships, so I hope to be able to do a lot more of that in the future.
I have been lucky enough to be selected to exhibit in several exhibitions across America and Europe including IPA’s LAMAF extravaganza and the CS Gallery in Ohio. Closer to home, I was recently asked to join the Sussex Arts Collective and exhibited at their Christmas show ‘Good Tidings’ at the Hop Gallery in Lewes. I also attended a series of craft fairs throughout last year, selling my pics as either framed or mounted prints and a range of greetings cards that i make myself.
‘Scotney Castle’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/Jane/Robusta
Do you edit images on your mobile devices or do you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer?
Everything is shot and processed on my phone. I occasionally use my ipad if i want to use an app that’s not available on the phone. I never edit on my computer but do store all my pics on it and print them from there.
‘Spike’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/Helg/Blanko + macro
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?
In a word.. No. It doesn’t interest me at all. I did manage to film my daughter riding her bike for the first time. Does that count? I’ll check out your movies group though in case in inspires me to branch out 🙂
‘Still life with Orange’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic, Glaze, Scratchcam, Image Blender, Mextures
Where do you see the future of mobile photography?
I think it will continue to go from strength to strength. It’s just starting to be taken seriously as an art form. As much as the nay-sayers and critics may complain, I think it’s inevitable. The main disadvantage that I can see is that it has an ‘anyone can do it’ reputation. They then become dismissive of it without understanding the amount of work and artistry that goes in to it.
‘Taking Flight’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic, Anticrop, Scratchcam, Image Blender, Filterstorm
What do you think is the most popular area of mobile photography?
Unfortunately, it’s probably Instagram breakfasts! The unique quality that mobile photography has over other methods is it’s immediacy. So I’d say the most popular type is probably street photography.
‘The Artist’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic/Loftus/AOBW
Do you think it’s country specific, are some nations more clued up?
It’s suspect it’s only country specific as far as technology allows. Wherever there is a healthy smartphone market, there will be a photo community. Most of the people i know are either in America or Europe.
‘One Man and His Dog’ – ©Fiona Christian
If you could select a specification for a mobile smartphone, what features would you select, photographically speaking?
I’m not very technical so really don’t have much of a clue. It would have a decent zoom on it for sure. Maybe interchangeable built in lenses if were talking dreamphone 🙂 An easier way of deleting pics from the camera roll, a bigger memory and a battery that lasts longer would be nice too. I wouldn’t want to see the camera get too complicated. I love the simplicity of it and the ease of use.
‘Tawny Owl’ – ©Fiona Christian – Hipstamatic, Repix, Glaze, Image Blender, FaceTune, ScratchCam
What do you think of Joanne and theappwhisperer.com?
I am in awe of Joanne! How she manages to create such a fabulous site as theappwhisperer.com and keep it regularly updated with so many diverse and informative articles is a mystery. I only wish I had more time to spend perusing it’s corridors. Every visit is a joy!