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Mobile Photography – A Picture’s Worth with Jo Sullivan

A Picture’s Worth‘… is where we ask mobile photographers that have created powerful mobile photography/art to explain the processes they took. This includes their initial thoughts as to what they wanted to create, why they wanted to create it, how they created it, including all apps used and what they wanted to convey. We also ask these incredible artists to explain their emotions and how the image projects those feelings. We have published a few A Picture’s Worth articles recently, if you have missed those – please go here.

In this A Picture’s Worth today we asked Jo Sullivan to tell us more about her image ‘Self, Conscious’ one that we included in this weeks Flickr Group Showcase. Sullivan has detailed her thoughts below, you’ll find this hugely interesting…


‘Self, Conscious’ ©Jo Sullivan

“As a relatively new artist in the realm of iPhoneography, I’ve only recently gone from simply experimenting with apps to using them to create pieces of which I’m proud. Photography and the arts have intrigued me from a young age and I’ve dabbled in many mediums, but have always returned to the camera.  I built my first pinhole camera when in 4th grade, hijacking our tiny family bath as my dark room, so found this new movement using photography as its foundation one filled with opportunities for my artistic expression.

As a ‘synesthete’, I “see” sounds, texture, scents and spans of time in a way others do not and the ‘synesthesia’ informs every choice I make while re-working a photograph.  The piece, if I’m true to it, reveals itself as I work. I must often walk away, return when it feels absolutely necessary and continue feeling my way through. There is an actual physical “click” I experience when a piece is complete. I don’t always feel it and have shared work that, regretfully, still requires gestation.

This piece, “Self, Conscious”, began as a way to distract myself from a nasty virus I was suffering.  Late into the evening I took several photos of myself, looking horrid, and began searching for a way to express what was lurking under the swollen eyes, reddened nose and haggard expression. My insomniac’s brain was both figuratively and literally feverish and I felt compelled to create something that would relieve the creative tension.

I love iColorama, so went straight there and created a brightly textured abstract canvas. This I distorted, blended and mixed onto the portrait until I was content and felt I could leave it to burble around in my brain until the next step revealed itself.  

This next step came to me the following evening.  As one who enjoys the comfort of the night, I considered the Luna moth as a fitting representation of my affair with all that is caught with the cycle of the moon. I found a lovely vintage painting of a Luna on an image search and blended it onto the face using Superimpose. Again, all was still very brightly colored, quite glossy and quite unfinished.  I took the image back into iColorama and worked in both blend and mixer modes until the image was rougher and more textured.  Once that was accomplished I chose Stackables for depth, re-lighting and heavier textures. Stackables allows for self-created formulas and I have many.  However, I decided this piece required a new formula and felt, again, that both it and I needed to rest until it felt “right” which came the following evening.

After applying the new formula, I took the piece into Aviary to finish it off with some re-lighting and kept altering it until I felt the “click” allowing me to release her into the ether”.


Apps used with links






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: joanne@theappwhisperer.com

One Comment

  • R. F. Miller

    It may have taken over 50 years to be revealed the eyes, mind, heart and soul of Jo, but I am inspired, impressed and blessed to be able to share in the depth of her eyes, mind, heart and soul!