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Brought to Light – Mobile Photography/Art Interview with Robi Gallardo

Robi Gallardo’s photography shows an instinctive grasp of narrative and metaphor. Each image carefully composed and produced to accentuate the images in his head.  His restless vision and relentless curiosity is conclusive evidence of the important visual chronicler that we have before us. Gallardo’s photographs demonstrate an instinctively gifted individual pursuing his own creative journey with clarity and brilliance.

This is our new interview section for mobile photographers and mobile artists and we hope to be filling it very soon with vast explosions of thought and imagery. These questions are designed to explore the artist behind the work, to get to know them a little more intimately.

We recently published our first ‘Brought to Light’ Interview with Andrea Bigiarini, Founder of the New Era Museum and FIPA Florence International Photography Awards as well as writer, author, Imagineer and digital artist, if you missed that, please go here. We then went on to publish an instinctively gifted artist, Ile Mont, if you missed that please go here. Further we published our interview with Roger Guetta, please see here, Rad Drew, please go here to read that also Gianluca Ricoveri (please go here to read that one), Sean Hayes – please go here to read that one and most recently Petyr Campos – please go here to read that one.


Robi Gallardo

“I was born in Hong Kong in 1962 and live here with my wife and two children. I spent my high school years in Manila, the Philippines, then worked for a year or so before heading off to Paris to study Art History at the American University of Paris.  What a place to study art! What a place to live as a young person!

I worked with an interior design magazine as an editor, writer and desktop publisher and I’m presently the editor, desktop publisher (or whatever the term is these days), photographer and occasional writer for a weekly newspaper”.

©Robi Gallardo


Describe a moment that changed your life.

There are quite a few, but going to university in Paris is a definite biggie. Almost in an instant I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone. My horizons broadened. Even more amazing was seeing and experiencing, up close and personal, things I had hitherto only seen in books or movies.

I recall a particular moment, early on. My friends and I were walking down the Champs Elysees as we explored the city; it was late afternoon. We dashed across Place de la Concorde to the gates of the Tuilleries Gardens. We all turned at the same time to look at the Arc de Triomphe in the distance and in that instant twilight took hold and the street lights up and down the boulevard all came on. It was magical. The moveable feast was on and the people with whom I shared that experience have been friends ever since.

Describe a childhood photographic/art memory.

Using up all my dad’s oil paints on my various little painting projects as a little kid (all those butterfly images made by squeezing some paint into the crease of a folded a piece of paper, pressing together then opening it up to reveal, voilà! A butterfly!)

Being handed my first honest-to-god SLR by a professional photographer friend of my parents, along with two prime lenses and a basic light meter. I still have it in my possession.

‘Conference call’ – ©Robi Gallardo


Describe your mobile studio.

An iPhone 6 Plus crowded with apps. I’m pretty sure I have more photo apps than I actually useat least 70! My usual go to apps would be Snapseed, 645 Pro, Provoke, Mextures, iColorama, Distressed FX, ImagBlender and Hipstamatic. Oh, and the native iPhone camera app as well.

‘Dreams of the Mall’ – ©Robi Gallardo

What do you like to think about whilst creating images?

“What if I tried this…?” Tends to be the thought that runs through my mind. I will start with an image and experiment my way through various iterations until I feel I have something that works for me.

Sometimes I may glance at one or two (or three) of the photos I have on my phone and have an “ah ha!” moment and tell myself: “I could do something with these…”

What is the most unusual subject you have photographed/painted?

I’m not sure it counts as unusual, but very early on in my mobile photography/art journey I took a photo of a rough-cut stone in a granite retaining wall. I thought I might use it for texture somewhere down the line. However, a few days later and after couple of sessions with PhotoStudio and Diptic, this granite stone had morphed into… well I don’t know… but I called the resulting three pieces “Study in blue,” “Untitled,” and “Elementals”

‘Elementals’ – ©Robi Gallardo

What or who ignited your passion for mobile photography/art?

My sister, Cara Gallardo Weil and the Hipstamatic app.

Share one mobile photography/art tip.

I’ve found that, given the way I work on images, there’s always the risk of doing too much. Take a step back, when you return you might notice something you didn’t see before.

‘Flower Market, Chinese New Year’ ©Robi Gallardo

What are your favourite mobile photography accessories?

You know, I don’t think I have any.

“Triple Take’ – ©Robi Gallardo

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Humphrey Bogart?

Do you have a favourite app?

Snapseed for general work, Provoke and 645Pro, Dramatic B&W for black and white, Mextures and ImageBlender. I’m still getting to know iColorama.

‘Umbrellas at the Crossing’ – ©Robi Gallardo

Describe your dream mobile photography/art assignment.

A book of my work. That would be nice. Or my work as cover art for a book or music album.

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Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— 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 - 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]

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