We are delighted to bring you the twenty third in our brand new Mobile Art and Photography that has Influenced Me series of interviews at TheAppWhisperer. Within this series, we contact well established and highly regarded mobile photographers and artists and ask them a sequence of questions. Each one relates to mobile art and photography that has inveigled and continues to impact them, by other mobile artists throughout the world. Our twenty third interview is with Meri Walker from the United States, enjoy!
In this interview, Walker cites work by: Brendun Edwards, Natali Prosvetova, Kaaren Malcolm, Annie Helmsworth, Brett Chenoweth, Clint Cline, Carolyn Hall Young, Barbara Braman, Nettie Edwards, Damien DeSouza, Teresa Lunt, Trish Geyer, Karen Divine, Lee Atwell, Nicki FitzGerald and Pat Brown.
(foreword by Joanne Carter)
“It is a difficult task to pick out mobile photography¯artwork that matters to me because there’s just too much that matters a great deal to me. I put off this task for weeks, at last sitting down on Thanksgiving to honor Joanne’s invitation, thank all these artists and bring them to your attention if you don’t already know their work.
My earliest memories of seeing mobile art were of a couple of images by Natali Prosvetova and Karen Divine. I don’t remember them specifically or I’d dig them up. What I do remember is that they were beautifully nuanced composites. It stopped me dead in my tracks seeing they were made by women using their iPhones. In 2009. My entire life changed afterwards. At this point, the folks below are artists whose continued commitment to mobile image making deeply nourishes and supports my own”.
The Image That Is Currently In The Forefront Of My Mind
Brendun Edwards (@bredun_e)
The sheer number of mobile images I view every day now has changed the way I see in ways I don’t fully comprehend. However, because I was trained as a traditional b&w photographer, it’s still my home base. Brendun Edwards’ (@bredun_e) IG images stick with me for weeks – no, years. If you don’t already follow him, he’s got a powerful eye.
The image that changed my life
Natali Prosvetova, Kaaren Malcolm, and Annie Helmsworth each changed my life in a different way as their were sharing their iPhone images in 2009-10. That’s when I wandered into our Mobile Madhatter’s Tea Party, mouth-agape. The fact that these women were able to communicate their complex human experience using images made on their iPhones set my curiosity on fire like nothing had since I picked up my first traditional camera.
Natali posting from the Soviet Union, Kaaren from Australia, and Annie from rural Alaska showed me ways to play, discover and remain vulnerable while sharing powerful images with honesty. Their courage ripped me clean out of my previous notions of what counted as “serious” photography and digital art. Then, behind the image-conversation, Kaaren and Annie also showed me how to make friends with people who it might take me years to meet in person and let them take up residence in my heart from all the way around the world.
Artwork That Has Influenced My Art
My first venture into ‘sharing’ my iPhone images was back in the day when EyeEm was a place for artists to connect using their images (not, like today, where it’s turned into a “marketplace”). I had been working all by myself with my phone and learning what I could about new apps by reading on my computer. When I joined EE and met Brett Chenoweth and Clint Cline and a bevy of other digital friends, they showed me – how truly far out of the traditional photography box I might reach, using my iPhone, and how I could join in “conversation” using images.
Brett is both a photographer and a painter and the ways he combines photographic and hand-drawn elements – in his iPhone – unleashed me from Photoshop on the desktop forever! Â Clint’s continual creative experimentation and his leadership of learning games in EyeEm (“Clint Cline Made Me Do It”) opened the door for so many of us to join in a social learning process for me that, to this day, nourishes me more deeply than any formal education I’ve received.
Soon after I started sharing art in Facebook groups, I met the inimitable Carolyn Hall Young as a small group of us stumbled into iColorama and began to help Teresita Alonso Garitz test and develop some of the earliest tools. Carolyn was a fearless, relentless, generous artist and a truly funny human being. Her artwork still floors me. My memories of phone conversations with her working out tech issues – and issues of the human heart – remain a rich well of inspiration for me as a “mature” artist who “got serious” early on about mobile art-making and helping other mature artists make sense of working mobile. I miss her every day.
The Image That Is The Most Underrated
Barbara Braman (@bee_dobbs)
Living and making art on Cape Cod for many years now – using every conceivable type of mobile device since the first iPhone – Barbara Braman is a quiet, gentle woman who is also a fine teacher. She rarely, if ever, blows her own horn so her work is not as widely known as it deserves to be. I love her recent big-color iPad abstracts like this one. I want to see them printed huge – on billboards.
The image that changed my mind
Nettie Edwards (lumilyon.wordpress.com), Damien DeSouza (@remintrusions)
Trained by some masters of b&w photography, I operated for decades under the assumption that photographs needed to contain a full range of grey tones and as much detail as it was possible to capture. So, I went into iPhone photography working hard to make up for the camera lens’ lack of options and early poor resolution. When I first ran across Nettie Edwards’ iPhone work in Flickr, I struggled mightily with my preconceptions and slowly began to give them up. Nettie uses mobile devices and editing processes to generate such powerful feeling and a deep sense of the mystery of vision that I keep studying and studying and studying, hoping to learn my way out of old ideas that are just that, ideas. They’re not truth. Having an iPhone handy all the time has totally changed my idea of what a photograph is…and what makes it a “good”. That’s Nettie’s fault. And I’m so grateful for her disruption.
The other big mind-changer for me has been Damien De Souza. @remintrusions on IG. Damien’s use of mobile editing tools tools to create self-portraits that reveal so many layers of human emotion – and his courage to share these images – has brought my personal work into a realm that I never imagined I would even attempt to travel. As a journalist, it was important for me to hide much of my personal feeling when making images – especially images that would be published and viewed by strangers.
Damien’s continual exploration of the wide range of human emotion with his self-portraits leaves me speechless. I say (and this is just me) that he’s an artist too shy to want the world to see him, but brave enough to want us to know who he is. And who we are, too.
The Most Recent Image That Made Me Sad
Clint Cline (@clixit2020)
There’s not enough I could say about Clint Cline’s mobile artwork. His full spectrum of exploration is legendary. Suffice it to say that these days, his abstracts often bring me to tears, making even the hardest things beautiful to behold.
The Most Recent Image That Made Me Smile
Teresa Lunt is a gem of a human being, a talented artist and a masterful tutor. A rare and wonderful combination! Images coming from Teresa’s prolific experimentation with drawing and painting on the iPad always make me smile. Her seemingly endless playfulness and generosity are impossible to comprehend and wonderful to behold. She has what I call ‘big courage’. In particular, this image of hers recently made me laugh aloud.
Trish Geyer is another prolific mobile artist whose work has given me so many smiles – in times dark and light – since we met a long time ago in EyeEm. I want so much to meet her just so I can thank Trish for all the smiles her artwork has given me. Smiles at her ironic sense of humor, her courage, her persistence, her seemingly endless talent. Her Frida Kahlo series has helped me relax into the process of living with chronic illness and pain with a lighter heart.
My Comfort Images
There’s not a b&w image that Lee Atwell has shared online that hasn’t made me draw in a fast breath. This self-portrait (along with another where she’s standing in the same coat) makes me draw in another and another and another breathe.. and then step right on out of whatever pissy mood I might be in. Lee’s images remind me that making photographs makes me feel better.
Nicki Fitz-Gerald’s sense of design and color has inspired me from the first images I saw of hers in Flickr – long before I learned that she was the heart of iPhoneography Central. This image is a recent one from her IG feed that makes me want to relax, laugh at everything in the world, and get out my Apple Pencil.
The Image I Would Most Like To Give As A Gift
Pat Brown (@patbrowngemini)
Pat Brown is a mature master photographer and printmaker who I had the privilege of introducing to mobile photography/art four years ago. After her initial resistance to the idea of trading a Deardorff for an iPhone, Pat jumped into mobile image-making with all the commitment, curiosity, and creativity that you might expect from a mature artist.She often blends mobile images into alternative photographic printing and collage processes with such grace and skill that the results make my teeth itch (my physical response to awe). On the other hand, Pat also makes simple, elegant mobile images like this one that I would treasure on the walls of my own home or be proud to gift to the most discerning photographic connoisseur.
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