The first ever mobile phone photography conference, 1197, was held last month. Richard Koci Hernandez, expert iPhoneographer, presented a workshop focusing on creating unique photographs using only iPhones and iPads. Following the conference, we caught up with Koci Hernandez to hear more about his work and the appeal of iPhoneography.
People are increasingly using their mobile phone as their primary camera. In fact the iPhone is the most used camera on photography site Flickr. iPhoneographers use apps like Hipstamatic that allow the user to square the photograph and apply filters to make the image look like it was taken with an antique film camera. Apps like Hipstamatic are part of a retro trend in photography that shows no signs of abating, with ‘accidental’ effects like chromatic aberration, vignetting and so on becoming aesthetically desirable.
The first conference dedicated to mobile photography, 1197 (the first camera phone photo was taken on June 11th 1997), was held in San Francisco last month; one day of workshops and lectures by leading iPhoneographers, enthusiasts and evangelists. Richard Koci Hernandez, an Emmy award winning visual journalist who worked as a photographer at the San Jose Mercury News for 15 years, presented a workshop at the conference alongside Dan Cristea. Koci Hernandez takes amazing black and white street photographs with an iPhone, using auto-post-production apps like Hipstamatic and Scratchcam.
You attended the 1197 conference a few weeks ago. How was it?
RKH: It was the Woodstock of mobile photography, exciting. I met some amazingly creative photographers who have inspired my own work. I learned so much; I’m still ‘high’ from the experience.
You presented a workshop alongside Dan Cristea. What were the key pieces of advice you tried to impart?
We wanted to share some tips and tricks about making better photographs with an iPhone. Our presentation was about potential and possibilities. Ultimately, we wanted to let people know that good images and storytelling are about moment, light and composition, filters are fine, but shouldn’t be the primary focus of your images.
Could you tell us about the inspirations for your work?
I’ve always been inspired by the masters of photography, Bresson, Klein, Winogrand, DeCarava and now Vivian Maier.
CREDIT: Richard Koci Hernandez
Do you have a personal favourite of your iPhone/hipstamatic photos?
A current favourite is the image of what seems to be a merged car and plane (above). I was sitting in the back seat of an airport shuttle van when I noticed a small sticker of a plane as part of the service’s logo, I thought it would be cool to just shoot a picture of the decal. As I started to shoot we entered a tunnel and a car pulled up alongside, I excitedly shot several images on my iPhone. I gasped out loud as I saw the image come together, the other passengers must have thought I was crazy.
What appeals to you especially about using the iPhone and hipstamatic?
The immediacy of it all is very appealing to me. As it is always with me, I can in two ‘clicks’ shoot an image then share it instantaneously. That’s crazy! It’s like having a printing press and an audience in my pocket.
On your Flickr stream you have some really interesting captions under your photos, quotes from Thoreau, Camus and so on. Where do you find them?
Google! Not to be glib, but seriously it’s that simple. Now picking the right quote for the image is another story, that can take a long time. Sometimes I look for up to an hour, looking at various sites for quotes, then all of a sudden one screams out as the perfect fit, copy, paste, done. I’ve been pretty lucky; I just seem to know when it’s the right quote to fit the intention of the image.
CREDIT: Richard Koci Hernandez
Do you have any insight into the retro trend in photography, the appetite for images that look like they were captured with obsolete analogue technology?
What’s old is new again as they say. I think it’s cultural. I think we are just trying to hold on to the past. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. The retro- analogue style feels familiar, like an old sweater. Technology is going so fast, it’s our way of paying homage and saying ‘Take that HDR!’
To see more of Richard Koci Hernandez’s work visit his Flickr stream here.
By Mark Wright (Assistant Editor)
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