In the last post I described how summer’s heat changes my creative routine. The point was not to complain, or to display macho heat-tolerance (or lack of it), but to set up this post about one of the things I’ve recently begun to do during the parts of the day the clay studio isn’t habitable: taking pictures with my iPhone.
It’s not just taking pictures, it’s also editing. There are an astounding number of apps designed to edit and alter images on smartphones. They won’t make you Ansel Adams, but it’s very good fun. You can adjust photos to correct the exposure or the contrast, the hue and the average white balance. You can add borders, crop, flip, and scale. You can render your images from color to B&W, then add the red back into a rose; you can curl your photo into a Fibonacci spiral, a mandala, a word mosaic, a kaleidoscopic image, or a blend of all of these things — and that’s just a small fraction of the choices available. One of the more popular types of edits converts your clear, color-precise modern digital image into a facsimile of a faded, scratched, yellowing instamatic snapshot from any decade of film-dependent family vacation memories. Another app re-interprets your photograph into a comic-book style pen and ink rendering, with or without color, or parts of the original photographic image embedded where you want it.
You can twist and filter, edit and tweak to your heart’s content, all in the palm of your hand. Then you can email your efforts to your friends and family, or post them on your website. You can also share them with a world-wide community of other fanatics, professionals and addicts of photography called Instagram (currently only available to iPhone users). It’s an interactive social network like Twitter, but instead of verbal messages like “I’m at the store should I buy apples or pears?” your phone hosts a 24/7 stream of images, from Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, the US, the UK, Australia, anywhere there are iPhones and their handlers communicating with the internet. Inevitably, some of the images on Instagram (IG) are the pictorial equivalents of the grocery-store Twitter post, but an enormous number of creative and visually-articulate people are using IG, including professional photographers as well as fervent, obsessed amateurs interpreting and recording the world around them digitally. Some are contributing traditional photo-journalistic images, some are journalling the mundane events of their lives to share with friends, others are producing highly imaginative abstract graphics, and of course, everything in between. Predictably, there are cats. Lots of photos of cats. Literally, hundreds of thousands of photos of cats.
>> A “Toonpaint” rendering of a photo of our cat, Hector, yawning on the bedspread.
The grid-images above are three random screenshots of my own Instagram photo-stream, some of the images I’ve taken, edited, and uploaded from my camera/phone. Click on each of the larger photo grids to see the thumbnails a little better.
If you have an iPhone, you can find me on Instagram as @Cranky Owlet — drop by and take a look, and be sure to say Hi. (All images Allison Shock)