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Playing With Photo Apps

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This is a photograph I took for a client. It was a straightforward shot taken with my Canon 5D Mark II.

The unusual pose inspired me to pull the photo into my iPhone and jazz it up with a photo app. The apps are getting more sophisticated as time goes on, making it easy for anyone who has a smart phone to create interesting images.

I am enjoying exploring these apps, but they also make me realize how important it is to know what you’re doing as a photographer. I appreciate an impeccably executed no frills photograph even more in this day and age of what I call “click and oooh”.

 

Photojournalists Using Instagram

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Benjamin Lowy's iPhone image of the destruction of Superstorm Sandy. © Benjamin Lowy/reportage by Getty Images

Benjamin Lowy’s iPhone image of the destruction of Superstorm Sandy. © Benjamin Lowy/reportage by Getty Images

There’s a trend forming. Photojournalists are now using Instagram and their smart phones to report everything from deadly storms to war to professional sports.

This brings up many questions. Photojournalism has long been about integrity, honesty and clarity. Will the one-click editing filters and ability to manipulate the images make them less believable? Is our world so hungry for quick information that we are willing to sacrifice quality? Is the job of a photojournalist becoming extinct?

There’s an intriguing article in American Photo Magazine about this situation. It’s worth the read. Benjamin Lowy, one of the photojournalists I curated into my exhibit “Wide Angle View” at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in 2011, uses an iPhone. He is giving a talk at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles on April 18, 2012. I am going and am very interested in what he has to say about the drastic changes in visual reporting.

Our world is speeding faster than ever. We need to keep up, but at what cost? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Having Fun With Instagram

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The Things We Do For Beauty – Instagram Photo

I got my first iPhone 4s a few days ago. I don’t know which I love more, my iPhone or my camera. I find myself reaching for the dang contraption before my eyes even focus in the morning.

One of the things I am having fun exploring is the free Instagram app. If you are not familiar with Instagram, it’s like Twitter for people who think in pictures. You can take a photo and easily click your way to cool effects. Feeling retro? Try the 1977 effect. Want to go B&W? Click on Inkwell. All washed up? Use Toaster.

The selective focusing option is my favorite. You can choose to have a strip or circle shape, and manipulate how much of the image will be sharp, and what will be blurred. Just use your fingers to on the phone screen to pull the size of the circle or strip larger or smaller. In the self-portrait above, I decided to make fun of myself as I was getting my hair colored and sitting under a dryer. I used the Early bird effect and a circular selective focus on my face. Notice how my hair becomes more blurred as it moves away from my face.

Strand Beach – Instagram Photo, Inkwell effect and strip selective focus

The last step in your creation is to write a caption and upload it to the Instagram sharing site. It will automatically post to your other social media sites if you set up your accounts to allow it. You can like and comment on your friend’s photos and build a following, just like Twitter.

Be prepared to get hooked on Instagram because it is so quick and easy to do. If you are standing in line at the coffee shop, make an Instagram. Filling up your gas tank, take an Instagram. It’s an Insta-boredom cure.

The House Above The Harbor – Instagram Photo, Kelvin effect

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