I’ve never taken my iPhoneography seriously. Not that I am not serious about my art; just that I’ve never expected other people to consider it professional, or artistic, or intriguing, or one of the many adjectives they tend to use.
Initially, I thought that people are just amazed by what the iPhone can do — note the emphasis on the tool. But as people started getting more exposed to iPhoneography thanks to apps like Instagram and sites like LifeinLoFi, iPhoneography Central and, more recently, We Are Juxt, it was pretty evident that the iPhone was simply affording a platform for creativity to take flight.
People continued to appreciate my work, only now I could see that they weren’t necessarily expressing their admiration of the gadget or the apps … they were commenting on my technique, my vision, my transformation of blasé images into works of art. But, these were all “known” people — and what else were they going to say to my face? That what I call “art” really isn’t anything but a collection of app effects?
In recent weeks, on separate occasions, I’ve met two well-established, award-winning professional photographers — the kinds who have gazillions of lenses and heavy cameras and make a living out of clicking pictures and touching them up in Photoshop — who spent more than an hour perusing my iPhone art gallery.The most common words they used were, “wow,” ”amazing,” and “talent.” As humbling and gratifying as it is, it’s also a bit confusing when someone of their stature and accomplishments tells me how good I am at what I do. Confusing, because I don’t see myself as a volcano of talent in this field.
I haven’t learned photography or, for that matter, art. I don’t know the technicalities or the complexities of taking good pictures. A lot goes into the perfect shot — one needs to think about indoor and outdoor lighting, angles, shadows, whites, hues, backgrounds, foregrounds, textures, wind … not the least of which is composition. But with an iPhone I’ve never really done any of that. I just whip it out of my pocket and click. Really, that’s all there is to it.
I don’t know when I’m taking a shot what I’ll do with it. It’s only afterward, when I’m reviewing photos that I see in some, the “potential” to create something new. Then it’s just a matter of selecting apps to take me where I want. Sometimes, I don’t even pre-select which apps I’ll use; they open by an accidental finger swipe. And voila!
So, for people, and on top of that professional photographers, to say they’re “very, very impressed” leaves me wondering if there really is some “there there” within me. Is my work really that good? Or is it just that they haven’t been exposed to anything better? You know how everything artistic is subject to personal opinion and context.
More than $2,000 raised to provide 6,000 meals to children who are no longer going to be hungry this summer. And my iPhone art contributed to that!
Someone actually paid for an image I had created in my idle time … it’s one thing for a friend or fellow Instagrammer to comment on my work, quite another for an absolute stranger to pay cash.
Appreciation took a whole new meaning for me yesterday. So, did the word validation.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t acknowledge what people had been saying to me all along; it’s just that it was hard to believe that my work merited that kind of praise. This one e-mail made it real. The power of money, right?
I’m not fishing for compliments or more validation by way of this post. It just hit me that, while I may not be able to make a livelihood out of this passion of mine, it sure can help me save enough to buy a Lamborghini … some day.
The original post appears on WeAreJuxt.