Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Will It Go Round In Circles?

My friend Jennifer Bracewell has just asked how to make circle-shaped images so I thought I'd put together a quick tutorial. Amazingly for me, we're going to use just two apps ( I know, please don't faint!)

First, you'll need a square-cropped photograph. I've recently become addicted to Instagram and this has led me to take a lot of square-format photographs with apps such as Hipstamatic, Format 126 and Lomora 2. For this tutorial, I'm going to be working with such a photograph, that has already been through the processing mill, so you'll need to imagine its rectangulariness!

So, first we're going to import this ahem, imaginary rectangular photograph into a cropping app. There are lots that do this but my weapon of choice is still Photogene

After importing our photograph, it will open in this screen...

Choose the scissor (crop) icon and select 1:1
Grab one if the little corner dots and pull out to enlarge the cropping area. Move the highlighted square around to determine the precise area of the crop.

When you're happy with the crop, select the tick button at the bottom left hand corner of the screen

In the DONE window, save your cropped photograph.

Next, Import the square format photo into Tiffen's PhotoFX

Select LENS FX from the menu at the bottom of the screen

Select VIGNETTE...

Here, I've selected BLACK CIRCLE from the Vignette menu...

Photo FX automatically presents a preview of the photo vignetted with a 50 percent blurred edge: pretty, but not quite the desired effect. Moving the SOFTNESS slider to the far left gives the the hard-edged look we're after...

Of course, because I like to play, I can't resist trying another option, so let's hit the UNDO button(bottom far left) to return to the VIGNETTE menu. Select WHITE CIRCLE...

I'm thinking frosty-edged Christmas cards here!
Here's how it looks with a harder edge:

There you go Jen, Have fun!
And here are two more versions of this image, recently posted to my Flickr stream...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 7, 2011

iPhoneography at the London Apple Store

The London iPhoneography Group have invited me to be a guest presenter at an event taking place this Saturday evening, at the Apple Store, Regent Street, London. We'll each be giving a short presentation of our work and talking about some of our creative processes. If you're in the area, pop in and say "hello"!

What: iPhoneography, with Alvaro Arrequi, Nettie Edwards, Matt Brock, Daniel Holland, Robson Santos, Andrew Chapman, Gordon Fraser and Kevin Thornhill

When: Saturday 12th November @ 3.00 PM

Where: The Apple Store, Regent Street, London

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saturday Night Diva (Aldgate East)

Shot iPhone 3GS, processed iPhone/iPad

I met this gorgeous young woman on the platform at Aldgate East tube station. She and her friend were on their way to a friend's party, and they were finishing applying their glittery make-up as they waited for their train. They looked so fabulous and were having so much fun, I had to ask if I could take a couple of photographs. There was hardly any time and I was in such a rush to get on my train, so sadly, I forgot to ask her name, but she did say I could post her photo on my blog.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Collages & Contests

iPhone 3GS/iPad collage

iPhone 3GS/iPad collage

iPhone 3GS/iPad collage

Over the past five years, I've had many reasons for giving thought to how family relationships impact upon our Mental Health and I'm now creating a body of work that explores this subject. Each image contains at least one copy of a single self portrait and although some of the issues explored may be autobiographical, there are layers of meaning and each viewer will bring their personal narratives to the table. For instance: Rules Of Engagement 03 has provoked discussion not only about sibling rivalry, but also of self-harm. All feedback most welcome!

Last week, photographer David Rann invited me to visit Fotofilia: his fine gallery space and photographic studio in Birmingham (England) where I made a presentation to one of his groups: The Club. Considering David's loathing of the overuse of sepia in modern photography, he was a gracious host and he's even asked me to give a repeat performance and run a workshop at some time in the near future. Not everyone was instantly won over to the notion of Mobile Photography but I understand that quite a few of them (Including David) have since been spending lots of pocket money in the App Store, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Talented iPhoneographer Dan Berman is running an exciting new competition: The Mobile Photography Awards, and I'm thrilled to be head of the panel judging Digital Art and Collage. There are 15 categories and some great prizes that include an opportunity to be featured in terrestrial and online exhibitions. Almost two years ago, when I first began creating collages on my iPhone, I couldn't find anyone else who was making them, so eventually, I began a Flickr group in the hope that it would attract like-minded souls. I was the only member for several months and we're still a small group, but there are now many more artists creating stunning Collages and Montages with their Mobile Devices, so I'm sure that the judging process will be a tough one. The closing date for entries is 30th November 2011 and there are entry fees but I must stress that this is a not-for-profit venture: monies raised are to cover the costs of promoting and staging exhibitions. This is a wonderful initiative that Dan hopes will further raise the profile of Mobile Photography and Art, so do please check out the competition site.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Strange Meeting

iPhone/iPad collage

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cut and Paste: Rules of Engagement


iPad collage

During my last French holiday, I managed to get to a couple of village brocantes where I could indulge myself in my obsession for ferreting through dusty boxes in search of abandoned photographs and paper ephemera. Over the next few weeks, I'll be digitalising my latest finds, along with paper treasures gifted to me by two generous paper swap partners: April in California, USA, and Beth in Kwazulu-natal, South Africa. So once more, my mind has turned to cutting and pasting. Working with "live media" informs the digital process, refreshing my memory about such things as how layered papers cast shadows upon each other or how tape and glue discolour over time. Digitally recreating the look of such work is always an absorbing challenge, especially on the iPhone and iPad where no single app can do all the work possible in Photoshop. If, like me, you use several apps to process an image, you might be interested in a new one named PhotoAppLink that's being developed to simplify the process. As yet, the number of apps that support it is limited, but let's hope that other developers will come on board when they see the benefit to users.

Exhibition News!

Light Impressions at Studio B, Alys Beach, Florida (June 10 - July 10, 2011) featured an impressive wall of 40 iPads displaying my work alongside that of 39 iPhoneographer friends from around the world. The Stylectrical exhibit at the MKG Hamburg (Museum of Arts and Crafts) (26th Aug. 2011 - 15th Jan. 2012) showcases the work of international mobile artists and includes a collaboration between myself and another friend: Finger Painting maestro Matthew Watkins.


iPad mash with Matthew Watkins

Whilst on the subject of Finger Painting: if you live in the Birmingham (UK) area, do came and join me on Saturday 29th October at the Midland Centre For The Arts (MAC), Cannon Hill, Birmingham, where, as part of the Mac's BIG DRAW celebrations, I'll be Resident Artist for the day. There's a Life Drawing session with model between 11- 1 and I'll be in the foyer for the rest of the day, demonstrating drawing and painting apps and sharing tips with anyone who cares to drop by and say hello. All levels of experience will be welcome at the Life Drawing session. For those who have always fancied having a go, but are not sure where to begin, this will be a relaxed introduction to drawing and painting with mobile devices. Those of you who already finger paint will have an opportunity to spend a couple of hours drawing and sharing techniques with other mobile artists.

Further details of the Life Drawing Session and booking information can be found here

Please remember to bring a stylus. If you don't already have one, do consider investing: Here's a useful guide. The Pogo Sketch doesn't get a great review, but it's the one I use and recommend to beginners.

Hope to see you there!


iPad collage/finger painting

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

St Malo Summer

St Malo Summer
Shot iPhone 3GS processed iPad

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" fast became the motto of our recent French holiday as, following just one morning of glorious, cloudless sunshine, the weather went decidedly "English" on us: although you might well enquire what else we should have expected, given that we had only travelled to the other side of the Channel. Thundering rain and high tides pounding against a sea defence wall may not be the best of conditions for sun bathing, but they do provide some dramatic photo-opportunities. So, undeterred, we zipped up our pak-a-macs and set out to brave the elements. Dodging 18-foot high waves turned out to be lots of fun and for our acts of daring-do, we were rewarded with some rather atmospheric shots.

A little of the texture in the above image was created with a new iPhone app that I've been playing with: TtV Studio Pro. It features a set of five preset filters that emulate Through the Viewfinder photography. The presets can be modified with sliders but, in my opinion, the app could be improved if it were possible to modify viewfinder frames and grunge by means of separate sliders: possibly an update feature for the developers to consider?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, August 19, 2011

French Leave

St Malo Gothic
Shot iPhone 3GS, processed iPad

Can it really have been as long ago as May when I last posted on my blog? Things have got to change around here! To get the ball rolling, here are two iPhone images from my recent holiday in St Malo, France. The one above was mostly processed with Snapseed. The one below began with a Hipstamatic shot. Both have been processed on my iPad 2 but with apps that are available for both iPhone and iPad.

Water Gate, St Malo
Shot iPhone 3GS, processed iPad

While I'm here, I'd like to welcome new followers to my blog and wave to old friends. Back soon, with lots of news, I promise!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, May 29, 2011



Shot iPhone 3GS, processed iPhone and iPad

Finally, we have had some rain. Not enough to top-up the pond, but enough to kiss the leaves and petals of grateful roses. We have planted one over our dear little cat, who finally slipped away, early one morning, a few weeks ago. She's buried under the beautiful Elder, next to my studio, so I can keep an eye on her and she'll always be close, which is just how she would have liked it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Still Living




Shot iPhone 3GS, processed iPad
Museum In The Park: Stratford Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire



Shot and processed iPhone 3GS
Doncaster Museum, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Objects displayed in museum cabinets or tableaux, still and silent.
Returning home, I contemplate other possibilities...

Friday, May 13, 2011










These images are a selection from an on-going series
of explorations.
Flower Of Montparnasse: photographic montage incorporating page from 1930s hairdressing manual and flowers on a grave in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris. All other images: Loyasse Cemetery, Lyon.
Shot iPhone 3GS. Processed iPhone 3GS and iPad 1

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

iPhone Tutorial 02: Little Fishy Collages


iPhone 3GS collage

Power-users beware! What follows is a very simple introduction to the art of creating collages with an iPhone. In this tutorial I'm going to demonstrate how to:
1. Create an interesting background with just one click of an app
2. Extract an element from a photograph and collage it onto another
3. Work with blur to blend two photographs together

First, a word about "kit": I spent a year making iPhone collages before a very kind friend gave me a stylus. As I'd taken about the same amount of time using a track pad to make digital collages and scrapbook layouts before I got around to buying a graphics tablet, I'm pretty nifty and precise with my index finger tip, but a stylus certainly makes tasks such as erasing large areas from photographs (which you do a lot of when making iPhone collages) much easier and you don't strain your hand and arm quite so much. there are several models on the market now and everyone has their favourite but I'm still using my Pogo Sketch. we go!

The image above began life as the following two photographs shot at my local aquarium supplies store...

These were "fast and dirty" shots: there are some odd colours, noise, blur, and a couple of undesirable elements but that's fine, we're going to work with them "as is" without any correction. Feel free to download them for use as you walk through the tutorial but please remember that they are for this purpose only and that the originals or work made with them still retain my copyright.

These are the apps we'll be playing with...

STEP1. TINY PLANETS: create an abstract background

Import the skull into the app, hit the Tiny Planet icon at the bottom of the screen, left hand side and...


Our skull comes out of the blender looking like a piece of modern sculpture.
So what does the Tiny Tube button do? Try it!

Marvelous! We're going to work with this second version so save it to camera roll.

STEP 2. JUXTAPOSER: Extract fish from photograph and collage onto the background created with Tiny Planets

Following the on-screen prompts, import both photographs into Juxtaposer. Your screen should look like something like this:

Now Select Erase. The icon at the top right hand side of the screen, next to the undo icon, is the brush modification button. We're going to erase a large portion of the photograph so to begin with, choose a largish, opaque, hard brush...

Use Pan & zoom to get closer in...

As you get closer to the fish's body, make the brush smaller, softer and more transparent to give the fish a soft edge that will blend into the background.

You may wish to use the Move Top Image tool to move the fish into the blue area where it's easier to distinguish her from the background.

If you nibble in too far, you can always select the Unerase tool and paint some of the photograph back into the image.

Once you're satisfied with the fish, reposition and re-size her. at this point, it's also a good idea to save the fish as a "Stamp", in case you want to use it again: to find this option, select the icon in the top left hand corner > Save > Save masked top image as stamp.
Whilst in this menu, select Save Image: this will merge fish and background, and save to camera roll. Here's a close up of the little fish in her final position:

Good work! However, I am picky and despite using a soft brush to extract fishy from her original background, she still looks just a little too hard-edged and "stuck on" for my liking. So on to...

STEP 3. BLUR FX: add blur

Select Gaussian blur and use the slider to modify the strength of the effect.

By switching the mask on and off, you can see how much of the blur you're removing or applying...

...and what the effect looks like. In this instance, we're using the CLEAN brush to erase almost all of the blur effect, just leaving a soft edge at the back of the fish to blend her with the background and give a sense of movement...

As in Juxtaposer, the brushes in Blur FX can be modified for work in smaller areas and tight corners.

When you have erased most of the red mask from around and inside the fish, turn off the mask to check how it looks. If you've gone to far with the cleaning job, you can always select the BLUR tool and brush the effect back to the image where required.

Just to remind you, here's what the final collage looks like...

I am in love with this intrepid little fish. Here's a companion piece created with the Tiny Planets mash of the skull...


Finally, here's a collage created using just BLUR FX and JUXTAPOSER...

iPhone 3GS collage

I hope you've found this tutorial useful and fun. I'd love to see your collage creations so please do share links!