Apps Uncovered 13 February 2015: The World in Black & White

(Selected by Bob Weil)

This week’s Apps Uncovered takes the black and white photo as its theme. The wide variety of imagery posted this week makes for a full-bodied collection of top notch images, across the spectrum of genres. Connie Rosenthal’s beautiful and slightly disconcerting portrait in half-focus is the lead image for this week’s selection – who can look at that face and not be captivated? Other contributors include Nettie Edwards (Lumilyon), Julia Nathanson, Lee Atwell, William Deegan, Eltan Shavit. Cindy Buske, Tracy Mitchell Griggs, Angie Johnson, Natali Prosvetova, columnsovsleep, Mark Walton, Nicki Fitz-Gerald, Juta Jazz, Jennifer Henriksen, Shel Serkin and Luisón.

There’s something clean and elegant about black and white images – color does not confuse or intrude. It’s about lines, shapes and composition. If those don’t carry the day, no amount of rich color can take its place.

If you’d like to see your images in the running for selection to our weekly Apps Uncovered feature, be sure to list the apps you used to create your image when you upload it to the iPhoneographyCentral Flickr group. (And as an added bonus to other members who would love to learn from your successes, consider adding the “Backstory” describing the creative process that led you to capture and process the image as you did.


Elsa by Connie Gardner Rosenthal

Apps used: Taken with ProCamera, editing in LoMob with Tri-Black Film. I used a 5S and the iProLens Telephoto lens.

Backstory: ‘Elsa’ was shot in San Miguel de Allen while I was there for an iPhone workshop with Karen Divine. Elsa was one of the models we worked with on our location shoots. She was a wonderful model to work with; she was beautiful, expressive,knew how to play with the camera, and was really fun to work with.


Versailles by Lumilyon (Nettie Edwards)

Apps used: Hipstamatic with Tinto lens, several b&w films

Backstory: I spend a lot of time in gardens because they’re an important component of my creative practice. The gardens at the Palace of Versailles in France are a constant source of fascination and inspiration. During my latest trip there, in January, I became fascinated by The Hundred Steps Staircase (in fact, there are two matching staircases, each comprising 103 steps) The geometry of each staircase is such that from its foot, the view of the palace and gardens is entirely masked, presenting viewers with an unnerving, dream-like impression that that the stairs lead nowhere. Of course, this is no accident. Not one of the Palace’s audacious visual conceits is the product of chance: they were cunningly designed and constructed to magnify the already inflated ego of Louis XIV. When he stood at the top of this dark, monstrous, hulk-like structure, the self-styled Sun King, clad in Cloth of Gold, would resemble a shimmering god, totally in command of the heavens above him and awe-struck mortals beneath him.

The Sun didn’t put in an appearance during the three bitterly cold, wet, grey Winter days that I spent working on and around the Hundred Step Staircase, but that didn’t deter me. I found myself Inexplicably drawn to this structure, despite considering it to be incredibly ugly, I was captivated by it, I’d even dreamed of it. I wanted to try to express visually the impact it had made upon my imagination, so I needed to spend time in its presence, breath in its audacious bulk and cunning geometry.

I work a lot with the Hipstamatic lens preset Tinto, in combination with a number of the app’s Black and white films. I thought that they would help me to convey the strange, other-worldly character of the stairway. Tinto applies a blur to some areas of an image and the trick is to get the blurred and sharper areas placed exactly where you want them compositionally. It’s a kind of game I play with the app: can I get it right first time?

In this photograph, are we looking up the Staircase or down? Is the solitary figure at the top about to jump and fall or take flight? Or are we viewing him from above, after the fall?

don giovanni

don giovanni by Julia Nathanson

Apps used: Shot and edited with Oggl (lens: John S/ film: BlacKeys XF)

Backstory: This photo was taken in the architecturally stunning Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

untitled(appliance house study)

untitled (appliance house study) by william deegan

Apps used: Afterlight, Mextures, Union App

Backstory: The final image is a composite of two photographs. The base image was only used once in the process,a photo of low horizon light projecting through the ribbon windows of an office building. The projected light was naturally distorted along its path to the office wall, resulting in an organic diffused form.

That captured moment contained the essence of a “light drawing” depicting a luminous armor of a ghostlike architecture that was the seed of the process.

The second image, the rise and run of a splayed concrete entrance stair, was used as a collage element . The weight of the stair image allowed for an exploration of mass void in the compositing of the final drawing.

The process is a multi-layered drawing using photographs to study mass void relationships through a type of architectural sketching that utilizes mobile technology.

Wonderful Wintry sunny day to be a child out in the wild.

Wonderful Wintry sunny day to be a child out in the wild. by Eitan Shavit

Apps used: Shot taken using iPhone 4S, with Hipstamatic, John S / AO BW combination.

Backstory: It was such a wonderful Saturday. We don’t get much sun in January, so when the temperature hit 24c, there was no choice but to get out of the house and enjoy the weather.
We traveled up north to meet with friends and on the way stopped at a Cafe Trailer, located at the edge of an enormous field.

Cashew, my dog, and I jumped right into the field, and while he was chasing just about anything he could put his paws on, I was looking around, hoping to take some shots of cashew and the field. On the horizon, I saw these three kids running around, chasing butterflies, laughing, and was hoping they would come back close to me, so I could take some pictures of them. And they did. As they drew nearer, I took 4-5 shots of them as they were passing by, very aware of me taking their picture 🙂

The light was so harsh and right behind them, so the frame was nearly burnt, couldn’t recover the left boy’s face. After several useless edits with Snapseed, trying to save the picture from a complete burnout, I used one of AnalogFilm’s endless presets and managed to spread the light dynamically, mostly in the center of the frame, giving the field a wondrous light and nice face features for at least two of the boys.


Sadie’s Gothic by Cindy Buske

Apps used: Oggl, Mextures and the “Gotham” filter in Camera+.

Backstory: This image is part of a series called “Sadie’s Closet” – a whimsical set of staged pictures featuring clothing and other items of my fictional character, Sadie – all pinned to a handmade clothesline. The original photo for this image was taken using Oggl, then edited with multiple layers in Mextures and the “Gotham” filter in Camera+. The dress is a sheer vintage gown originally purchased for a photo shoot in Paris.


Untitle by Lee Atwell

Apps used: Hipstamatic app using Oggl with the Jane Lens and Blackeys Supergrain Film.

Backstory: This photo was taken in the late afternoon towards the direction of the setting sun. In the winter months, it is a favorite time of mine to take photos in Seattle as the low angle of the light contrasted with the shadows can create quite dramatic effects.


Untitled by Tracy Mitchell Griggs

Apps used: Diana, Monopix, Pixlromatic or PhotoToaster

Backstory: The abandoned barn in the image is one of two near my home that really resonate with me. I revisit both often to take photos. The original image was taken with ProCamera, adjusted in Snapseed, then converted to black and white in MonoPix. I am experimenting more with blended and layered looks, though I don’t possess much skill with with these techniques. I tried the Diana app purely as an experiment – it’s a fun app – two images can be taken with the camera and blended or two can be selected from the camera roll. The end result that you see here, was a happy “accident” 🙂 using Diana. The frame was added either in Pixlromatic, or PhotoToaster. Voila!


Lost Evenings by Angie Johnson

Apps used: Camera+, Noiseware, Mextures, Handy Photo, Stackables, Image Blender

Backstory: Evenings lost in photography are the best kinds

I went outside and gathered a few pieces of greenery, one clipping from three different trees. Feeling content with the choices, I came back inside. I chose the black backdrop and placed it on the floor. I arranged the tripod atop two boxes to get the height that I wanted. After securing the iPhone to the tripod, I tested the remote shutter. So far, all is in order. I sat down and placed the greenery in random places around my legs. I took several shots in various positions. Feeling as though I had something with which to work, I eagerly went to the comfy living room chair. Winford curled up beside me, as an old kitty would. He loves the body heat. The time passed. Several images were moved in and out of apps until I decided on this one. I was temporarily lost in the artful world of iphoneography this evening. Days like this are the best kinds.


Apart by Natali Prosvetova

Apps used: Native iPhone5s camera, Snapseed for adjustments, Oggl, Decim8, MonoVu

Backstory: This is a SelfPortrait. I always use the bluetooth Remote Shutter by AshutB for my SP. It’ easy to set up and easy to use!

Dorchester High Street, Dorset

Ann and Sally by Nicki Fitz-Gerald

Apps used: Shot with native Apple Camera on an iPhone 6. Processed with Snapseed and Leonardo.

Backstory: As I emerged from a high-street shop in Dorchester (UK), this was the scene that greeted me – I get that thumping in my heart where I have to take the picture – this is too good to ignore – I am first struck by the symmetry of the image and then the dress – what is that dress about? – why are they wearing those clothes? – the same clothes – exactly the same clothes? As I reach for my phone, I look around for some connection to a theatre group or anything that might help me understand what I am seeing but they are not with anyone else, simply dressed in this meticulous clothing, otherworldly, immersed in their own conversation. Initially I thought they might belong to the Salvation Army (a.k.a Sally Ann – hence the title), a Christian church and charity but the dress is different. I posted the photo on Facebook to see if anyone knew of these two and I did get some response that they were both nurses at the local hospital and possibly together at Plymouth university and remarkably, have been together every day since birth, school, uni and adults living together.- An intriguing story lies waiting to be told here.

I snapped this with my regular Apple iPhone Camera. The combination of the super speedy auto focus (Focus Pixels) is really quick now and the iPhone 6 works brilliantly in low light (a common challenge for us in the UK during winter). The original image was colour which made the scene look too busy. I wanted to draw attention to the women so in order to isolate them, I blurred the background and got rid of the colour. I did this by converting the image to black and white in Snapseed, then opened the image in Leonardo, duplicated it, blurred the bottom layer(image) and masked out the figures by painting with the masking tool. This process forced the background further away by blurring it. Changing it to black and white also added to the surprise of the image. One might think that this image was taken 60 years ago but taking a closer look you can see the shops are modern. I also did some sharpening and lighting of the lighter areas of the figures (hands, faces) to add some contrast to the figures and again, bring them forward from the background. (Oh – I should add, that it’s possible I turned the image to black and white in VSCOcam which has a beautiful range of subtle black and white tones – I favour the warmer greys) I also completed all the editing work on an iPad but all the apps are available for the iPhone as well).

Fulham Rd

Fulham Rd by Mark Walton1

Apps used: Camera+ and Perspective Correct.

Backstory: I was drawn to the leafless twigs in the widow box and the mirror-like depth of the reflection in the window. I use Perspective Correct a lot, it’s particularly useful when photographing something that you can’t take from the angle you would ideally like to. In this case the windowsill was slightly higher than I wanted.

holding the past

holding the past by juta jazz

Apps used: filmic pro, Procreate, monovu, decim8, PC touch, grunchHD

Backstory: This image was created for black & white challenge, so I was trying to keep at least monochrome color range. Inspiration was taken from my inner spiritual state of the moment.

A Matter of Conscience - Jennifer Henriksen

A Matter of Conscience by Jennifer Henriksen

Apps used: Hipstamatic and DXP

Backstory: I do a lot of these self portraits, and my favourite process is to use two photos taken with Hipstamatic (these ones I used Jane+Black keys) and then I use the DXP app to blend them into a double exposure.

Martina | Urban scene at the Vatican museums... Good morning! . IPhone 6 #Hipstamatic (#Jane + #BlacKeySupergrain) #Snapseed

Martina | Urban scene at the Vatican museums… Good morning by Luisón


Apps used: This pic was shot with my IPhone6, using Hipstamatic app (Jane lens + BlacKey SuperGrain film), I just used Snapseed to crop the frame (which is something I prefer to do, as I don´t like frames very much), and straighten the image a little bit.

Backstory: It was a couple of weeks ago, at the Vatican Museums, in Rome. My daughter Martina was looking out the window, and watching the view over Rome. Beside her there was this man. We were all three very close together. I liked what I had in front of my eyes, the man and my daughter beside him. It was a beautifully composed image. I already had my iphone and Hipstamatic on, ready to shoot anything that caught my eye, so I just had to pretend I was doing somethig else, and shot.


They mostly come out at night by columnsovsleep

Apps used: This was taken with iPhone 6 Plus’ native cam, then ran through Mextures with my original formula XPYYXPF

Backstory: This shot was taken in an abandoned schoolhouse in the middle of virtually Nowhere, Louisiana. My son and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check this place out.

Passengers XX

Passengers XX by Shel Serkin

Apps used: Ogle, SKRWT

Backstory: This year, the harsher-than-normal winter has taken its toll on all New Yorkers, above and below ground. I took this photo with oggl on an iPhone 5s, and did a little perspective fix with SKRWT.

Bob Weil

Bob is the co-author of The Art of iPhone Photography (with Nicki Fitz-Gerald), published by Rocky Nook photography books and supports Nicki in managing iPhoneography Central and the associated Flickr group.


  1. bill deegan said:

    Really beautiful collection of images, there are a few that I’d love to see in print! Congrats everyone and big thanks to Bob and team at IC!