Creative inspiration is everywhere! Sometimes you just have to look down to see it.
I’m at it again, trudging the pavement, finding inspiration in the most unlikely places, this time under my feet in the sand filled cracks on Weymouth’s esplanade during my daily walk this week.
The damp weather had pressed the sand blown from the beach into the cracks on the ground creating these wonderful expressive lines suggestive of primitive art…
I captured all kinds of creatures and characters with my iPhone from opera singers to judo players. I gave them titles so you can enjoy them too…. The photos have not been edited (except two, one where I removed a distracting corner of a bin and a second where I removed my feet).
Can you give me a title for the very last image in this gallery?
I’ve left the last one blank and I’d love to hear your ideas for titles.
I have some plans to take these even further artistically…I will keep you posted.
Next time you’re out for a walk, pay attention to the ground…you might find yourself on an unexpected journey and new inspiration for your art!
Looking forward to hearing your ideas for a title for the last image below!
It’s your turn. Can you think of a title for this photo? Please let me know in the comments below.
A few weeks ago I asked you to send your Pandemic Pavement pictures to iPhoneography Central. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to the gallery, I’ve credited each you with your photos…oh- and I’ve included a few of my own.
Since the pandemic, the pavements have been sprayed, chalked, stencilled, stickered, glued and painted creating a new dance of shapes, lines, marks and textures on our streets.
As well as the interesting visual interplay of these new street graphics with the textured and patterned surfaces they cover and the shadows that fall upon them, it’s interesting to see how, the Covid 19 safety messages are being communicated to citizens around the world, often injecting a bit of humour and emotion to help get the message across.
Thanks to all of you who sent your Pavement images in. Enjoy the Gallery!
These temporary graphics look great against the different background textures and patterns of the streets and when the sun shines, yet another shape layer is introduced as shadows fall across them.
Below are a few samples from iPC readers from around the world.
I can’t resist photographing lettering when I am out and about, and love to incorporate these “text-photos” into my digital art like the image “Boys Room” and “Getting the colour back #1” below.
I have a huge Text and lettering folder on my iPad library which houses all kinds of lettering both printed and handwritten.
I incorporated this original sign (below) shot with my iPhone into the image beneath it.
I particularly love hand-written or carved signs which always possess a unique character not just the lettering itself but the old surfaces they find themselves on…usually locally sourced!
These charming signs are great to look at in their own right but I also love to take them one step further juxtaposing letters, graffiti and words to form new meanings.
Try shooting text in your local area.
The great thing about photographing signs, particularly hand-written signs is that every sign you capture is going to be unique down to the location, the person or people who created it and the local materials it is created from.
It’s also a great way to explore your local area or wherever you happen to be and it’s very easy to capture sharp and vibrant photos on today’s smartphones.
You’ll want to capture all the lovely textures in your signs so below are a few tips on shooting signage to get you started.
Tips on shooting lettering and signage
Getting a sharp image
When you take the photo, you want to capture as much detail as possible so tap on your iPhone screen so tap and focus on the part of the phone screen where the lettering part of the image is or a high contrasting part of the image to ensure the result is nice and sharp. Use the focus reticle on the iPhone screen.
Shoot in the open shade
Bright cloudy days tend to be the best for shooting lettering. Try to shoot your signs and lettering in the open shade or wait for a cloud to come over so you get nice evenly distributed light.
Shooting in direct sunlight
Direct sunlight can cast distracting shadows over your lettering however if you have carved letters or letters in relief, you can use the harsh shadows to your advantage. The shadows will give more definition to your letters.
Incorporating text into your digital images
If you want to incorporate text into your work, there are a couple of ways you can do this:
Use an app Procreate (shown below) or Superimpose X to blend your text with other layers using blend modes like Screen or Difference.
Isolate the text, by cutting the background out using the selection and masking tools in either Superimpose or Procreate
I hope you’ll find time to shoot some signs and lettering this week and find ways to incorporate them into your own work using the tips I’ve shared above.
Submit your text images to be featured! I’d love to see your text images posted in our iPhoneographyCentral Flickr group where I’ll picking a few images for our special text edition of Apps Uncovered in the next few weeks.
I’m giving away this beautifully crafted Apple Wood Pen (worth $50) created by pen-turning artist Darrell Eisner of scotianpens.com and I’ll also include an original signed sketch on paper by me! (Nicki FitzGerald) sketched with the fountain pen version of this pen. (Yes, I own one of these gorgeous pens).
If you want to jump straight to the Pen & Sketch competition scroll further down the page but if you have a moment, you might like to read the next little bit on how I use “real” drawings and marks in my images.
Using drawings in my work
Writing, drawing and painting with real pens, brushes and paper are just as important to me as creating work digitally with my iPad or iPhone and I’ll often mix the two; taking photos of drawings or paintings with my iPhone and using my iPad to blend them with other digital images like the examples shown below.
In this image you can see part of the drawing of a chair from my sketch book edging in from the right.
In the image below, I blended an iPhone photo of some drawings I photographed on the walls of a music college in London.
Any energetic kind of mark-making or writing is potential collage material for me. I’ll often use parts of my shopping list or other notes I find around the home or on my travels.
This square image combines photographs, (made transparent or cut out with the selection tool in Procreate or Superimpose X apps) of notes found around my home with textures shot near the harbour where I live. All the photos in my images are shot with an iPhone.
Hand drawn and written elements have a wonderful energy to them. I’ll always have mark making tools around and if they are beautifully made too…that’s got to be a bonus!
…so, here’s your chance to get hold of this gorgeous writing or drawing pen, the Apple Wood Big Ben… and even if you don’t use pens much, this is going to look lovely in your pen box or would make a beautiful present for someone special.
WIN an artist-turned pen and original sketch.
Nova Scotian, Pen turning artist, Darrell Eisner, from scotianpens.com has generously donated this rather beautiful Acadian Apple Wood Ball point pen crafted from the Apple Wood of Nova Scotia. Below you can see the very tree it was crafted from. That is so cool!
…and since paper is so nice with a pen, I’ll also send this signed sketch of a chair I drew a few weeks ago during the Armchair Art Adventures course launch.
About the chair sketch…
I happened to be in the middle of my launching the Armchair Art Adventures Course when I got a debilitating migraine. Digital screens were dumped in favour of the kinder paper and voila!….this chair emerged drawn with the fountain pen version of this pen!
For a chance to win the pen & sketch…
It’s easy! All you’ll need to do is follow the 2 instructions below.
How do I enter?
You need to be a subscriber of iPhoneographyCentral’s newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/bIjEyb
Email me at nicki@iPhoneographyCentral.com with the email subject header: Pen & Chair Sketch
DEADLINE Thursday 23 July 2020 EST midnight.
The WINNER will be picked out at random and announced on Saturday 25 July 2020.
***Winners must be subscribed to the iPhoneographyCentral newsletter to be legible for the prize.***
Incorporating random effects into your mobile art workflow.
Something I’ve been asked a lot is how I create the textured backgrounds that usually form the basis or foundation of most of my iPhone and iPad art work.
Actually, there’s no single approach that I use to create my work, however I do explain my usual or most often used approaches in my creative classes usually combining a photograph of some texture with paint applied in Procreate as you can see in the example below.
But the truth is I never stop exploring different ways of creating these “starter” backgrounds…and to complicate things further, I will often weave one of these ready-mades* in to my image at any stage in the process, including right at the end.
As well as the regular approach described above I also love to use different apps that produce random effects also known as happy accidents.
If you’re sceptical about happy accidents, may I offer some words from artist Francis Bacon…
“All painting is an accident. But it’s also not an accident, because one must select what part of the accident one chooses to preserve.”
Glitch Apps like Filterstack which I use to generate these images take me to creative places I could only dream of.
…and some more wise words from Mr Bacon…
“In my case all painting… is an accident. I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I don’t in fact know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things which are very much better than I could make it do.”
Glitch effects have been gaining popularity in the the visual arts for some time and they’re great fun for kickstarting mobile art creativity.
If you’d like to read more about Glitch effect apps and how they can be used in photography, art and video, you might like to read the Glitch series I wrote for Smartphone photography magazine Mobiography.
The third article I’ve written for a 3-part Glitch apps series for Mobiography magazine has just been published. These fully illustrated articles explore 3 different Glitch apps in depth and how I incorporate these apps and “appy accidents.” into my workflow.
ready-mades* are disregarded or unfinished images (pictured left) that have never been printed or published but find new life when woven into a new piece of art.
After 10+ years of shooting Long Exposure on an iPhone, I’ve finally gathered all the best bits to share the incredible magic of shooting with this expressive technique, unique to smartphone photography – The new course “Painting with Light” launches today Thurs 3 June.
Welcome to the online course directory which I’ll be adding to as new courses are launched! You can enjoy each course for at least 2 months and get your money back if you’re not satisfied so come on over and take a look by clicking on any of “START NOW” buttons at the end of each listing.
Sign up today and you’ll get instant lifetime access to . . .
13 substantial multi-video tutorials (over 58 brand new videos in all!), each built upon an exciting artistic piece and enhanced with a variety of extensions and projects … and throughout exploring dozens of new techniques and approaches to creating art with iColorama.
A slick bonus tutorial by Nicki Fitz-Gerald covering a whole other category of collage techniques and typography in iColorama.
A very cool bonus tutorial by Susan Tuttle in which she shares her three favorite approaches to crafting elegant monochrome images in iColorama.
An awesome bonus “Urban Brush” library crafted by Nicki Fitz-Gerald expressly for this course! (Plus a special 20-minute bonus video showing you how to add them to your iColorama library and then put them to use.)
And to go along with the brushes, an equally awesome bonus “Urban Background” library you’ll be able to use as a leaping-off point in crafting exciting compositions of your own.
Access to the Private iColorama Creative Facebook Group, where you’ll be able to share your work, ask questions, enjoy feedback from Susan and Nicki, and drop in anytime you might wish to get inspired! (You’ll also get a chance to take part in a series of “Weekend Challenges” throughout 2019, where you’ll even be able to collaborate with other iColorama artists around the world!)
Click the button below to for prices and how to join iColorama Creative PLUS
Course description: Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry is for anyone who wants to really stretch their creativity using the iPhone. I really think it is very different from other courses on mobile photography and artistry because I have included a lot of video demonstrations of how the development of the ideas and techniques evolve. I think it’s a nice mix of creative inspiration, practical techniques and execution of a final piece of work leaning strongly toward the more painterly, abstract and collage style of iPhone imagery so, lots of advanced info about blending layers, masking and compositing etc. Basically, a lot of the skills I’ve learned through years of working with Photoshop transferred to iPhone apps.”
Here’s what’s covered in the course:
Seeing the process of creating artworks as a journey of discovery with an emphasis on playfulness, experimentation and spontaneity
Explore meaning and personal expression using themes to keep focussed
Painting with light: Using the camera with apps like Slow Shutter Cam to create beautiful impressionistic style painterly street scenes that evoke a strong mood and emotion
Learn advanced photo editing techniques like layering, masking, blending, recolouring techniques from a professional graphic artist with 20 years of photoshop experience
Discover how to create your own textures, inky brush marks and custom text and masterfully blend them with your own photos
Learning how to see: Show you how to find inspiration in the most ordinary places.
How to use colour, texture, line and form as a visual language
Click the button below to for prices and how to join the Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry.
Course description: iColorama Creative is a course for everyone who loves creating art or would like to start creating art on an iPhone or iPad. My fellow artist, photographer and several times author Susan Tuttle and I have been working on a series of tutorials using the incredible app iColorama, a course that not only gives you a thorough understanding of how to practically utilise the generous library of effects and tools in this app, but importantly, show you how to evolve your own unique creative style. If you are drawn to the more painterly styles of art, you can try out the painterly exercises and tutorials to really get to grips with iColorama’s incredible brushes to master your brush work or perhaps you’ve always wanted to create beautiful, rich textural collages using elements from different photos, then you’ll love the more advanced blending techniques. If all this sounds like the kind of work you’d like to start creating then please head on over to iColoramaCreative and join us!
Dutch journalist Geertje Algera exploring the Temple Bar area of Dublin.
“The gadgets at Mojocon are great fun and undoubtedly impressive tools for content creation but what is important about Mojocon is that it puts people and their stories at its centre.’’
I was thrilled to be invited back to Mojocon, this year to head up a photowalk and workshop with fellow iPhoneoographer Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan and I were both speakers at last year’s event and since then we have both been busy delivering talks and workshops on our home turfs and abroad. You can watch the videos from the workshop by clicking on the link further down the page.
It is no surprise that this year’s conference hosted at the impressive Aviva stadium was sold out! Mojocon (Mobile Journalism Conference) is the creation of RTE’s innovation lead Glen Mulcahy and is an incredibly stimulating and innovative conference aimed at content creators, photographers and journalists.
Everyone was so absorbed with content creation at Mojocon, we never noticed the Dalek invasion…until it was too late.
Last year was hugely exciting and this year the buzz returned with the same energy. Infact, this year was even better; not only was I able to do what I love doing; sharing the iPhone photography knowledge in a workshop and guided photowalk with fellow iPhoneographer Brendan Ó Sé but I was also much better prepared to take advantage of the huge amount of knowledge and networking opportunities on offer by preparing the sessions I wanted to visit well in advance and not staying up too late! – which is hard given the fantastic hospitality.
Dublin’s Temple Bar Area – photo courtesy Paul Moore
Outside Trinity College, awaiting more Mojoers. Brendan (left with balloon) actually took this photo but I took a photo of him and pasted it in using the App Superimpose.
The days leading up to the photowalk, I’d tweeted a few invitations, a little bit concerned that we’d only have a few turn up. A lot of the sessions run alongside each other which can make it really hard to choose between them – however, we needen’t have worried. Spaces started to fill up a long time before the start of our session and the room was pretty much full by the time Brendan and I took to the stage to introduce our plans for the afternoon.
You never know who you might meet in a dark alley in Dublin. Lucky for me it was these two fellow photowalkers Emma Meese and Sue Llewellyn for a silhouette session using lock focus and exposure.
Because the group was so large, Brendan headed off toward Grafton Street and another group followed me into the Temple Bar area – well – I say followed “me”, – if it hadn’t been for the help of local Irish men and fellow photographers and filmakers Paul Moore (@Mooro1) and Richard Donelan (IrishStartupTV) who knows where we would have ended up. – Thanks guys!
(Above) Just married – a pensive moment caught. It could be that she’s worried about the swarm of photographers surrounding her getaway VW (see below).
As it happened, we needen’t have worried about where we ended up. Our 60-plus, strong group of global photographers from various professional backgrounds including journalism, leisure and tourism, the arts and social media marketing had keen eyes for a good image and undoubtedly would have created memorable images in any location. You can see some of the winning entries here.
(Above) third place winning entry by @raphael_raue
After the photowalk Brendan and I delivered a workshop covering shooting and editing skills. You can see the all of the workshop videos I created for the event by clicking here or on the image below. Click on the graphic below to take you to video 1 on YouTube. You should see the rest of the videos listed to the right. Alternatively, subscribe to the iPC YouTube channel to see all of the videos.
We also had a competition for the best photos taken on the day with some great prizes from smartphone lens company Olloclip. You can see all the entries on Twitter tagged #mojocononthestreet. Our good friend Andy Butler, editor of Mobiography along with Steve Mutterin of Olloclip had the unenviable task of selecting the winning entries. See the winning entries on Mobiography here.
Mojocon is a brilliant resource for not just mobile photographers, but anyone who is creating, publishing and broadcasting stories – which just about means all of us. At Mojocon you get the whole deal, storytelling, gadgets, techniques, inspiration, creativity and collaboration from the people who are pushing boundaries and doing this stuff everyday in their workplace. However what runs through the Mojocon story is the desire to keep it’s feet on the ground and not let the “shiny stuff” detract from our responsibility as image makers, storytellers and content creators. Unfortunately I missed Sue Llewlyn’s session on this hugely important subject; of responsibility and ethics particularly in relation to live streaming, but heard that it was excellent and will keep a look out for the video and post it here once it’s published.
Once again I returned from Mojocon tired and excited about the possibilities. Over the past year, I’ve begun making films on my iPhone and have learned so much from some of the speakers here especially RTE journalist Philip Bromwell. I had been studying Philips work online and reading his helpful articles before I had the pleasure of meeting him at Mojocon and then subsequently being interviewed with him. You can see the full video below. Our interview starts about 6 minutes in.
And these meetings are exactly the kind of wonderful experiences and conversations that take place at Mojocon which is a big part of what makes it so special. At Mojocon, there are a distinct lack of egos – everyone wants to know something and everyone has something to give. It was also interesting to catch up with Dan Rubin again and fellow photographers and storytellers on the photography panel. I particularly enjoyed meeting Phoebe (@Paloma Parrot) in the Riverboat restaurant whose work I hadn’t known before but she happens to be a serious instagrammer with a huge amount of follwers. Her work is gorgeous, bright and playful and definitely worth checking out. You can read more observations on the photography panel on Mobiography review here.
Quiet time at Mojocon
Finally, one has to marvel at Mojocon creator Glen Mulcahy – who I know will already be planning Mojocon3 – Glen, as always was this incredible streak of energy and passion running (literally) throughout the event – and at Mojocon2, he proved his legendary status by recovering beautifully from an energetic trip and dive behind the podium, rising swiftly with a wonderful anecdote about Meatloaf who had also fallen on stage and managed to carry on singing whilst on the floor. I’d like to say that my cunning photography skills had anticipated the moment but actually at the time of Glen’s dive, I was taking a snapshot of speakers on the backdrop – a lucky moment caught! (see below)
Mojo creator Glen Mulcahy takes a dive but recovers in great style
Glen also had the support of his amazing team and not forgetting all the technical staff. Did I read it right that there are only 4 other people that help Glen with the organisation? From the moment I was met at the airport from the moment I was dropped off, and all of the transport to and from various venues, everything was spot on; the food was delicious – the Irish stew being a particular favourite – and the hotel excellent! The hospitality was in true Irish spirit, extremely warm and generous and – of course I just love that Dublin accent.
Dining out on our first night on the restaurant boat on the River Liffey – the light was beautiful.
On our first night, we were warmly welcomed within the impressive Georgian walls of the University of Notre Dame. I met a wonderful local woman, who happened to be a classical singer and on telling her how much I loved the Dublin accent, she told me how the accent has been described as one that carries within it a warm hug – and that’s pretty much how I felt after leaving the global community for the second time in Mojocon, Dublin.
All mojoed-out (left to right) ;Brendan Ó Sé, Me, SirCam and Andy Butler.
There is no doubt that Mojocon is an incredible place to exchange knowledge and where innovative content creation collaboration projects are born – but, it’s the passion of the speakers and the hands-on approach of Glen Mulcahay and his team, delievered with a huge helping of Irish spirit and generosity that make this sell-out conference, content creation event of the year; an event that puts people and their stories at it’s centre! – If this is your bag – then book your tickets early for 2017!
Sign up to the iPC newsletter to be one of the first to hear about Mojocon 2017 ticket sales.
Below is the unedited presentation (including text & slide images) that I gave at the Mojo conference in Dublin, Ireland entitled “Photography –The Language of our Generation.”
(Above) First iPhone photo I was really pleased with.
…and after that nothing was safe from my camera lens. I took photos obsessively went on and on and on and on and on and on, playing with apps and experimenting. I felt a new creative freedom I hadn’t felt in a long time.
My Camera Roll, first quarter 2015.
It’ll be no surprise to you that Photography is everywhere – it’s the language of our generation. We see it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Snapchat: as a way of sharing our experience. Photography is the currency of our experience.
Look at my new baby, my new puppy, my new tattoo, my baked beans on toast, myself, my selfie, myself, look at me, me, me and on and on and on.
A visual cacophony of our experiences shouting at us from the social network sites if we choose to spend time there – which it seems most of us do.
Amongst the infinite sea of images are the mobile photographers, artists and creative people with regular day jobs and the mobile device has given them a creative outlet that they might not have exorcised without it. These instagrammers, Tweeters and Flickrers, have been taking mobile photography to the next level in wanting to give more meaning to the digital image creating the most amazing images and stunning art:
IPHONE ART EXAMPLES:
People are asking whether social networks and mobile photography are killing photography –
I don’t think so – infact….
There has been a renewed interest in traditional photographic and print processess
So the future is looking good for mobile photography, art and film making. With the rapid technological advances on mobile devices and a hungry, creative community of mobile photographers and artists eager to push the devices and the software to the limits, I believe the best is yet to come.
Concerns about our future – a lost generation?
If I had any concerns about the future of photography, it would be the concern of accessibility to our photographs in years to come. It is possible now to admire the pioneers of photography and their photographs taken 200 years ago because they their prints are on paper, but what of our photos on hard drives, on portable pen drives, on CDs or in the Cloud?
Ironically, It is possible that , we, the most photographed generation will have no pictures in 10 years. We need to properly store and archive our pictures for accessibility in the future so we don’t end up being the LOST generation so this means printing our pictures out and/or making sure that when we are no more here that there is method of giving people access to our online storage.
I hope I’veleft you in no doubt that photography is the new language of our generation
With the the rise of our insatiable appetite for the visual experience and the desire to express ourselves through the medium of photgraphyfrom the instagrammer taking photos of her breakfast to those of us where communication plays a important role in our jobs, we need to grasp this language in order to engage with our audiences effectively using the tools available, the devices and the apps to create better images giving them the meaning we intended.
So, given that we only have 10 mins on the floor, here’s my super-super, quick guide on how to create a better photo; better tell your story followed by a short video of how I created the cover photo for my book “Flamin’ Amy”.
Consider your subject
What is your subject? Consider these horses below. You’d be right in thinking they were “the subject” of this photo but, could this photo be about anything else?…..
…you could also argue that the subject in this photo above could be companionship. There are always at least 2 meanings in a photograph.
Use natural light wherever you can to create the photo you want. Shoot into the sun to get great dramatic silhouettes. Bring your subject to a window and use the available light to great, natural portraits. Work the light you have around you in any situation.
Use colour to better tell your story…
And finally…here are the steps to how I created the image below using 3 apps. The final editing process is shown in a video at the bottom of this page.