Create a colourful abstract plus feature on the artist Bharat Darji

Featured Artist Bharat Darji 

Bharat Darji is a UK based iphoneographer living in York. Bharat’s amazing creative iPhoneography work caught my eye on Flickr a few months ago. I love his mark-making and the way he pushes the iphone apps in different directions, consistently creating some of the most creative iphone art images I’ve seen. He also hosts the iPhone editing challenge on Flickr where Flickr members are given the same image to edit and come up with some amazing results. At the end of this article Bharat has revealed the editing process leading up to the creation of "Digital Sweets". Anyway, over to Bharat……


1) Please tell us a little about yourself, your background, your influences.

I live in a beautiful small(ish) city in the North of England called York – I have been here most of my adult life and I love it.

I’ve been into art from as far back as I can remember and at university I studied Fine Arts (painting and sculpting). I had a very blinkered view on art for a long time and had my first real exposure to photography when I started working for a local photography gallery after graduating. However at the time photography was really at the periphery (and was for years) – I ended up getting myself a career in web design/development  (this is what I do now).



I think I am influenced by everything I am exposed to – images, words, thoughts, experiences. There are all the artists that I’ve studiedover the years (Pollock, DeKooning, Kiefer, Tapies, Twombly + many, many others!) – subliminally or otherwise they are always there in my work. Sometimes when I look back over my sketchbooks I think ‘that’s so similar to how my iPhone images look now’. Travel, music and architecture are a big influence too. (I also create music on my iPhone/iPad)

…and I mustn’t forget the iPhone community – there are so many really, really good ‘iphoneographers’ there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t see something and think ‘sh*t, not sure why I bother’. It’s really exciting seeing what other people are doing and learning from looking.


2) How did you first get started in iphoneography?

I purchased my first iPhone about a year ago and within a few months I started playing with the apps and looking at what other people were doing – I was in awe and hooked. Finally I had my own portable studio that I can lose myself in anywhere 🙂


3) What drives your iphoneography and how do you approach a new work (plan it? just do it etc)?

I have a need to be creative, if I’m not looking at art then I need to create it – I get very agitated with things otherwise. I have dozens of sketchbooks, paintings, half-completed sculptures, art materials scattered all over my house. In fact I’ve become a bit of a hoarder, when I was studying, lack of money meant I used to scavenge skips etc. for paints, materials etc. thinking that one day I’ll be able to use them. Painting will always be my primary love – there’s nothing like the tactile feeling of applying paint on something and seeing how it behaves and reacts with it’s background (physically and visually). My main influences are the abstract expressionists but I just really love all sorts of art and design (painting, time-based, sculpture, architecture, textiles etc. etc.). With the different sorts of apps they allow me to metaphorically apply these ‘layers’ of ‘effects’ – it’s the same analogy – a buzz from throwing something and seeing what happens. I like to work fast and intuitively, trying different effects out to it’s extreme, I really don’t know what the end piece will look like when I start something – it’s just a reaction of the starting point (usually a photo), environment (I love coffee shops, trains, waiting lounges), how I feel and the iPhone. This ‘excavating’ for keepable accidents makes the work interesting for me. In fact the end result means very little to me relatively – it’s all about the process/journey. I think the art is in controlling the chaos knowing what to keep – I’m still trying to find my own language/voice but I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with the ‘ending’ therefore I’ll continue to be driven to experiment and create (I hope).


4) What are your top favourite or most used apps?

iTunes tells me I have downloaded 479 photography apps…ha! Did I mention I was a hoarder? 🙂

Well to be honest there are only a few that I use constantly:

Camera+ and sometimes Darkroom and Hipstamatic for taking photos.

Filterstorm, Iris and PhotoForge 2 are my primary apps. Each has it’s nuance but I think they cover everything I need to do when I create something. I’m not a big fan of ‘one-touch effects’ – for me it’s just too limiting and makes my images look too similar.

There are a few other apps I use for patterns, textures and various other specific tasks – Retouch, GeniusScan, BlurFx, TiltShiftGen, Stripecam, Percolator, Decim8, Labelbox, ArtStudio.

Every now and then I try something different out but I invariably always go back to these core ones.



5) What is your opinion on the iphone art and photography movement globally? 

I absolutely love the way it is shaping what photography and art is and as technology improves I think mobile photography will stand on it’s own (if it isn’t already). It’s great that establish artists and journalists are using the iPhone in their daily lives (David Hockney, Damon Winter, David Guttenfelder) and I think with time and as the phone makes things more accessible to a wider audience some really great stuff will come out of it 🙂


Please add anything else you wish.

I think I’ve babbled a bit too much :p but just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to you!




You can see more of Bharat’s work on his Flickr group here. 


Tutorial "Digital Sweets"

Apps used: Iris Photo Suite, PhotoForge, FilterStorm, StripeCam.


This is the original photo/start off point (believe it or not!)

I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do with such a bad photo but I wanted to try something in any case.





1. I thought this would end up some kind of landscape, so the first thing I needed to do is remove all 

recognisable things, so I ran it through BlurFX and applied the median blur – it’s pretty much at the

max level, but I wasn’t too fussed – it was the shapes I was looking for.







2. The next thing I did was open up in Iris Photo Suite, rotate into a landscape and randomly applied about 5 or 6 

different Filter Fx at various strengths (the blockiness is the posterise effect). It was starting to look like 

some kind of hill/landscape which was my original thought on what this image might be.







3. I saved it and opened it up in PhotoForge2 – I wasn’t really happy with the dullness so again I just

randomly applied various different fx and adjusted the colour levels. I also added a random cloud/sky

photo as a layer which caused the pinky areas of the picture. Sometimes I duplicated the layers and 

alter the blending modes to get weird accidental artefacts. The main blocky effect here is the 

impressionist fx.

I decided to crop it to a square at this stage too. At this stage I am still not happy how this is going but I persevered anyway.






4. I decided I need to apply something over the top (perhaps some buidlings?) – so I just created a striped 

square in StripeCam and cut a very small square from it. I also put this through a mosaic effect and 

enlarged in Iris so it was very  clean and reduced.

This was then added as a layer over the image, resized and the blending and opacity changed (I went

through all of them before settling on difference).

I duplicated this striped box, moved it around, resized and changed opacity several times until I got 

something like this:





5. I decided to rotate the image and wanted to really contrast the foreground with the background – I wasn’t

happy with the background so I applied a gaussian blur and zoomed in until most of different colour was

gone. Finally I felt that I was getting somewhere and I was nearing the end. So the pace changed and I

started thinking the effects in my head. (until now I was literally just trying anything out)

I decided that the striped squares still looked too sharp so I played around with the arrangement, opacity

and decided to apply the median blur with a slight vintage 3d effect to all the squares to ‘smooth’ them out.

(still in Photoforge2)






6. I saved and open the image up in Filterstorm where I applied subtle colour and curve adjustments 

until I felt the image looked harmonised and ‘zingy’ enough.


Finished – I uploaded it before I started to tinker with it too much and ‘overkill’ it.


Looking at it afterwards I wished I’d removed more of the background gradients so it was practically the 

cyan colour sall over – but too late 🙂









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