iPhoneographer of the Day – Grey van der Meer

Grey’s work is a fantastic street/architectural approach in color. He is not afraid to incorporate the natural beauty of “The Concrete Jungle” or “The Big Smoke” into the final image. I first came across this talent a number of months ago on the iPhoneography forum where he explains a workflow tutorial he had done. This has given me the idea to incorporate this feature into future interviews. What better way to kick this off than to have the man himself do a workflow for us here.  

Now Grey’s Interview…

(Brick Road: New York)

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Toronto, Canada.  I live in an area of the city that was formerly a textile-manufacturing hub at the turn of the last century, full of buildings that were rezoned back in the ’80s for mixed-use development.  It’s a place that has attracted creative types who live and work in entertainment and design.

Q: How did you get into iPhoneography? 

A:  It was roughly a year ago.  I had been shooting scenes around the city with my Canon DSLR for a while and I remember finding really cool retro Polaroids on Flickr that people were taking with iPhones.  Through Flickr, I discovered a community of iPhonegraphers that began to grow considerably after the release of the iPhone 3GS with its upgraded camera and increasingly sophisticated editing apps.  I began using the iPhone camera just to practice and refine my street photography compositions, but I found that street photography is actually much more convenient with an iPhone.  You can get closer to people without drawing attention to yourself and disturbing the scene — not so easy to do when you’re carrying a huge DSLR and lenses around.

Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?

A: No.  I learned to use my DSLR and Adobe Lightroom by reading manuals and online tutorials. I’ve definitely been able to leverage that technical experience for the purposes of iPhoneography.

(Cutlass: Toronto)

Q:What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
A:  Toronto is a vast, diverse city of vibrant neighborhoods that experiences four distinct seasons, so it provides endless photo opportunities.  It’s also a very walkable city, which helps.  I’ve lived here for years and there are still areas where I am essentially a tourist, which I think provides an interesting perspective for photography.

Q: Who or what are your artistic influences?
A:  I became interested in photography while following local photoblogs like blursurfing and Sam Javanrouh’s daily dose of imagery which I came to know through my interest in architecture and urbanism.

Q: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
A:  Durability, for one.  I’ve worn out the camera’s autofocus mechanism and now it struggles to focus and makes the entire OS very unstable while the camera is in operation; the phone will often crash while I’m taking photos.  I’ll eventually get it fixed, but I’m having fun with the blurry results for now.  Here’s an example of the glitch in action:

(Cyclist: Toronto)

Another big challenge is working with the camera output.  With a RAW image and Lightroom or Photoshop, I have an extensive range of tools for recovery and adjustments available to me all in one place.  Working with iPhone images is a lot more limited.  It’s cumbersome using four or five different apps to accomplish a simple task.   Even basic file organization is a challenge in iOS 4.  The editing process can be very time-consuming.
Q: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? Which one do you currently use the most often?
A: My app list is constantly changing and I tend to mix a lot of apps while processing photos.  I’ve been using Camera+ for taking photos lately.  My favourite apps for processing are CrossProcess by Nick Campbell, TiltShiftGen by Takayuki Fukatsu, and Iris Photo Suite.  Here’s a complete list of other apps that I’ve used at some point:  PS Mobile, CameraBag, TiltShiftGen, Format126, ShakeItPhoto, PerfectlyClr, TrueHDR, AutoStitch, VintB&W, Photogene, PictureShow, ToyCamera, Photo fx, Cool fx, Snapture, QuadCamera, Lo-Mob, and PhotoForge. 

(SoHo Synagogue: New York)

Q: One of my favorite photos of your is “57th street Sunset.” Do you mind telling us how this was created from start to finish?
A: Certainly.  The post production process for this photo was actually much quicker than the one I covered in this tutorial. In fact, all of the editing was done using just two apps (Camera+ and CrossProcess).

Step 1:  Here’s the original image taken using the Snapture app.
Step 2:  I import the image into the Camera+ app and apply the ‘Fashion’ effect.
Step 3:  The Fashion effect has great tones, but it darkens the image a lot, so I also use the ‘Flash’ scene setting in Camera+, which brightens the image and actually adds some contrast as well.  I save the edited photo as a new image. (I like the editing tools in this app because they appear to be non-destructive — no image data is lost when you apply filters within the app.)
Step 4:  Now I open the new file in the CrossProcess app and apply the green filter with no border.  This gives the photo a slightly green-tinted film effect with a vignette.

And that’s the final image!

This process was a little unusual because it didn’t involve any sliders.  Camera+ doesn’t allow you to adjust any of its effects or scene settings, but in this case, I was satisfied with the colour saturation and light levels that the filters gave me.  This is rare.  Normally, I’ll bring the photo into an adjustment app with sliders (Mill Colour, Photogene, PhotoForge, or Iris) a number of times for small adjustments to work around this kind of inflexibility.

Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?

A: Thanks a lot for having me on iPhoneogenic, Edgar!  This is a great blog and I really appreciate being included among other talented iPhoneographers.

For more on Grey check out these links:

Flickr: GreyvdM

EYE’EM: GreyvdM


Thank you Grey for participating in this feature here on iPhoneogenic.tumblr.com and the iPhoneogenic Facebook Page. I am honored to have you on my blog.

Thank You!

All images shown here are copyrighted property of Grey van der Meer, please contact Grey for copyright privileges.

© 2010 iPhoneogenic

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