Anthony Vitale is an iPhoneographer from the Big Apple. One of the best playgrounds for any art form. Anthony uses this to his full advantage in his work. Not only is Anthony a great iPhoneographer but is awesome in describing his viewpoint of a piece in the comment section of others.
Without further ado Gobble Monster in his own words…
iPhoneogenic: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?
Anthony Vitale: My name is Anthony Vitale, but I think most people who know me on Flickr know me as Gobble Monster, a name playfully coined while telling stories with my son. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but I now live and teach in the suburbs of New York City. My first love in the arts is literature, particularly modern poetry, but aside from that I also enjoy music, film, and a good 1-0 baseball game.
iP: How did you get into iPhoneography?
AV: A little more than a year ago I was using a couple of Canon digital cameras and posting to Flickr when I noticed photos taken with ShakeItPhoto. I really like the Polaroid look, so I started using that app and I began to follow the iPhoneography groups on Flickr where I found so many people doing inspiring work. At about the same time I became friendly with three great iPhoneographers, Matt Burrows, Jon Betts, and Dominique Jost, and they encouraged me to experiment further with the iPhone. Their support and having the iPhone with me everywhere made it fun to practice and soon enough my Canon gear was collecting dust and the iPhone became my only camera.
iP: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?
AV: I don’t think that there was a single “aha!” moment, but after I used Photogene and ShakeItPhoto to create “red cloak” I just decided to leave my other cameras at home. Going through the process to create that photo convinced me that these are the tools I for me. I found myself in this new creative playground and the more I experimented, the more I wanted to be a part of it. I have many “wow” moments when looking at other peoples’ photos. Whenever I might feel a “wow” moment with a picture of my own, though, it usually only lasts until I feel challenged shooting and processing the next one.
iP: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
AV: iPhoneography urges me to be more mindful of the world around me and to notice the little things I might otherwise overlook. With the iPhone I am always ready to record and process a photograph in a way that a traditional camera never allowed me to be. The iPhone’s simple controls and not having to consider f-stops, shutter speeds or having the right lens removes a lot of barriers so when composing and shooting I can just be in that moment with the subject. Later, when I am evaluating or processing photos, it has the opposite effect. It can be very engrossing to sit and work with an image. But I enjoy the dual tasks – the shot and the edit – equally for the creative opportunities and challenges.
iP: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?
AV: I’ve always been interested in photography, but no, nothing formal beyond looking at a lot of books, photo blogs, and my contacts’ photos on Flickr. I tried film photography in college – mostly shooting my friends skateboarding – but the expense of film was discouraging. Working with the iPhone and having infinite opportunities for trial and error showed me that there is no substitute for just shooting, shooting, shooting, listening to feedback with an open mind, and then going out and shooting some more. I’m learning with each image and I hope I always will.
(Mutually Assured Destruction)
iP: What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
AV: I am definitely in the middle of a typical American suburb, which is not special in itself, but I also have the benefit of being a short distance from the city. In the same amount of time I can easily be in open nature or in Manhattan with all it has to offer. I like that my location straddles both environments.
iP: Who or what are your artistic influences?
AV: My eye tends to be drawn to ordinary objects, and haiku and the modernist and imagist poets are influences that guide that interest. I’ve always thought that photography and haiku are similar because they both record one’s place frozen in time. Because the iPhone has no controls to think about, it lessens the separation between the subject and myself and allows for a moment of clarity like in the lines of a haiku where there is an observation, an action, and a reaction or realization. I also find inspiration in William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” and Ezra Pound’s statement, “the natural object is always the adequate symbol” because they remind me to consider what an image of an object might communicate. As for photographers, I enjoy the work of Robert Frank, Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and recently, thanks to Matt Burrows, William Eggleston.
(Study Red Grey)
iP: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
AV: The limitations are pretty well known by anyone who has used the iPhone, but I found that they could be advantages, too. The performance of the 3GS reminded me to be extra-still and to take my time shooting. The fixed focal length was a great teacher of composition because it forced me to move around, try different angles, and to get close to the subject.
iP: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
AV: Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I started sharing my work, but I did hope it would find a supportive audience. “‘55 Nomad” was in an iPhoneography and the Automobile group show in Milan this year. Oddly, my photo of a schoolyard chalk drawing, “playground love,” was used in an Australian Education Department report. A few photos made Flickr Explore, which is always a nice surprise. Most recently, Foto*GR*iPhone featured “no turns/wait your turn” as a photo of the day, which was an honor.
iP: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
AV: My work has been called minimalist and I am proud of that since I do strive for a degree of simplicity and directness in my compositions and treatment of subjects. I tend to shoot rather common subjects and it’s a good feeling to be told that I’ve made something appear less ordinary or more interesting because of the way I presented it. It means the image succeeded on some level. I always appreciate feedback and enjoy the relationships that form from the interaction.
iP: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? What apps do you currently use the most often?
AV: I have a pretty simple workflow and most of my images only go through a couple of processing steps. The apps I use most often are Photogene, ShakeItPhoto, CrossProcess, CameraKit, CameraBag, and Tilt Shift Generator. I really like the touch exposure feature in Camera+. I occasionally use Mill Colour, Hipstamatic, BlurFX, and Vint B&W, too. I just downloaded PictureShow and I’m looking forward to using it. I’ve been told that I don’t have that many apps, but sometimes it feels like I have too many.
(what Does Your Soul Look Like?)
iP: What other thoughts would you like to share?
AV: Thank you, Edgar, for including me on iPhoneogenic. I enjoy reading these interviews and I look forward to the ones to follow. I would also like to thank the iPhoneographers who have befriended me and continue to inspire me with their amazing work. There is such respect and generosity shared between so many people who are literally spread out over the world and I consider myself lucky to be connected with so many creative people.
For more on Anthony check out these links:
Flickr: Anthony Vitale
EYE’EM: Anthony Vitale
All images shown here are copyrighted property of Anthony Vitale, please contact Anthony for copyright privileges.
© 2010 iPhoneogenic