An iPhoneographer who doesn’t need to rely on overapping her work.
I’ll just let “Jenni form the block” tell her story…
Edgar C: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?
Jenni Callard: I live about a mile from the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny little beach town on the East Coast of the US with my husband and three children. Since moving here a few years ago I’ve finally learned to surf on a long board and if I had it my way, that’s what I’d do most of the summer but since it’s a money-driven world I work as an RN in the local hospital. I’m also a musician and if can play a variety of instruments but my formal training is on the flute. I love funny t-shirts, reading, playing in the garden dirt, searching for sea glass along the beach and try to figure out how to make stuff out of random items I find on the beach or in my over-stuffed garage. I see things in catalogs or on TV and think “I can make that for so much less money!” and off I go on another project while my husband just shakes his head and walks the other way.
EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
JC: I usually use toy and vintage film cameras when taking pictures so I pretty much ignored the camera on my first iPhone. Since it was digital it didn’t appeal much to me. Then I got the Camera Bag app and started using my iPhone to take pictures of subjects when I didn’t have a film camera with me. If I liked the iPhone shot, I’d plan on coming back later with a Diana or Kiev 88 and take a ‘real picture’. My view of iPhoneography evolved when I noticed my iPhone was better in certain situations, like low light, than my film cameras. Since I’m usually snapping shots very quickly (three kids and a dog have very little patience for composition and bracketing) the iPhone is also much quicker to use than even my most simple-to-use film camera.
EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?(be sure to include the photo if you answer this)
JC: I think it’s this shot called “Flooded” that was short-listed for the EYE’EM award this year. I was driving down the road in the springtime and came across this brand new body of water that was created by the insane amount of snow and rain we received during the winter. I parked my car on the side of the road, took three pictures of this scene with my iPhone then jumped back in the car, fully intending to go back and capture it on film. Well, that never happened, but the resulting photo got me my first international recognition, something I have yet to attain with film.
EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
JC: For me, it’s an extension of my lo-fi work. There’s nothing particularly complicated about the way I use the iPhone for pictures. I’m really not into doing a whole lot of post-production, which is in line with my philosophy of life in general—keep it simple. It’s freeing to just point-and-shoot and if you want, add a texture layer here or tweak some color there. The imperfections and limits of a small, simple digital camera are what I like to exploit so that my pictures have the analogue aesthetic that I love. The beauty of iPhoneography is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Of course, the portability of my iPhone is fantastic. It’s the one camera I always have with me and allows me to take pictures FAST—no film winding required.
EC: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?
JC: Not really. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Not even a weekend seminar. The most formal education I have in the area is Photography Club in middle and high school where we developed and printed our own film and pictures. I read lots of books and magazines and like to pick the brains of those who are more educated and experienced than myself.
EC: What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
JC: Hands down it’s the beach. I am lucky enough to live less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and a big, beautiful State Park that features the shorelines of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, as well as inland marshes. I’m at the beach at least once a week and a camera always comes with me. It’s fascinating how the shoreline changes with each season and new storm that rolls in.
( Eli & Old Truck)
EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?
JC: Hmmmm…this goes back to the whole lack of formal education thing. I can’t really name particular people but I can tell you that I love textures and lines more than actual subjects. My friends say I like to take pictures of stuff and it’s a pretty accurate statement. It can be distracting and exhausting to walk around in a new place because my eye is drawn to the lines, peeling paint and contrasting colors that are everywhere. Macro photography is by far one of my favorites because it allows me to take the ordinary and turn it into the abstract. I’m also a sucker for anything that’s rusty and crusty because all that wear and tear can tell a story if you look the right way.
EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
JC: There’s the obvious lack of control over anything, but I’m used to that from using a Holga, Diana or Polaroid. The thing I find frustrating is that sunsets look so different on my iPhone. That large glowing orb in the sky appears to be just a pink marble when I look at it on the screen. I’m sure this is a limitation of a lot of lo-tech cameras but it really bugs me.
EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
JC: I’ve had a couple of digital camera shots published in some local magazines a few years ago. I’m pretty terrible at marketing myself but fortunately, I have friends who are writers that like to use my work periodically. Never would I have expected anyone to take notice of my pictures, save for my wonderful family and friends who are the best cheering section a girl could ever want.
EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
JC: I just can’t believe how impressed people are with the photos that this little camera creates. I NEVER expected to get short-listed for an award much less be interviewed by others who think what I’m doing is cool. Thanks to the Internet, I’m able to get my work out and admire and be inspired by the works of others. I feel fortunate to be a creative person in this day and age because I get instant feedback that I’d never have gotten fifteen years ago.
(Belair Side Panel)
EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? What app(s) do you currently use the most often?
JC: I LOOOOVE me some Hipstamatic! It’s my most-used app and is my favorite for giving my iPhone shots a vintage look. I also have the old stand-by Camera Bag, which I don’t use quite as much now that I have Hipstamatic. Quad Cam comes out to play periodically, especially when hanging out with friends and drinking beer. Lo-Mob is a recently downloaded app that I’ve been goofing around with lately. You can use it on pictures already on your phone or take pictures within the app and tweak them to get great textural and vintage effects. Swanko Lab is another fun post-production app. It’s by the same people who made Hipstamatic and is a virtual darkroom where you ‘mix’ different chemicals to add vignetting, over-saturation and other lomographic-type effects to a photo you’ve already taken. Finally I have Tiffens’s Photo FX and Cool FX filter apps for tighter control over every aspect of the photo. I usually use it to add in a layer of texture.
EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
JC: My mind is blown by the art this community is creating with a phone camera. Who needs a DSLR when you’ve got an iPhone camera, really? It’s particularly surprising that people comment more on my iPhone pictures than my film camera shots. Is that because I’ve developed my eye by using the film cams or is it the iPhone itself?
Who knows and who cares. As an analogue person it almost feels like I’m cheating on my film cameras with the iPhone—-must be all that Catholic guilt from my childhood coming out—but that feeling has been slowly replaced by respect and admiration for this little digital camera
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All images shown here are copyrighted property of Jenni Callard, please contact Jenni for copyright privileges.