iPhoneographer of the Day – Sherry Chen

Sherry is a young and fresh iPhoneographer with the vision of a seasoned veteran.  Her work is beautiful and meticulously put together. Sherry not only puts out great iPhoneographic work but also is an active community participant, always providing supportive commentary on various social networks.

Let’s get to know the lovable Sherry a little bit more….

(Many Expressions)

EC: Tell me about yourself? Where are you from?
SC: I was born in the tiny little dot, referred to as Singapore, and have never left since. I just graduated from university/college last year and am currently working in a research institute as a research officer. Though I’ve been a science student for the past 12 years, my friends would say that I  have always been into the artsy fartsy stuff. I was always keen in Arts but I wasn’t really given the chance to pursue it. Somehow I just ended up in the science industry. I used to do quite a bit of drawing and gaming but recently my life just became more focused on photography.

EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
SC: Actually, I only got my hands on a 3Gs last October and while I was still deciding on whether to get it, I chanced upon the Best Cam app developed by Chase Jarvis and his book titled “the best camera is the one that’s with you.” I was flipping through it and I couldn’t believe just how amazing the photos were. So basically I bought my iPhone for a $2.99 app. I started to take mainly shots of skies, clouds and trees. I never really knew what I was doing was called iPhoneography until later on, when I chanced upon Sion Fullana’s flickr stream. I think he kind of influenced me with his style of photography and writing. I mean, it didn’t cross my mind to take photos of people on the streets.

EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?
SC: This is a toughie, since I have a terrible memory and my idea of iPhoneography has changed a little. But if I think back now, it would have to be “No One Shall Touch Me.” Back then, I was really into capturing the beauty of clouds but things were slightly limited since the only app I had was Best Camera. So I was pretty amazed with the final product.

(No One Shall Touch Me)

EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
SC: To me, iPhoneography is a whole new field of photography. It’s a device of spontaneity, a capture-the-moment art form; and a whole treasure chest of post-processing software all fused onto one platform. It’s like going back to the days of old school photography, without the film but with a mega-huge viewfinder. There is no ISO, shutter speed, prime/zoom lens etc. to consider, all you have is that small device on your hand. It’s more personal that way. I always felt that photography isn’t about how expensive your gadgets are, it’s of what YOU see and what YOU want to capture. The iPhone just plays into that perfectly. Whether or not others appreciate it, that’s more of a bonus than the main reason why I shoot.

EC: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?
SC: I never had any background in photography or visual arts. The closest I came to was learning about story-boarding and cinematic techniques, and those were just electives I took for a few months. I guess they did teach me a little about angles and stuff but the rest was mostly trial and error, and watching what others do.


EC:What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
SC: I think in every country or city, the people living in it and their diverse cultures defines the place. Thus, everywhere is special, it only depends on whether you are willing to open up your mind and SEE. Similarly, despite being in a small country, Singapore still has plenty to offer to the world. What I try to do, is capture the little things people tend to take for granted and add a little story to them.  I’d still love to travel overseas to do some iPhoneography because there’s just so much to see on this planet.

EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?
SC:  Sion Fullana and Chase Jarvis were the first. When I finally found out about the rest of the community, goodness, I notice  so many fantastic people. Some examples: ABC’s usage of apps wow me to no end. Boivin’s innovative shots are refreshing. Zach’s photos always have a surprise factor. RobertPaul’s landscape shots are amazing. Dixon’s colorful images are mind-blowing. Misho’s BW works are simply stunning. My point is, there is always something to be learned from everyone. Until now, I still smile whenever I start looking through my contacts’ photostream. Its really REALLY amazing. For those whom I didn’t get to list, please don’t be offended! If I could, I would write an entire thesis just to list out everyone. So to all the iPhoneographers I’ve known so far, thanks for sharing your amazing works. For those whom I’ve yet to meet, I cannot wait to find you.

(Temptress in the Night)

EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
SC: Nothing is perfect. While the iPhone is able to deliver stunning shots under ample light, things just get a little fuzzy and slow in the dark. The buggy software tends to lag my camera, so there are times when I finally get my camera to launch, the moment would have passed. But still, I just got to get used to it. Know the pros and cons of the camera, and work it to my advantage. I think that’s what any photographer has to deal with. Challenging no doubt, but a challenge worth conquering.

EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
SC: I think the very first time it got featured in an exhibition was the MMS Gallery in Philadelphia, whereby two of my shots got selected. ABC and Ivan from Singapore have also featured me on their own facebook groups. Marty from life In Lo-Fi has also faved two of my works for his weekly iPhoneography: Faved on Flickr. Also, thanks to Ivan, he got me an interview with a local news program regarding iPhoneography.

I don’t think anyone started iPhoneography with the hope of being noticed or “talent-spotted” because you don’t make big bucks doing this. iPhoneography is really about capturing what you see, instead of capturing what others want to see. To have my works noticed by others like you and to be featured, is really really a honor and a bonus. So, a big thank you to you guys! :)

(In The Shadows)

EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
SC: The most predictable? I get many people telling me “C’mon, how good can the photos get? The camera is crap. This isn’t photography” but when I show them the works by myself or others, they’d just shut up and walk away. Even til now, I still meet such people. But the difference now is my friends are the ones telling them otherwise. I still remember once I was casually asking my colleague, who has an iPhone, what she thinks about the camera, she replied she didn’t think much of it’s capabilities and my another friend actually replied “Well, wait til you see what Sherry can do with it.” That, made me smile.

EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag? What app(s) do you currently use the most often?
SC: Well, there’s basically two types of apps I have: those that come with fixed filters and those that allow plenty of control over post-processing steps. To name a few commonly used ones would be CrossProcess, proHDR, Iris Photo Suite, Photoforge, Photogene, Tiltshift and BlurFX.

(Rain Gear)

EC: One of my favorite photos of yours is, “She’s got so much swagga.” Do you mind going through a workflow of how this was created?
SC: I would love to share! (: The apps I used were Photogene, CrossProcess, BlurFX and PSmobile.

STEP 1       Here’s the original taken on an iPhone 4.

My main focus was on the girl but because this was at a clinic, I couldn’t get a nearer shot of her without drawing attention to myself.

STEP 2       So I open the image in Photogene and used a 3:4 crop ratio to solve the problem.

STEP 3       Next I launched crossprocess and applied the blue basic filter.

STEP 4       There was still too much objects that were stealing attention from the girl, so I decided to use BlurFX to blur out the surrounding (gaussian).

STEP 5     I found the photo a little dull, so I imported it into PSexpress and applied the Vibrant filter effect.

The colors are perfect BUT the girl was still lacking the “attention” I wanted her to have.

STEP 6      To solve that, I import the image into photogene (again) and applied the 1:1 crop ratio, purposely placing the girl at the edge of the picture.

Tadaa, that’s the image!

EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
SC: I would like to thank you, Edgar, for featuring me on the iPhoneogenic blog. Your blog was one of the avenues through which I got to know many talented iPhoneographers like Miki and Jason, and I really must state it again that this has been a great honor for me (: and I also want to thank many of the great iphoneographers out there who are always more than willing to share their works and secret recipe to creating those beautiful shots. I also want to thank some of them for their encouragements and support. You know who you are. :D
Honestly, getting my hands on an iPhone and discovering this community is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

(Boy at Play)

Thank you Sherry for participating in this feature here on iPhoneogenic, the iPhoneogenic Facebook Page, and on Twitter @iPhone0genic I’m honored to have you on my blog.

For more on Sherry check out these links:

Tumblr: http://silent-jukebox.tumblr.com/
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/sherry_chen/
Posterous: http://myboo.posterous.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/silentjukebox

All images shown here are copyrighted property of Sherry Chen, please contact Sherry for copyright privileges.

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