When I first encountered iPhoneography last year, Dirks Dallas was one of the first iPhoneographers I was immediately drawn to. Dirk’s use of the apps adds a unique glow to his work which always has me saying “how did he do that?” His work is usually dreamy, which reminds me of a mixture between the Dreampop and Berry Pop flashes in Hipstamatic but without the over saturation. Dirk always stays true to his original photos, never altering them in such a way where they no long visually represent what they use to be. For this I admire his work even more.
Cut to the chase….
EC: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?
DD: I am 28 years old. I live in Riverside, California, a medium sized city, famous back in the day for it’s orange groves. It’s about an hour east of Los Angeles. I’ve been married to my beautiful wife for 3 1/2 years and I have an 8 month old daughter who is my pride and joy.
By day I work as a motion graphics designer but by night I am an adjunct professor teaching beginning and advanced video fundamentals at a local university. I also do freelance graphic design work in my “spare time.”
EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
DD: Originally, l had the first generation 8GB iPhone, before there were really any photo apps. If you had that iPhone then you remember that the camera wasn’t the greatest. Despite it’s limitations, it was still nice to always have a camera in my pocket. I no longer had moments when I thought, “Man, I wish I had my camera to capture this moment.” This was when I started using my iPhone more and my Canon point-and-shoot less.
In 2009, when I first discovered the ShakeItPhoto app, I really got hooked on iPhoneography. I enjoyed taking pictures and getting the old Polaroid feel with my photos. One day, I did a search on the web for other ShakeItPhoto users and I stumbled onto the iPhoneography.com blog where I saw an interview with Matt Burrows. Right from the start I was blown away by his photos and even remember saying to myself, “He took these photos with an iPhone!?”. There was just something really amazing about Matt’s photos and they have inspired me ever since. That’s when I realized the true potential of the camera when combined with good app selection and a great eye.
EC: Can you recall the first iPhone photo you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?
DD: I’m pretty hard on myself creativity wise so it took me a long time to really like any of the photos I was taking. The photo that finally got my attention (and some friends) was “Harvest.” The depth of field, the silhouettes, and the color just looked pretty amazing straight out of the camera. But once I ran it through ShakeItPhoto it gave it the perfect punch. That’s when I got more serious with the frequency at which I was taking photos on my iPhone, I wanted to have more wow moments like that.
EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
DD: Many have already mentioned it, but I too see the debate that is going on within the iPhoneography community. Personally, I think it’s all a bit silly. Thankfully there is no one power or person that has the answer because it’s obvious to me that it’s a little different for everyone. I would rather see us all just focus on creating and not fighting. So to me, iPhoneography is about those of us that choose to create using the iPhone. The thing I have come to love the most with iPhoneography is the community behind it. Over the past year or so I’ve made friends with so many iPhoneographers. Getting to know them and the images they create has been my biggest joy.
EC: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
DD: I do not have any formal photography training but I do feel like my background in both the video and graphic design field has helped me in my photography work. As a designer I am very visual, being drawn to great design, great films and great photography, looking at the world around me on a daily basis and constantly analyzing it.
EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?
DD: Trever Hoehne has been a huge influence on me. The way he captures light, and the tones of his photos are just top notch. I love the photography of Laurent Nivalle and the graphic design and photography of Scott Hansen. Photographer’s Nick Onken, Jeremy Cowart and Jeff Newsom inspire me as well.
There are also so many within the iPhoneography community that inspire me on a daily basis but since I can’t list everyone I’ll just make it a bit easier and list the first few people that I remember discovering: Matt Burrows, Robert Paul, Gladly Beyond, Miki Ballard, Sascha Unger, Scot Scott, and Star Rush. If I had more time that list would easily be about 5x longer.
EC: What have been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
DD: The obvious limitations of the iPhone are one of the main reasons why I like to shoot with it. I can get frustrated sometimes trying to shoot with my Canon 7D because I’ll miss the perfect moment trying to dial in the “right” settings. With the iPhone the auto mode does such a great job that I can snap a shot, process it, and then share it, all within a matter of minutes. The other thing I like about the limitations of the iPhone is that it forces me to be creative and work around whatever obstacle is in my way to get the shot.
EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where?
DD: I haven’t been published, at least not that I am aware of. From time to time I’ll find some random website using one of my photos for an article or something. I have been featured though on the iPhoneography blog
and on the Banana Camera Company website.
EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
DD: Mostly just that people actually like my photos. The first reason I take photos is for myself, because I feel I was born to create. But the second reason is to share with the world, what I see through the lens. I enjoy every single comment, favorite, and retweet that one of my photos gets. It truly makes me happy that there are people out there that enjoy looking at my pictures.
EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag? Which app(s) do you currently use the most often?
DD: While I have probably downloaded just about every photo app there is, I still only regularly use a select few: ShakeItPhoto, CrossProcess, PhotoForge, Perfectly Clear, Lo-Mob, and Tilt Shift Gen.
EC: Do you mind telling our readers how you have created a piece from start to finish?
DD: How “Just a House” was created on my iPhone:
I saw this cool house tucked up and away behind some bushes and trees and thought it would make for a great “tilt shift” shot. The picture originally came out quite dull and boring so I decided to use a couple apps to make it more interesting.
Step 1: My first step in editing was to use the app Perfectly Clear so that I could increase the sharpness and contrast, pop some of the color and add some depth to the image. Here are my settings for that:
Step 1b: This is how it turned out, which is better, but still not great:
Step 2: The next step was to use Tilt Shift Gen to increase the color saturation because I knew that I could bring out more of the yellows from the house and reds from the chimney. Also I wanted the green foliage to have some more life.
Step 3: After bringing out more color, I next added some blurring to give it that miniature look. Since I had the blurring gradient focused mostly at the very top and bottom of the image, I amped the effect all the way up.
Step 3b: This is the result after going through Tilt Shift Gen:
Step 4: My final process was to add a nice vignette, a very subtle texture and a frame to the image while at the same time toning the color back just slightly. This is done using the app CrossProcess set to “basic”.
Here is the end result:
(Just a House)
EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
DD: Just want to say thanks so much for the honor of featuring me and my work. I enjoy your blog and the community you have created on the web. Keep up the great work Edi!
And to those of you that I do not yet know, make sure to connect with me on Flickr or Twitter as I would love to see the work you are creating with your iPhones.
For more on Dirk check out these links:
All images shown here are copyrighted property of Dirk Dallas, please contact Dirk for copyright privileges.