Dominique Jost is a world renowned iPhoneographer who’s already made his mark in the medium acquiring many accolades. His work is full of life, light, and emotion which adds to the success of the moments captured.
It is with great pleasure that I bring you Mr. Jost…
EC: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?
DJ: That’s a question I always find hard to answer: I was born in Switzerland, spent most of my pre-teen childhood in Ghana before moving back to Switzerland. My dad isn’t a typical Swiss and my mum is (to some degree) more Swiss than she is Ghanaian. I feel at home in Switzerland, but I have this emptiness in me that only Ghana can fill. When I’m reminded of this void I fall into the “Black Star” state of mind. Some of you reading this might understand.
I work for a software company that produces web- and mobile apps. My job is making sure that our software developers have the appropriate environment to create the best possible work (and have fun while doing so).
My biggest hobby is what scored me this interview. Taking photos has taken over most of my free time. It has been eat, drink, sleep iPhoneography for almost 2 years now. I wouldn’t even call it a hobby anymore, it is part of who I am, my own personal therapy.
EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
DJ: I think iPhoneography got into me. It wasn’t my fault, I had nothing to do with it.
About three years ago, a colleague of mine got the iPhone just after it was released in the States. I was rocking a HTC something-someting back then and knew that my next phone would have to be an iPhone as well. A year later I finally got a 3G and was amazed how much smoother the Microsoft Exchange integration was compared to WinMo6. Being a gadget freak, I was just thrilled to have a piece of sci-fi in my hands.
What happened next changed my life dramatically: I stumbled upon www.justwhatisee.com (by Greg Schmigel) and came across the work of Sion Fullana and Anton Kawasaki while I was googling reviews for the app “Photogene”. All I initially wanted was a review, but what I got was an invitation to the world of iPhoneography. I got a few apps (Photogene, ToyCamera, CameraBag), joined Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and immediately got in touch with some like-minded and talented people.
EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?
DJ: I would like to mention three photos. train.to.nowhere was my first time taking a photo and editing it on the iPhone. The second image I would like to mention is road.lake.bike. That was the first time a photo of mine got some attention on Flickr. It was also the first time I thought I would never make a better pic in my life. The third pic is got.your.back because I love it for all the wrong reasons.
(click the thumbnails to view larger)
EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
DJ: Everything. It is something very personal and close to my heart. I currently have 12,324 (and counting) iPhone photos in my archives and I can tell you a story to each an every one of them. When I took it, why I took it, why I didn’t post it, why I created 12 different versions, why I like it and why I don’t like it. Exhibitions, galleries and apps come and go, what stays is the passion for what you love and the true friends you meet along this journey.
EC: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?
DJ: Not at all. My dad is a great photographer, he might have passed on some Nikon DNA.
EC: What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
DJ: Bern has a spectacular old town with cobblestone covered streets (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/niquejost/tags/cobblestone/). In general I think we have beautifully textured streets with manholes, strange patches and unidentifiable liquids that sometimes make the difference in my shots. I know, not exactly what the tourism board would want to hear. Due to Swiss law, there is a thin line between art and invading someones privacy when taking street shots. You could say that my workaround has manifested int my own style: lots of shadows, mostly unidentifiable faces and lots of cobblestones. Would my shots look differently if I were in a place like NY? Maybe, Maybe not.
EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?
DJ: Fabienne, my dad and his Nikons, Bruce Lee, Batman & Wolverine comics, my cousin Rodney Quarcoo, the iPhoneography community, The Matrix (“Whoa”), Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z, the sickest char chase in movie history ever (Ronin), Super Mario Bro, The Legend of Zelda, Shenmue, Grand Theft Auto, Lost, Mad Men, Shamu and Flipper… I could go on forever because there is no single dominant influence. My photos are the sum of what I’ve experienced in the last 32 years.
EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
DJ: I simply love the camera. I love the 35 seconds it takes to start-up (thank you iOS4), the shutter lag, the random crashes, the fact that my mum can call and ruin a perfect shot. I love everything about it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
DJ:My work has been displayed in four offline exhibitions so far:
– Feb 2010, Pixels at an Exhibition in Berkeley (USA)
– June 2010, EYE’EM Exhibition in Berlin (Germany)
– Sep 2010, EYE’EM Exhibition in NYC (USA)
– Oct – Nov 2010, iPhoneography Exhibition at La Panera Art Center, Lleida (Spain)
I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed by Greg Schmigel, the guys at EYEEM and yourself to name a few. For a complete list of on- and offline activities you can also visits the news section of my blog: http://www.nique88888.com/news/
When my work gets featured, like in the recent article “25 Most Beautiful and Inspiring iPhone Photos” by “My Modern Met”, I get excited and feel humbled at the same time. It’s a privilege to be recognized for something you love doing.
EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
DJ: I’ve experienced the classic “Wow, you did that with an iPhone?”, the condescending “Not bad, for a cell phone shot” and the curious “How did you do that? What apps did you use?”
EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag? What app(s) do you currently use the most often?
DJ: My camera bag isn’t as deep as ABC’s, but I have about 30 to 40 photo apps. Amongst them the usual suspects like CameraBag, CameraKit, CrossProcess, CoolFx, TiltShiftGen, PictureShow, Spica and Monochromia. Currently I’m into mixing different filters with Pro HDR and not so much into testing new apps.
EC: One of my favorite photos of yours is “red.man.walking” Do you mind showing us how this was created from start to finish?
Step 1: The original image, taken straight off the camera on the 11th of September, 2010 in Bern.
Step 2: I wasn’t sure what to do with the image. In such a case I mostly run the photo through Camerabag for a quick b&w, colorcross, silver and magazine preview . High contrast was the way to go here, so I selected the 1962 filter and saved the image.
Step 3: The moment I saw the high-contrast b&w, I knew this had to go into the secret-agent-poster direction. What better way to create a movie poster than with CinemaFX? I remembered I had used the a red filter before (here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niquejost/4517697461/) and thought it would be the perfect match for my agent. Opened the image with CinemaFX, selected “Mars Poster”, reduced the highlight a bit and saved the image.
EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
DJ: Thanks Edi for your patience and for giving me a feature on your blog :)
I normally don’t do any shoutouts, because of forgetting important names. I would like to say a big thank you to all my iPhoneographer friends who have been with me from the very beginning.
One more thing: Jessica Jakob and myself started “The Paper Love Project” a few weeks ago. It is about acknowledging and celebrating the inherent love we all have. If you haven’t heard of this yet, check out the Flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/thepaperloveproject/) or search Twitter for #paperloveproject. We would love to see you contribute and share some love.
For more on Dominique check out these links:
All images shown here are copyrighted property of the artist, please contact Dominique Jost for copyright privileges.