The best way to find out what your focus is in this medium you should shoot all aspects of iPhoneography ranging from people, animals, landscapes, and stills. Jamie takes advantage of opportunities to capture with his iPhone documenting what’s presented to him. This soon to be father shares with us his vision.
The iPhoneography story of Jamie Pachomski…
EC: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?
JP: I’m originally from Pascoag—a small village in the Northwest corner of Rhode Island. Today, I live in the central part of the state in a town called Johnston, just minutes outside Providence. By day, I am a senior public relations consultant at FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. By night, on my day’s off and on the weekends, I’m an ever-aspiring photographer at heart. I enjoy shooting the usual stuff—people, landscapes, nature, still life and animals—all subjects to aid in the discovery of my photographic “brand.” It will be a great day when someone says “That’s definitely a Jamie Pachomski original.” I expect my first-born child (due Feb 1st) will give my iPhone some additional exercise. I also enjoy playing guitar, gourmet cooking, spending time with my tolerant wife and four dogs, writing occasionally, completing home improvement projects and enjoying red wines of all sorts, to name a few.
EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
JP: It all started when a really good friend of mine, co-worker and fellow iPhoneographer, Stephen Pine, convinced me to purchase an iPhone. Then, he persuaded me to take a brief sabbatical from my super-awesome Canon T1i to focus on using my new iPhone 3G’s camera function (I now have the iPhone 4). At first, I’ll admit I was entirely unimpressed because at this point in my experience with photography, I had grown disturbingly obsessed with clarity and sharpness in my photos—nearly paralyzing my ability to enjoy the hobby and share the results of my work with others. The switch from SLR to iPhone—though not a permanent one—gave me permission to let go. I found solace in the expectation that images produced and processed with an iPhone are inherently imperfect and are of lesser quality than those taken with a digital camera. The convenience and ease of sharing iPhone photos, to boot, has been icing on the cake.
EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?
JP: This probably isn’t the first photo that gave me such an alarming reaction, but it’s the one I remember most vividly. One day at work about one month ago, I ran out to my car during a rainstorm. As I headed back inside, I noticed a leaf under some cover that wore droplets of water as if it was sweating. I quickly took out my iPhone and took a shot or two. The result was astounding to me. The first image is pre-preprocessed and the second was processed with with PerfectlyClear and Instagram. My instinct tells me that the evenly-lit gray gloominess outside during the middle of the day very much played an important role in exposing this photo so well.
EC: How has social media such as Twitter helped or hinder the way you choose to share your work with others?
JP: Without a doubt, social media has facilitated instant photo-sharing on a global scale. With such a bounty of available tools at our disposal, photographers, iPhoneographers and visual artists alike now have the ability to share their work with cultures that may otherwise never see it. This may be obvious to most, but to me it’s really important because I come from such a small town. When someone from the far corners of the world “likes” a photo of mine or leaves a comment, I feel like I’m connecting at some level with another human being whom I would likely never, in any way, meet. This long-distance connection is fascinatingly powerful and to me.
EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
JP: iPhoneography, in its truest form, is the end result/product of photos that are taken with and processed only using an iPhone (of any generation) as the medium. Any production or representation otherwise is not real iPhoneography, in my opinion. Call me a purist. I’ve been called worse.
EC: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?
JP: Minimal. I took one photography course during my undergraduate studies (about eight years ago) and one workshop (this past summer). Since then, it’s been trial and error…but, mainly error. Learning by doing—regardless of thousands of mistakes—has ultimately produced some images I am truly proud of.
EC: What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
JP: There is nothing special about my hometown or the town I live in now. I’m a little bitter because I live only about one mile from work, which, financially speaking is worth every penny saved. On the flip side, however, I am exposed to the same boring things day in and day out, which leaves me feeling a tad uninspired. By committing to posting one photo per day to my blog though, I am forced to explore my seemingly mundane surroundings and unearth the interestingly unseen for all eyes to see. As much as I might want to sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?
JP: I don’t have any, which I recognize is a problem. I’ve always thought that if I were influenced by someone else’s work, that my photography and subsequently, my iPhoneography might take me in a direction that is not authentically me. Awareness is the first step, right?
EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
JP: My biggest challenge is speed. I feel that some of my more frequently-used apps are too slow for my liking—despite updates to “cure” some of these issues. For example, I’ve found that for apps like Swankolab, they’re cutesier than they are efficient. When I shoot with the iPhone, I suppose I have similar expectations from some apps that I do from the “continuous shoot” function on my SLR. I’ll admit my expectations exceed the limits of this particular technology.
EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
JP: None of my work has been published to date. However, one of my photos (“Pair”) was “Faved” recently (Faved on Flickr 12.12.10) and featured on Marty Yawnick’s “Life in Lofi” blog. Imagine my elation. I’m certainly open to suggestions on how to gain more exposure. Someone who has more time than me could perhaps assemble and maintain a current list of iPhoneography contests, for example, to help us unknowns get known.
*Since this interview was conducted, Jamie has been featured as the iPhoneArtist of the Day for 12/18/10 over on iPhoneArt.com – Congrats!
EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
JP: People—the handful-sized population, that is—that have commented on my photos, have used words like “emotional,” “moody,” “colorful,” and “dramatic,” to describe what they see. I fully appreciate this kind of feedback as I continue my photographic journey to self discovery. Predictably, however, I’ll get the occasional, more disgusted reaction.
Take the below photo (Asleep) for example. One day, I was wandering aimlessly through the city streets of Providence and stumbled upon a possum that had obviously become a victim of vehicular homicide. Fortunately, for yours truly, the street wasn’t very busy, because to take the photo I had to stand in the middle of the road for several minutes. Naturally, the reaction was “Jamie, that’s gross!” and “Yuck!” Still, it was a reaction, which I was thankful to my Facebook friends for. And I’m sure none of us could estimate how many times this rodent was pancaked to oblivion. For my part, all I did was document the postmortem experience. To me, the photo is symbolic of life passing by sometimes a little too quickly.
EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? What app(s) do you currently use the most often?
JP: Right now I have 55 photo-only apps installed on my iPhone. As time goes by, however, I’m warming up to the concept of “less is more.” One can’t possibly produce and post photo each day like I do by flipping through such a vast quantity of apps to concoct every possible look for a given image, and then decide which one to post. Who has that mountain of available time? That said, the apps I use most are: Instagram, Hipstamatic„ PictureShow, TiltShiftGen, ClassicTOY and CrossProcess (in that order). As far as my personal “process” goes, I generally take photos with Hipstamatic or the built-in iPhone camera, process with any of or combination of these six apps and publish with Instagram. I’ve found Instagram to be super-efficient at allowing me to share my iPhone photos in the social media space. However, I haven’t been terribly successful at building a loyal following of frequent “commenters.” Because I truly value feedback on my photos (I make it a practice to comment on others’ iPhoneography), perhaps I’m missing something in Instagram. There is a lot of non-art, garbage floating around out there in Instagramland and from people with thousands of followers. I’m not quite sure how they do it.
EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
JP: Starting in November, I decided to assemble all of the previous month’s iPhone photos into one slideshow to share on YouTube as a regular practice. You can view November’s here. I’m also interested in learning more about how others’ share their iPhoneography collections, the best printing services for iPhone photos and perhaps an interesting challenge to focus on.
Thanks again so much for this wonderful opportunity!
For more on Jamie check out these links:
All images shown here are copyrighted property of the artist, please contact Jamie Pachomski for copyright privileges.