Back in Noverber of 2010 Tod Kapke submitted some of his work for our end of the month feature, “Top 31” and I wondered why I haven’t seen his work before. So I asked him to come on iPhoneogenic and talk about himself and his work. I have been able go through some of his images and I have to say I really like his style.
The iPhoneography story of Tod Kapke…
EC: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself? Any hobbies?
TK:I was born and raised in Nebraska. I moved to Denver to pursue art school and photography. I bounced around a little bit and ended up deciding to stay in Denver. Every year Denver just seems to get better and better.
I currently work as a Illustrator and photographer. Much of my work involves lots of building of sets and models to photograph for illustrations.
EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
TK: I have always had an interest in nontraditional photography equipment. I loved the original Game Boy camera and the tiny printer that you could use with it. I was really interested in the fact that you could use the camera to take pictures of things and insert them in a few of their games. The Fisher Price video camera (pxl2000) from the late 80’s. I loved the grainy, high contrast look from these devices. I had real interest in these devices because they invited the use of play and experimenting. I have pursued traditional photography since high school and always had to hold back some because of the cost/time of film, developing, printing etc. The move towards digital has removed those pressures and given me more of a sense of play and limitless experimenting.
I have had a few other cell phones with ok cameras and experimented with them some. I saw the iPhones with the large screens, and the idea that people could write photo apps. I had to have one. I love the idea that I carry around this little device that I can shoot, edit, retouch and broadcast anywhere with a cell signal. To me it seems like a really interesting direction for photography. You have all these people writing all these little apps to do strange things to your photographs. It is almost like digital film or different emulsions and you can mix-match to get what you want.
EC: How has social media such as Twitter helped or hinder the way you choose to share your work with others?
TK: The idea that you can set up a blog in a matter of minutes and reach tons of people is amazing. I did a trip to Europe awhile back and used my iPhone a ton. It was really fun to come back to our apartment at the end of the day, edit my photos on my phone. I then was able to instantly post them on my blog and Facebook.
EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
TK. It is finally a camera that I take with me everywhere. I always want to carry a camera. I just don’t ever end up doing it. It gives me a chance to experiment with ideas. I actually use it quite bit for my illustrations too see how things will composite and for getting an idea of compositions.
EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?
TK: My influences lie more with painters and illustrators than photographers. I always seem to be trying to achieve a certain texture or perspective that makes one wonder if it is a painting or photo. I think that is why I gravitate towards the iPhone because the quality it outputs is rather painterly.
EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
TK: Coming from a photography background, I wish I had more control over the camera. I wish I could access the shutter speeds. I wish Icould manually focus in the same way you can now zoom. I do like the happy accidents that happen without this control but would love to be able to have more planned happy accidents. I have this dream that somebody will come out with some type of fully functional camera peripheral that you can dock the iPhone and use all the apps.
EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where?
TK: I had some work in the first Pixels at an Exhibition show.
EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag? What app(s) do you currently use the most often?
TK: I really don’t use to many apps. I am in the process right now of researching some new ones. I need to change it up. The ones I seem to use the most are PS Express, Sepia Camera, Mill Color, Auto Adjust, Format 126, and Photo Curves.
EC: Do you mind telling us how you have created a recent piece of iPhonographic work from start to finish?
step 1. This is the original image straight from the camera. I have been messing with shooting through some different old magnifying glasses. I decided to shoot some the tiny medical models that I got in Japan. I zoomed in quite a bit with the camera to frame the image and I was interested in getting the noise for a bit of a degraded look.
step 2. I opened the file in PhotoCurves and adjust the highlights with a bit of a curve adjustment. I reduced the brightness and contrast a tiny bit also.
step 3. next I opened the file in Mill Color. I applied the Instant look to it. I then decided to lower the saturation and up the gain slightly.
step 4. I then opened it up in Auto Adjust with a slight amount of color adjustment and bit of bringing down the highlights.
step 5. It is then placed into PS Express so that it can be cropped and a bit sharpening added.
That is roughly the amount of steps in most of my imagery. More or less. I do tend to come up with new ideas and rework imagery a lot.
EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
TK: Thanks again for the chance to do this!!!
For more on Tod check out these links:
All images shown here are copyrighted property of the artist, please contact Tod Kapke for copyright privileges.