iPhoneographer of the Week – Michael DeAngelis | @ontherunindc

Michael was first inspired to capture the world with a mobile phone when he noticed his mentor was doing it, now Michael has become a source of inspiration for others. Michael DeAngelis is a DC based iPhoneographer who’s taken a non traditional path to his career in professional photography. 


And now Michael DeAngelis in his own words…

EC: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?

MD: I’m a professional photographer born in Brooklyn, NY, grew up in the suburbs of central New Jersey and now live in Washington, DC,  just a short walk away from the White House.

Like many professionals in my field, I took a non-direct path to the business.  After graduating college in 2003 with a degree in Computer Science, I ended up working in education and the non-profit sector for the next five or so years until I decided to go back to school for digital photography in 2009. I have now been shooting professionally for two years.

As for hobbies well, music of course. Cinema, without a doubt. Whenever I hear a great song or see a great film it definitely inspires. I’m really interested in technology, and learning, which usually means a lot of time on the computer browsing photo-blogs (like iPhoneogenic!), news sites, and using StumbleUpon! Oh yeah, I enjoy Yoga, mangoes and a nice shot of espresso!

EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?

MD: I got really jealous when some of my friends and fellow photographers got the first iPhones and started taking surprisingly good photos with them while I was unsuccessfully trying to do the same with my BlackBerry! Included in this group, the Director of Photography at the Center For Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University (and mentor to me and my fellow classmates), Chris Alvanas. I was inspired by the way he brought his detailed fine art approach to mobile picture-taking. His photos definitely helped plant the seed for my interest in iPhoneography.

When I finally got my iPhone 4 this past August I officially became a iPhoneographer, and started my mobile-picture taking project, “On The Run In DC.” Almost six months and 5,000 images later, I’m having a blast and always have my phone ready in case a great moment presents itself.

EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go “WOW, I really got something here!?”

MD: About a week after purchasing my iPhone 4, I took a walk on a bright and sunny day in September of last year to Dupont Circle  (a great place for people watching) in the heart of Washington, DC. I originally planned on catching up on some reading that afternoon, but I ended up taking well over a hundred photos with my iPhone. Here’s one of my favorites from that day.

EC: How has social media such as Twitter helped the way you choose to share your work with others?

MD: In just a few clicks (or one click!) I’m able to send my photos out to cyberspace. That’s pretty cool. The various apps I use on my iPhone have allowed me to create a simple and quick workflow where I can use the uploader built into most the apps or Flickr’s app to upload my photos to my Flickr page. In a few more clicks I can make a simple post on my blog with my favorite photos of the day/week, which are then automatically posted on Facebook and Twitter.

EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?

MD: Guerrilla photography. Simplified photography. Further, a type of photography that levels the playing field and makes picture-taking accessible to anyone with an iPhone and that helps them see the world in a more detailed and different way.

(candy cable cars)

EC: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?

MD: Yes, I am a professional photographer. I trained at the Center For Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University.  In addition to working on personal projects like my iPhone project, “On The Run In DC” I shoot for local media publications, cover events in DC, and I am an instructor at Washington Photo Safari.

EC: What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?

MD: Well, DC is DC! Its diverse, chaotic, and manic. There is never a shortage of events, rallies, protests to cover, especially in the summer months. Also, the Smithsonian museums are here as well as the White House, Capitol and other federal buildings that make for great photo backdrops! Still, as you will see a lot in my iPhone photos, I like to photograph the many sides of DC that many tourists and residents of the district often look past.

(Penny from Mad Men)

EC: Who or what are your artistic influences?

MD: In no particular order…Miles Davis. Frank Sinatra. Stephen Reich. Thom Yorke. Henry Thoreau. Kurt Vonnegut. Jeff Buckley. Jeff Tweedy & Wilco.  Basquiat. Kandinsky. Robert Frank. HCB. Chopin. Stephen Shore. William Eggleston. Langston Hughes. Howard Zinn. Richard Avedon. Stanley Kubrick. Darren Aronofsky. The list goes on…

EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?

MD: A few things bug me about the iPhone as a camera. The photos you take with the iPhone have no real depth-of-field. The TiltShiftGen app is a kind of work-around, but it doesn’t truly replicate the feel you get if you took the same photo with a DSLR. Another challenge is that sometimes taking a photo on the iPhone can be a little clumsy, because you use the touch screen and not a physical button to take the photos. Also, an iPhone will just never be as quick as a DSLR. So there have definitely been some instances where I saw an interesting moment and then just missed that decisive moment because the camera didn’t fire quick enough! Still, I love my iPhone 4!

(smoking and contemplation)

EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?

MD: My work has been featured on iPhoneArt.com, at a local exhibit in DC and used often as “stock” photos on the Washington, DC news site, DCist.com. As this project continues to grow and mature I hope to enter the photos into more contests and shows and eventually publish them in a book.

EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?

MD: Whoa! You took that with your phone?!?! Yeah, I get that one a lot. Beyond the actual photograph, people are also usually surprised by what all the applications can do.

(light post in the sky)

EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag? What app(s) do you currently use the most often?

    * Iris (goto app)
    * TiltShiftGen (great for imitating shallow depth-of-field)
    * Instagram (most fun app on my iPhone!)
    * Lo-Mob
    * PS Express
    * TouchRetouch
    * Camera+
    * Hipstamatic (not a big fan, but still can produce interesting photos)
    * Best Camera

EC: Do you mind telling us how you have created a recent piece of iPhonographic work from start to finish?



   1. The original image taken with iPhone 4’s native camera app.

   2. I imported the image into Iris where I did the following things  – 1) Slightly cropped the image to remove the dashboard at the bottom of the frame. I wasn’t driving when I took the shot! I promise! 2) Brought up the saturation, contrast and brightness to make the image “pop” a bit more. 3) Used the “grunge” effect (One of Iris’s “one-touch” effects) to add some texture and weathered feel to the photo, especially on the bus and garbage truck.

   3. Lastly, I brought the edited image into the TiltShiftGen app to add a bit of depth-of-field to the image so that the viewer concentrates more on the vehicles in the foreground. This app allows you to reduce the depth-of-field by choosing an area of focus and choosing to using a linear-plane or circular space as your area of focus. I chose the first to to highlight the vehicles, especially the bus.

EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?

MD: iPhoneography is a fantastic movement! It is still in its infancy so it will be interesting to see where  it  and its photographers goes from here. Thanks to iPhoneogenic for having me on their site and ramble about my iPhone art!

I love connecting with other iPhoneographers – seeing great iPhone photo work is out there is always inspiring. So, if you are a fellow iphoneographer and want to say hi, surely drop me a line!

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

For more on Michael DeAngelis check out these links:

On The Run In DC

All images shown here are copyrighted property of the artist, please contact Michael DeAngelis for copyright privileges.

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