When I first saw the iPhonographic work of Cindy Patrick alomst a year ago to the day, I was absolutely amazed and blown away. Her style and techniques are parallel to none and are totally her own. It is easy to come across one of her pieces and instantly know Cindy produced it. I find her work magical, moving, nostalgic, and riveting, leaving a lasting impression in my core. There isn’t too many mobile photography/artists I can say that about but, Cindy is definitely one of them!
(Catch A Wave and You’re Sitting On Top of the World)
Get to know Cindy and discover her path into the realm of iPhoneography…
Edgar C: Tell me about yourself? Where are you from?
Cindy Patrick: I was born and raised in South/Central New Jersey, just over the bridge from Philadelphia, which is where I still live and work. I am a professional photographer, shooting mostly weddings and portraits. I feel like I’ve been pursuing art my entire life. Even as a little kid, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I was always drawing or painting or pursuing something creative. I was quite good at drawing cartoons, and for a long time I wanted to be a cartoonist or an animator and had dreams of working for Disney. But that all changed when I went away to college and discovered photography. Early on, I became interested in alternative processes and the manipulated photograph — toning, hand-coloring, liquid emulsions, etc. Anything to alter the image in some way. I eventually discovered Polaroid materials — image and emulsion transfers and SX-70 manipulated photos, and I was hooked! I remember seeing my first image transfer in a gallery, and I couldn’t stop looking at it. I couldn’t tell if it was a photograph or a watercolor, and right then I knew that I had found my medium. What attracted and excited me the most about Polaroid was the instantaneous nature of the materials and processes. No more hours in the darkroom breathing toxic chemical fumes. With Polaroid, I could produce a beautiful print within minutes in daylight on watercolor paper, which was like magic for me. I had a few gallery shows and pursued it as a hobby for a few years, but I stopped when Polaroid materials became harder and harder to obtain. Now with the iPhone and the enormous array of apps available, that magic has returned for me! 100% of my personal work is now shot with my iPhone.
EC: How did you get into iPhoneography?
CP: I bought my first iPhone in 2009, and I honestly didn’t think of using it as a camera at first. I have a Canon G10 which I used as my “walk around” camera for when I traveled etc. so I could leave my heavy professional gear at home. My iPhone was — well… just a phone! One day I was reading The New Yorker magazine, and on the cover was an illustration by Jorge Colombo. It was being described as an iPhone “finger painting” and I was intrigued. This began my exploration into all the amazing art that was being created using the iPhone as a creative tool. Eventually, I stumbled upon Chase Jarvis’ book “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You” and the rest is history! Again, it was the instantaneous nature of the medium that attracted me… taking pictures and apping them immediately to produce a finished piece. My first app was Hipstamatic, and I just went crazy! It wasn’t long before I discovered IPA (iPhoneart.com) and started posting my work there. IPA led to P1xels, Eyeem, Instagram, and Flickr which eventually led to iPhoneogenic and — lucky for me — here I am!
(Rooms With A View)
EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
CP: I am probably one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for iPhoneography. I truly believe we are at the forefront of a movement that will some day find its place in the history of photography. Photography itself is a relatively young medium, and I think iphoneography is now where photography was in the late 19th century and early 20th century when photographers were attempting to validate photography as an art form. Well that argument has been settled, and I think eventually iPhoneography will have its own chapter written in the history books. Each of us is writing that history right now, with every single image posted, every single exhibit mounted, and every single article written. I am certain that we are witnessing the birth of a new art form.
(Into the Light of a Turquoise Night)
EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW, I really got something here!?
CP: Yes, definitely! A good friend of mine had broken her wrist and I would drive her to her doctors’ appointments. One day, I was all alone in the waiting room and a row of chairs caught my eye. I took a Hipstamatic shot with my iPhone, and I instantly knew that I had something because my heart started to race. I ran outside into the parking lot and literally couldn’t stop shooting! It all came together for me that day.
EC: How often do you work on your iPhoneography? Do you spend a numerous amount of time working and reworking your photos/images?
CP: I work on my iPhoneography every day. I don’t necessarily shoot every day, but I definitely work on an image or images daily. A large chunk of my day is spent editing my clients’ weddings, designing their wedding albums, or sometimes shooting an engagement session etc., so I tend to work on my iPhoneography in the morning while I’m having coffee or late at night (I stay up way too late!) when my official workday is done. I tend to work and re-work an image, trying a variety of different apps and combinations of apps, until I feel it is finished. This could take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of months in some cases. There are times when I’ll shoot something and wait several weeks to actually work on it, usually after being inspired by another artist’s work or by a new app I’ve discovered. I’ve never been one to take a shot and leave it alone. I’ll take a shot and ask myself, “Okay, now what can I do with this??” I love experimenting! I will often end up with several versions of a single image, and it’s really tough sometimes to decide which one is the “keeper.” I think that’s one of the hardest things about being an artist.. knowing when a piece is finished and knowing how to edit your work.
(In Search of the Perfect Seashell)
EC: How has social media such as Twitter helped or hindered the way you choose to share your work with others?
CP: One of my goals for 2012 is to get better at using social media to promote and share my iPhoneography. The iPhoneography community on those sites is very strong. I first realized the value of Facebook in particular with my wedding business. I have a link to Facebook and Twitter from my wedding blog, so my wedding work gets posted to those sites automatically. The value of utilizing those sites is the sheer volume of people viewing your work. It’s mind boggling! It’s almost a necessity today for an artist or business person to be active on those sites or you’ll be left behind.
(The Other Side of Silence)
EC: Do you have any formal training regarding traditional photography?
CP: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Art, and I took lots and lots of photography courses to fulfill my major. I had some wonderful teachers, but I am by-and-large self taught in many respects. When I want to learn something, I read books. I have an entire library of books on all sorts of photography-related topics… not just fine art photography books, of which I have dozens, but books ranging from the inspirational (David DuChemin) to the technical (Joe McNally). For me, books will always be associated with learning.
EC: What types of subjects do you like to shoot?
CP: By virtue of what I do for a living, I shoot a lot of people! But in my personal work — with the exception of my “Arc of a Diver” series — I don’t tend to shoot people very much unless they are in the landscape. I am drawn predominantly to nature, the landscape, city and suburban street scenes, and the beach. I have a series called “Beach Memoirs” which has really attracted a lot of attention, so I plan to do a lot more of that and keep the series going.
(Let’s Go Surfin’ Now… Everybody’s Learnin’ How)
EC:What about your hometown is so special that it makes you what to capture it through your iPhone?
CP: I live in a suburb of New Jersey, which is about 15 minutes from Philadelphia. Philly is a great city – very historic with lots of wonderful colonial architecture and culture. I am also lucky in that I am less than two hours from New York City and about an hour’s drive to the beach, so I have a lot of photo opportunities within a short distance of where I live. I think my work really reflects the diversity of the region I live in — city, suburbs and beach… It’s all within reach and all potential subject matter for my work.
(The Showplace of the Nation)
EC: Who inspires you? Who are your artistic influences?
CP: There are so many artists and photographers who have influenced and inspired me throughout my life and who have had a great impact on my development as an artist. Photographers such as Keith Carter, Sylvia Plachy, William Eggleston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rocky Schenk, Helen Levitt, Sam Abell, William Albert Allard, Robert Doisneau, and Robert Frank to name a few. Painters such as Cezanne, Monet, Chagall, Hopper, and many contemporary watercolorists whose work I adore. When I first discovered iPhoneography, Chase Jarvis and Dan Marcolina were huge influences. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot!
EC: When you’re in a creative block what do you do to break out if it? Do you look at the work of other iPhoneoographers to be re-inspired?
CP: I often get stuck and this usually indicates to me that I need to take a trip — something to break me out of my normal day-to-day routine. A trip can be anything from simply taking a different route when I walk my dog or getting in the car and driving into Philly to something more exotic like getting on a plane and going somewhere entirely new, like my recent trip to Turks and Caicos.
I also love looking at the work of other iPhoneographers. There are so many artists I admire that I couldn’t possibly list them all, but they are a tremendous source of inspiration to me. Their work feeds my soul! Interestingly, I find myself to be incredibly inspired by artists whose work could be considered the exact opposite of mine — particularly collage artists. Their work inspires me to push beyond my comfort zone and try something new from time to time. One of my recent works, “Fly Away Home” came out of a period of being “stuck”, and the work of these artists gave me the courage to try something new — something completely different from my usual subject matter — and I was overwhelmed by the positive response to that image!
(Fly Away Home)
EC: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
CP: If I could slap my 70-200 zoom lens onto my iPhone, I would be in heaven! I would love to see a high-quality telephoto built in to some future generation of iPhone.
(The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil)
EC: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
CP: I started posting my work at iPhone Art.com (IPA) in December of 2010, and my work has been featured as “Artist of the Day” there three times and I was named “Artist of the Month” in October, 2011. One of my early friends and ardent supporters at IPA was Nacho Cordova, who recently passed away. Nacho introduced me to Eye’em and Flickr, and I will always be grateful to him for his kindness in guiding me toward additional outlets for sharing my work. Since then, I have become a regular contributor to P1xels, (pixelsatanexhibition.com), which is another wonderful community of incredibly talented iPhoneographers. I have had several of my images published there and have received “The Daily Pic” five times. P1xels accepted one of my images into their most recent iPhoneography exhibition at the Giorgi gallery in Berkeley, California, and my image appears on the cover of the exhibition catalog, which is an incredible thrill and honor! I’ve had several images published on Eye’em’s blog in their “Week on Eye’em” feature and most recently on the Life in LoFi:iPhoneography blog in their “Faved on Flickr” showcase. Also through IPA, one of my images was among 20 selected for the first online Photomedia Center show (http://www.photomediacenter.org).
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect my work to be so well-received in the iPhoneography community, and I am surprised and amazed by it. I’ve met some incredibly talented artists from all over the world, and they are a tremendous source of inspiration to me. I am deeply grateful for their kindness, support, encouragement, and friendship. I literally learn something new every day, and I hope to continue growing and becoming a better artist.
EC: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
CP: The thing I hear the most from other artists is that my work is very painterly. In the beginning, I wasn’t happy with that because I considered myself to be a photographer not a painter. I wanted to be Cartier-Bresson not Cezanne. But as I continue to work and find myself drawn to certain subject matter and apping techniques, I realize that my work is very painterly and I now embrace that description. I’ve realized that it’s what I’ve been doing all along, with my Polaroid work etc. For many years, I wanted to learn watercolor, and I have a collection of books by my favorite contemporary watercolorists. I dabbled in the art but just never seemed to have the patience for it. Now, with the help of my iPhone, I am able to express my inner painter and I am very happy with that!
(The Stradivarius Tree)
EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? What are a few of your favorite apps that you’re currently using and which ones don’t you like?
CP: My iPhone camera bag is getting pretty heavy! My primary capture apps are Almost DSLR, Hipstamatic, 6×6, ClassicPan, occasionally SlowShutter, and most recently Lomora2. My favorite apps for processing are Iris Photo Suite, Picture Show, LoMob, ScrachCam, Vintage Scene, Artista Sketch, Artista Oil, PicGrunger, Blurfx, King Camera, Snapseed, Pixlromatic, and Photo Toaster. If I’m feeling stuck or just want to just do something different, I’ll use apps like Wordfoto, Percolator, Tiny Planets, ShockMyPic, and Decim8, but in small doses and always mixed with other apps. I also like Diptic and Juxtaposer. Of all these, Iris Photo Suite is a “go-to” app for me. Right now, I’m using it on just about every image. I try to stay away from apps that don’t allow for high-resolution output.
EC: Where do you see iPhoneography/mobile photography a year from now? A few years from now?
CP: The first digital camera was introduced by Kodak in 1991, a mere 20 years ago, and look how far we’ve come. There is an entire generation of people who have never used a film camera. In a few years, people will say, “Seriously?? People used to shoot pictures with cameras… not phones?” I see it every week at weddings… especially with the twentysomethings, but it goes beyond that. For the most part, people are capturing images with their phones and uploading them instantly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc., etc. Our means and methods of photo sharing have changed forever and it’s just going to keep moving rapidly in that direction.
EC: Do you mind telling us how you have created a recent piece of iPhonographic work from start to finish?
Step #1: The original photo of the four surfers on the beach was captured using Classic Pan.
Step #2: I knew that I wanted this to look like a painting, so I first opened the original image in Artista Sketch. I made a sketch of it using the default filer, but there are many selections to suit your artistic tastes. Artista Sketch is one of my favorite apps. There is such a wide variety of techniques and paper textures etc. which will give you different results.
Step #3: I then opened the original image in BlurFx and blurred out the background. Basically, you take a brush and “clean off” everything you want crisp and leave everything else alone, or blurry. I then applied the median blur filter just because I love the look, but there are other blur choices such as gaussian blur or motion blur, depending upon the look you are trying to achieve. For this image, I used the median blur filter at full strength but there are sliders which allow you to adjust the effect to your personal taste.
Step #4: This is the step where Iris Photo Suite really shines and why it is one of my favorite apps. I first opened the blurred version of the original. I then went to adjustments, layers, and set layer as base. I then opened the sketch version and blend it with the base using adjustments, layers, blend with base. There are a variety of blend choices, so you can basically choose whatever blend mode suits your taste. You can also use the sliders to adjust the strength of the blend. I tend to use Soft Light a lot, and that’s what I used here at 100%. I then added some grunge by using a combination of the grunge filter and the old wood filter.
Step #5: Final image.
( Let’s Go Surfin’ Now)
EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?
CP: I just want to say thank you, Edgar, for this opportunity to share my thoughts and my work with the iPhoneography community! It’s an incredible honor to be featured here at iPhoneogenic. I truly feel as if we are all on a journey of discovery together. It’s a very exciting time for all of us, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
For more on Cindy check out these links:
©2011 All images shown here are copyrighted property of the artist and are published on all iPhoneogenic outlets with the consent of the artist, please contact Cindy Patrick for copyright privileges.