Artist of the Week – Carlein B. | @CarleinB

This week’s artist is none other than Carlein!
She is one of the premier artists working in the medium of iPhoneography today. Carlein’s work has earned her many accolades in such a relatively short period of time, from gallery shows in the U.S. to exhibitions throughout Europe. From the moment I laid eyes on Carlein’s work (almost a year ago) I knew she was a special talent. She possesses many unique qualities and techniques that set her apart from other artists. Carlein also uses her past experiences in other art forms to interpret her masterful iPhone art into visionary gold.

(la dame aux camélias)

Please join me as we take a closer look at Carlein’s work and thoughts…

Edgar C: How did you get into iPhoneography?

Carlin B: I was in a store to buy an iPod and the salesman started to tell about the iPhone as well. He studied graphic design and showed me the work he made on his iPhone. From that moment on I was sold. I had to buy one for myself. Luckily my contract with my service provider was ending soon and in December of 2009 the iPhone 3Gs was mine. It literally never left my hands since that day.

(free spirit)

EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?

CB: I have been working with my iPhone every day since that moment in December; taking pictures, processing and getting to know all the different apps. At first, I bought a lot of apps that were related strictly to photography. In January of 2010, I started a project I called “iPhone Queens and Kings”. It’s a series of images inspired by the silent movie stars of the 1930s. Everything really started with that series. I became more and more familiar with the apps, along with all the possibilities and combinations that work well for me.

What I love about iPhoneography is that everything is done with the iPhone from taking the pictures, to editing…everything. I like the pureness of it. Everything can be done with that little phone/computer.

I work on my images every day, spend a fair amount of time on different sites where I post to see new work and get inspired and of course to enjoy the social aspect. Through iPhoneography I have met some wonderful people who became good friends as well. I’ve already met some of them in person, and I will be meeting more of them in the near future!


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

CB: Yes, I took my iPhone with me to Texel, a dutch island where I often spend the Christmas holidays. I started working with a combination of apps and layered one lomora shot with a lo-mob shot. I loved the result.

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

CB: My background is painting, abstracts, and mixed media. At the art academy where I studied, I was also able to take photography classes. It was analogue of course; black and white, developing your own film, the work in the dark room. I switched to digital only about 10 years ago.


EC: What types of subjects do you like to shoot?

CB: Anything I come across that I find interesting or that inspires me. That ranges from movies, poems, and song lyrics. I’m also inspired by what I see around me, including: nature, people, windows, reflections, posters…anything I can use for my layered images or diptychs.

I work on projects from time to time to avoid getting stuck in a “one trick pony” style. For instance simple photography, with one app, no post-processing. Currently I am working on a series called, “living temporarily in suburbia”, shot with Lomora 2. At the moment I am between houses and countries, (I will leave Holland next year), and am living temporarily in an apartment in an area of The Hague where I normally wouldn’t want to be found dead. Rather than focus on how ugly my surroundings are, I am trying to capture the beauty that is undeniably there as well. Another example is my series “Drive and Shoot” (don’t try this at home). I use slowshutter while driving and often rework those pictures with textures.

(living temporarily in suburbia)

EC: Who inspires you? Who are your artistic influences?

CB: Let’s start with the cliché, too many to mention but some of my favorite photographers are: Lisette Model, Sanne Sannes, Brassaí, Kertesz, Bresson, Robert Frank, Anton Corbijn. Painters including: Rothko, Tapies, Rembrandt, Emil Nolde, Constant, and Morandi. Architects such as: Calatrava, Hundertwasser, Berlage, and Rietveld. Also music, from jazz to Motown, and from Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Mink DeVille, Frank Zappa to Philip Glass.

(dismanteling the wrong connection)

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

CB: I use Flickr as my website as most of my work is posted there, both iPhone and DSLR. I started there 3 years ago and continue to enjoy the site very much. With every site you post on, it takes a lot of time to find your way around in the beginning as you work to become acquainted with the people there and groups you like as you get settled. I also  post on and Instagram. I recently deleted my accounts on some other sites. It takes a lot of time to manage multiple sites if you don’t want to just “dump and run.” I would like to thank the people who take the time and trouble to visit my streams.

Social media is a great way to meet like-minded people, get inspired, learn new techniques, keep in touch with what is happening and what I love to do which is to collaborate with others.  I have been doing collaborations since I joined Flickr, and it is a great way to work with images of others. This mostly involves work you usually wouldn’t make yourself, or working with pictures you are not able or not inclined to shoot yourself. And as I said earlier, this has allowed me to meet some wonderful people I would otherwise never have met!


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?

CB: I am hardly ever stuck. Sometimes it’s more the frustration of having too many ideas. In the very very few occasions I get stuck, I handle it the same as when painting, I just keep going. If it doesn’t work with one piece, I just start another. Sometimes I let it rest for a while. Sometimes I get a sudden flash of inspiration and am able to finish the piece. Sometimes it just dies then and there.

(Gene’s song)

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

CB: To me there are no challenges, only opportunities. I love the fact I always have it with me. It weighs next to nothing. It is inconspicuous. I can handle it with one hand. I can choose the camera app I want without changing cameras. No lugging around lenses. And that only covers the aspect of shooting. It is amazing that I can edit when and where I like and that there are millions of possibilities I can choose from. The very “limitation” of it all sparks the huge challenge to be creative, to think outside the box, to get what you want. You can often find me sitting or lying on the ground, or kneeling, just to get the light, reflection, or framing I’m after. All other matters aside, iPhoneography certainly helps keep me flexible!

(dead souls)

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

CB: Did I ever expect to be noticed? No. I have never advertised my work and I don’t have my own website. Even so, my work has really been noticed for the past year. My work has been featured on some sites and blogs, and I have been featured in interviews, as well, Greg Schmigel was the first to approach me on Flickr. I first exhibited some work in galleries in Santa Ana, Berkeley, and Los Angeles.  The big break came when I was invited to participate in Eyephoneography #2 in Madrid this past May. Ten of my pieces where shown in Madrid with 3 other iPhoneographers (Jordi V. Pou, Matt Burrows, and Stefano Giogli). The event got a lot of press coverage in El Mundo, El Pais, Playboy, and on television. That was was followed by the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival, an exhibit with Eric De Fino, Richard Koci Hernandez, Dan Cristea, Sion Fullana, Anton Kawasaki, Keith Weaver, and Giacomo Por. For the festival, our work was printed on aluminum.

Concurrent to that festival, Mobile Eyephoneography was launched. This involves the work of Eyephoneography #1 and #2 traveling around Spain with stops in eight major cities.

In February 2012, I will be featured (with 5 other iPhoneographers) in Latitudes, an international photography festival held annually in Huelva, Spain. This is a major breakthrough where photography will be mixed with iPhoneography on a museum level. Latitudes hosts works by renowned photographers, including Magnum greats such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Doisneau, just to name a few. I’m sure you can understand that this is more than a huge honour!

At the moment, I am also working on an iPhone book that will be published in spring 2012 by National Geographic. It’s another huge honour. iPhoneography has treated me very well :-))

(rolling in the deep)

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

CB: Predictable reaction: it can’t be that this image is made with and edited with an iPhone. I remember from the Eyephoneography #2 exhibition that some of the press people thought they were at the wrong place. They expected snapshots and not the work they saw. Surprisingly, at the same opening I was speaking with someone and she kept calling my images “paintings” instead of photographs. I considered that a wonderful compliment. Given the nature of my multi-layered work, I like the notion that I paint with photographs.

(frame of mind)

EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag? What are a few of your favorite apps that you’re currently using and which ones don’t you like?

CB: Once an addict to buying new apps daily, I am now pretty much settled with my apps. My main apps for editing are Filterstorm, PhotoFX, Superimpose, Noir, Scratchcam, Pixlromatic, KingCamera, Straighten, Squaready and MagicHour. For shooting, they include SlowShutter, Lomora 2, Cameramatic and ProCamera.

More than saying there are apps I don’t like, I could express that I don’t care for the way some people use some apps. The “press one button and you have a Monet apps” don’t get me very excited. BUT, you can always blend in some of the achieved result in an existing picture to positive effect. So, every app has it’s possibilities.

(heartbreak hotel)

EC: Where do you see iPhoneography/mobile photography a year from now? A few years from now?

C: I think it will exist for some time to come. More and more sites are emerging and still growing, there will be more shows, books and conferences.  I can’t predict what might happen a few years from now. We can only guess. Maybe the big brands like Nikon and Canon will incorporate apps in their DSLRs, or the mobile phones get bigger with changeable lenses…who knows?

(the struggle)

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

CB: I’d love to show the work flow of Mr. Henry, a collaboration I did with Alan Kastner. He shot the original photo and I reworked it. The workflow isn’t too difficult and easy to follow. I use a stylus to work on the iPhone, especially for blending and cloning it is much more refined to work with.

Workflow for the collaboration with Alan Kastner:

STEP 1       This is the original, unedited JPEG from Alan straight off the iPhone.

STEP 2       Next, I opened the picture in Squaready for a crop.

STEP 3       I got rid of the unwanted background in ReTouch. Didn’t work too secure as I know I wanted to work with textures later on.

STEP 4       In GrungeTastic I applied some of the texture I liked, in a soft colour. GrungeTastic offers a great variety so everybody can get what he/she likes. In this case I went for the Classic folder and picked Grunge 5 in style. Next I went to “adjust” and played a bit with the sliders and changed the blue into black. The borders are a bit too much for me, so I skipped those.

STEP 5       I didn’t like the texture to be covering his face, so I opened the picture I got after step 3 in Noir and made it black and white. I also opened the one with the Grungetastic texture and made it black and white as well.

STEP 6       I opened both pictures I got after step 5 in Filterstorm in filters, double exposure. I set the Brush to an average size, Softness nearly full  to soft and the opacity halfway. I blended in most of the texture but made sure to keep his face untouched.

STEP 7      In KingCamera I added some extra texture and played with the sliders a bit so it wouldn’t be too obvious.

STEP 8      Superimpose is fantastic for merging two pictures together. it has the possibility to make a picture bigger or smaller, flip and rotate it and of course the many filters with sliders to change the look of the layering. I opened the result I got after step 7 and picked one of my own textures (I usually try a few different ones to see which one works best and will give me the result I want) I liked the result, but it lacked contrast so I needed to run it through one more app.

STEP 9      PhotoFX is one of my preferred apps. It offers a lot of filters and possibilities. Mr. Henry got first of all – in image – autocorrected to lose the brownish tone that it got from adding the texture. The final step was playing with the sliders in “colour correct” to give it more contrast and colour.

STEP 10      The title of the picture is after Tom Wait’s song: Mr. Henry

EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?

CB: Edi, a big huge thank you for this opportunity! Truly honoured and I appreciate it very much!

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

For more on Carlein check out these links:

Instagram: @ilein
Twitter: @CarleinB

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 Carlein for copyright privileges.

Published by: Edgar C. 01/09/2012


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