Artist of the Week – Elaine Nimmo | Luxtra

In today’s featured interview we will take you through the thoughts and work of one of the mediums rising talents, Elaine Nimmo. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Elaine in person and I know her to be a shy introvert but her work speaks louder than words as do her generous feedback to others. Her work is truly magical, transcending a sense of mystery and enigmatic portrayals. What a better day (Valintine’s Day) than today to bring you such an artist, I genuinely LOVE her work!

(Day by day you turn to stone)

And now here’s Elaine…

Edi Caves:  Tell me little bit about a yourself, Elanine.

Elaine Nimmo: Well, there’s not that much to tell. I’m married to an artistically talented man, and I love books, art, cats, fog, and warm weather, not necessarily in that order.

I’m originally from the midwest, but my husband and I moved from a small city in New Mexico to Austin, TX, about a year and a half ago. It’s a much larger place than we were accustomed to, with way too much traffic, but other than that we like it here. Sometimes I miss the desert, though! And White Sands, which is an incredibly beautiful place.

(Upside Down)

EC: How did you get into iPhoneography/iPhone Art?

EN: In all honesty, my husband and I bought our iPhones specifically for iPhoneography purposes. I’d been noticing on Flickr more and more iPhone photos, and was intrigued with what was being created. Over time the urge to find out for ourselves what the camera and apps could do became overwhelming, so about a year ago we found our way to an AT&T store. At first we only bought one iPhone which we were trying to share – you can imagine how that worked out! One of us would say, “You can use the iPhone” and the other would reply, “No no, you take it!” when in reality both of us were dying to use it. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before we added another. The phone aspect has always been peripheral to me – it’s my camera, and I never leave home without it.

(Vines Beneath a Bridge)

EC: What does iPhoneography mean to you?

EN: Possibilities, opportunities, a sense of community.  The joy of creating an artwork that began life as a tiny picture on a tiny iPhone.


EC: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that you yourself were blown away by and made you pursue iPhoneography more passionately?

EN: For some reason, I resisted the Hipstamatic temptation at first. Eventually, of course, I succumbed, and soon after that we drove downtown to take photos. Hipstamatic was set on Float film with the Roboto Glitter lens, as I recall, and I was so excited with almost every picture I took (this seems funny now). One of the photos was of a family walking ahead of us (Falling Behind), and I really loved that image in particular. That day really ratcheted up my excitement level! I still like using Hipstamatic as a starting point – it tends to inspire me somehow.

(Falling Behind)

EC: How often do you work on your iPhoneography? Do you spend a numerous amount of time working and reworking your photos?

EN: I would have to say I work on images nearly every day – I have quite a backlog of them now, and need to do some housekeeping as their sheer number is somewhat overwhelming. Opening an app and then scrolling though hundreds, if not thousands, of photos to find the one I want can be time-consuming, not to mention distracting. Often I’ll notice another possibility and start working on that one instead.

There are times when I’ll end up with about a hundred (okay, maybe twenty) versions of an image and then have to decide between them, which can be difficult. I may even decide I don’t like any of them. Then other times an image will almost seem to app itself – those times are a gift!

(Experiments in Invisibility)

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

EN: I’ve never been a Twitter or Instagram user; however, Flickr and iPhoneArt have been invaluable resources for sharing my work. I also recently re-activated my artist page on Facebook. Left to my own devices, I could probably spend the entire day looking at and commenting on photos that have been posted to these various sites, but then I wouldn’t be creating anything myself! There has to be some sort of balance.

(Bedtime Story)

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

EN: I don’t, unless you count one college course in photography and lab – working in the darkroom was a very enjoyable experience. I’ve always enjoyed taking photographs, but about ten years ago it became more of a passion – my husband and I like to visit new places specifically for photography purposes. This year we’re hoping to make it to New Orleans if at all possible.

(After Life)

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

EN: Anything and everything. I’m all over the map, as is probably obvious from my galleries on Flickr and IPA. Mannequins are very intriguing to me; I’ll shoot them any chance I get. If I could find a warehouse full of vintage mannequins, I’d be in heaven! Something I would like to do more of in the future are portraits and images with people in them – I’m in dire need of willing models, however. I so wish the iPhone had been available when my son was young!

I also love working with the Slow Shutter app lately … I’m very drawn to enigmatic, blurry images. The strange, the mysterious, the ambiguous … these types of images appeal to me and that’s a direction I’d like to explore more in the future.

(Vacant Souls)

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

EN: There are many – I have a somewhat eclectic mix of influences. Edwin Gowin, William Eggleston, Richard Misrach (especially his Desert Cantos), Michael Kenna and Sally Mann come to mind. More recently, Francesca Woodman. I also love the photography of Sarah Moon.

As far as iPhoneography goes, I hesitate to name names as they could probably fill a book. My friends and contacts on Flickr and IPA are constant sources of inspiration.  Every day I see something amazing in their streams that stimulates my imagination, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them, including you, Edgar!

(Paper Trees)

EC: Why thank you Elaine! Speaking of inspirations, I consider you an inspiration for sure! So, when we met last summer on an iWalk hosted by Jack Hollingsworth in Austin, TX. I was blown away and honored that you asked me to shoot and edit an image on your iPhone 4. I found the experience special and genuine. Talk to me about the experience of connecting with people through the means of our passion, iPhoneography.

EN: I was truly honored that you agreed to do that, and it was fascinating to watch you in action, as it were.  From your asking your young subject to move his head a certain way, to the way you knew exactly which apps would fulfill your vision of the completed image … it was a valuable learning experience. Thank you for sharing that with me!

The iWalk was the first time I’d connected with other iPhoneographers in a physical sense, although I’ve “met” many people online over the past year that I’ve grown to consider friends. I find it amazing that we’re able to connect with artists all over the world in such an intimate way. I’ve found the iPhoneography community to be a generous one, very willing to share ideas, apps, and even techniques. The iPhoneography Central site comes to mind.

(By Littlefield Fountain)

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?

EN: I tend to be overly critical of my work and can become frustrated if something doesn’t turn out the way I think it should. This can lead me into a downward spiral which can be hard to break out of. So I try to take a complete break – read a book, clean house, do something mindless. Then I’ll go see what others have been posting, and soon find myself drawn back into the creative flow.

(Rock art figure open to interpretation)

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

EN: There’s the inability to shoot from afar – I think sometime in the future I’d like to invest in that 8x zoom lens that’s available. Overall, it seems to me the opportunities of the iPhone far outweigh its challenges.

(Peripheral Vision)

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

EN: As far as iPhoneography goes, my work has appeared online in Pixels at an Exhibition, Life in Lofi’s Faved on Flickr, Apps Uncovered at iPhoneography Central and, of course, iPhoneogenic. One of my works was included in the FX Photo Studio exhibition at New York’s Soho Gallery for Digital Art this past December. Recently – and this amazed me – I was one of the twenty finalists in the IPA Grant Award competition. This year I plan to start seriously watching for places to submit to, now that I’m feeling more confident about my work. To answer your question, I can’t say I was expecting my work to be noticed, but it does make me happy that some people seem to like it.

(In City Dreams)

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

EN: Amazement that such artistic works can be created on a mobile device. On the other hand, a neighbor recently asked me why I never take “regular” pictures (he meant straight out of the camera, be it the iPhone or my DSLR). The answer to that, I guess, would be I enjoy the creative process itself, using a photograph as a starting point for something more. I like that even with my DSLR, and with the wide variety of creative apps available for the iPhone, I’m not about to change my ways. Unless, of course, a certain photo seems best as is.

(Girl in a Dress)

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?

EN: My favorite apps right now for shooting are Hipstamatic, Lomora2, Squara, and Slow Shutter. For editing – and this is always subject to change – I favor Snapseed, Luminance, Pixlromatic, Photocopier, ScratchCam, Iris Photo Suite, Camera+, Filterstorm, and many more.

I tend to shy away from apps that don’t save at full resolution; those are my least favorite apps.

(The Friend We Never Had)

EC: Where do you see iPhoneography/mobile photography in the future?

EN: I see it becoming much more accepted and mainstream – this is already happening. My husband and I attended the “Art From the iPad” show last March at Austin Details Art + Photo; we were so new to the idea then and just blown away by what was being created (and by the iPads on the walls of the gallery rather than framed art). Bottom line, it’s just another way for an artist to express his or her self.  It’s all good.

(Weighing the Alternatives)

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

EN: The image I’ve chosen is Explorations into the Interior. It was captured with the Slow Shutter app at a recent Architects of Air luminaria exhibit here in Austin. Since I was hand-holding the iPhone it’s pretty blurry, but that’s the effect I was going for. The steps I’m using might seem a bit familiar since I’ve been experimenting with the technique Cindy Patrick shared during your interview with her! (She was even generous enough to app one of my photos in a personal tutorial.)

Step 1:  The first thing I wanted to do was lose the psychedelic colors so I opened the image in Snapseed and converted it to black & white. Using the Tune Image filter, I further adjusted the brightness, contrast and ambience settings to my liking. The head of the figure in the foreground, which in the original image almost appeared to be on backwards, nearly vanished in the conversion – what was left seemed to be floating in midair, and I was pleased with that effect.

Step 2:  Someone was lying down behind the woman and his or her stretched out leg was disturbing so I took the image into TouchRetouch and removed it. This is my favorite app for such purposes – I tend to favor the results of the lasso option, followed by those of the clone tool. In this case, the lasso tool worked out fine.

Step 3:  I then opened that version of the image in Artista Sketch and experimented with the controls and the paper background until I was satisfied with the result. Adjusting the sliders in this app (for outline accuracy and strength, for example) can make a huge difference in the effects. I like it when the lines are visible in the finished image, as if I’ve scribbled on it, so that was the look I was going for.

Step 4:  The images from Step 2 and Step 3 were then combined in Iris Photo Suite using one of the blending modes; I tend to use either normal or soft light.

Step 5:  Still in Iris Photo Suite, I applied the “grunge” filter in the “grunge” category after experimenting with a few others.

Step 6:  After cropping the image the tiniest bit because I didn’t like how one edge looked, I adjusted the RGB color balance to achieve a more blue-green hue and that was it!


EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?

EN: I’d just like to say thank you for asking me to do this interview!

EC: The pleasure is enitrly mine, thank you Elaine!

Thank you once again, Elaine, for participating in this feature here on iPhoneogenic, our Facebook Page, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to get to know more about you and honored to have you share your work here on the blog.

For more on Elaine check out these links:


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 Elaine Nimmo for copyright privileges.

Published by: Edi Caves. 02/14/2012

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