Featured Artist – Maddy McCoy | The Real McCoy

Maddy “The Real” McCoy is definitely just that, the real deal! A resident of Fairfax County, Virginia, McCoy has a plethora of material to work with to create masterful mobile art. McCoy’s images reflect the rich heritage of her surroundings while adding drama that’s compelling to the story. Although most of of her recent work may seem dark and eeire they are full of life and craftsmanship. Maddy is a special artists and definitely a break out super star of 2012. Along with her many accomplishment, McCoy will be one of the many featured artists at this years inaugural LA Mobile Arts Festival.

This Is What It Is 1

Without futher ado, Maddy McCoy…

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

MM: I was born at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia and I grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs. I also spent many of my formative years living in Israel and I moved to London in my early 20s to attend University. I met my husband in London and our son was born there. We have been living in Fairfax, Virginia for the past ten years. I am professional genealogist and an historian for my county’s Historic Resources Branch. We are currently excavating a lost colonial port town on The Potomac River. My true love is the study of slavery and the genealogical and historical reconstruction of anti-bellum and immediate post-bellum African American communities. I love historic cemeteries. You can often find me in a cemetery.


EC: How did you get into mobile photography/iPhoneography?

MM: I got my first iPhone four years ago and I started keeping a blog called Historic Wanderings. The blog is basically a visual diary of all the historic sites that I visit. They are often places that are threatened by modern life and expanding development. The iPhone has allowed me to easily capture and record these sites. It was only last spring that I started looking at some of these photos in a different light. I had started to move beyond recordation. I was viewing things differently, I was changing.

Sand Hill

EC: What does mobile photography/iPhoneography mean to you?

MM: Freedom. Spontaneity. Creativity. Accountability.

The White Camellia

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

MM: My father takes photos of flowers wherever he goes. He has a huge collection of flower photos from all over the world. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my first iPhoto that really made me stop and ponder was one of flowers. The app I used was The Tiffen Company’s Cool FX.

My First Flower

EC: Your images encompass many elements from layering textures and figures to shadows and graphics. Can you talk to me about the elaborate production behind your work?

MM: I am attracted to texture, layers and collage. I love the idea of weaving a tapestry, in life and in art.


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

MM: I take pictures everyday. Everyday. It doesn’t necessarily matter of what; as I simply enjoy the process and the creative outlet. I have a few different levels of processing that I utilize. Some of my photos go through zero post-production because all of the contemplation was done on the front end of the process. I usually shoot with Hipstamatic so I can choose lens and film options in real time. I spend a lot of time thinking about and sizing up an environment and deciding how I want to shoot it. I like Hipstamatic because I can often match my mood with the mood of the current environment and simply take the shot and leave it at that.


Other times I will utilize an app or several apps in post-production to manipulate an image. This is moving more towards the mobileart part of the spectrum.

Manassas Landscape of Conflict

The next level of post-production is really what I would call “Mobileart”. I am choosing to reconfigure the image into something that is more abstract.

Jerusalem Baptist Church 2

I utilize all of these techniques. It simply depends on what the image wants and what I want from the image.

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

MM: I have a love/dislike relationship with Instagram. I use it. I find the bigger it gets, the less I enjoy it but I do think it will continue to be important to have a presence there. I find myself becoming much more active on EyeEm because it is more intimate. I tend to use Facebook for family and friends; Twitter is really only used for work. I’m currently very intrigued by the possibilities of Pinterest. I prefer to try to properly cultivate the few platforms that I am currently using than to have a weak presence all over the web. The technology world moves very quickly and there always seems to be a new platform to jump onto. I love to read about it and follow what’s going on, but simply put, I am never going to be the first person jumping, I will be the fifth or sixth.

The White Rose 2

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

MM: No, only what I learned from my father.

Observing The Observer

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

MM: I love landscape. I am very attracted to sacred spaces. I love people. I like to do self-portraits as a kind of visual journal.

Facebook Check

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 iPhoneographers to be re-inspired?

MM: When I’m in a creative block, I happily walk away for a while. I will still take photos but I won’t touch them. We all need a visual break from time to time, the brain needs to absorb, process and retune itself for the next phase.

The iPhoneographers that I currently inspire me the most are Eric Dijkstra, Paula Gardener, Malcome Brumet and Cindy Patrick.

I Come From This

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

MM: Each iPhone camera keeps getting better, so I’m hopeful that the future will bring more improvements to zoom and resolution capabilities.

The End of Childhood

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

MM: My real turning point was when I joined iphoneart.com in September of 2011; a whole new world was opened to me. Since then I have been featured in The iPhoneArts Weekly Showcase, Apps Uncovered on iPhoneography Central, ScratchCam Flickr Faves, Through The Lens of an iPhone on iPhoneography.com, Faved on Flickr iPhoneography Showcase on lifeinlofi.com, several of iPhoneogenic’s Top Monthly Collections, The App Whisperer’s Flickr Group Showcase – Mobile Photography and Imagery, P1xels: The Art of the iPhone, Behind The Lens on ThePhotoblender.com, Ampteam.org, and several other websites.

My work has been exhibited at The Overpass Gallery in Loano, Italy and The Lunch Box Gallery in Miami, Florida. I have exhibited in the online gallery twice at The Kiernan Gallery in Lexington, Virginia. Last December, one of my images was chosen for the International iPhoneography Show at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York. That was fun, because we all piled into a car and drove up to see it.

Shenandoah Ruin received an Honorable Mention in the Landscape Category at the 2012 IPPA (iPhone Photography Awards).

Shenandoah Ruin

But the first recognition I received from the greater iPhoneography community (outside of iPhoneart.com) was when my Lady Liberty photo was featured in iPhoneogenic’s Top 31 for December 2011.

Lady Liberty

EC: Really? I’m glad to hear that Maddy!

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

MM: I show my photos on Fotoblur.com because I like to add the iPhoneography element to the more traditional photography sites. I have gotten very positive feedback, but it is sometimes tinged with some amazement and disbelief that “this was made on a phone”…

Potomac Arch

EC: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? What are a few of your favorite apps that you’re currently using at the moment?


645 Pro
iColorama S


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

MM: There will be bumps in the road, but I think mobile photography is the future.

Window Aphrodite

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

MM: Sure

My friend Simone and I went to see “Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum. I took this photo, using Camera+, of Simone’s silhouette in the “Lay Down, Tune In” installation. When choosing a photo to work on, I often gravitate towards an image with a strong figure. I love Simone’s silhouette here: her handbag, the iPhone in her hand, her hair. She looks poised, confident, ready, and on the verge of movement.

I continue with the Camera+ app for editing, I enable the “flash” option and turn the photo to black and white.

I’m pleased with how this looks and continue.

The next step is to bring the photo into the PictureShow app and fiddle with the size of the image. I crop the image down a bit more.

Still in PictureShow, I choose the MultiExposureBlack option so I can double expose Simone’s silhouette.

Moving on…

I then move the photo through some of PictureShow’s Style Editing options. I settle on Halation 2 light effect, TV Screen texture effect, I choose not to use a frame.

This is how the photo looks with all PictureShow Style Editing options in place.

I bring the photo into the ScratchCam FX app. I’m extremely lucky to currently be beta testing the new ScratchCam update, as I adore the app and use it on just about everything I create. I add texture and changed the color to a rich brown.

Simone Image 10:

Next I decide to have a go with the new Popsicolor app. This app came out last month and has been very popular in the iPhoneart community. It’s been sitting on my iPhone, unused, because I don’t often tend to go towards bright pastel colors in my images. But, stylistically, I like what it’s capable of producing and I keep hoping that the developer will add black, grey and cream color options in the future. (I know, I wouldn’t find a dark grey popsicle appetizing either, and the dark tones kinda defeat the whole fun-poppy-color purpose of the app. So maybe the developer could make another app for us lovers of the dark? The Moody Popsicle? The Chocolate Torte? The Hot Cocoa Soufflé with Buttercream Ice Cream? I haven’t eaten dinner yet, can you tell?) I use the Horchata and Cola color options and the Natural Focus option. I’m impressed with what the app produces and decide to blend the Popsicolor and ScratchCam images together.

I bring the ScratchCam image and the Popsicolor image together in the Blender app, slightly infusing some of the ScratchCam image’s texture into the Popsicolor image.

Now I realize that I really want the image to be black and white, not the grey-dark brown gradation I currently am working with. I bring the pic into the VSCO CAM app. My friend and fellow iPhoneographer Malcome Brumet introduced me to this app, and he SWEARS by black and white option “02”. Alas, I feel that option “01” is preferable for this image.

One last round through ScratchCam (for luck :))

I still feel that the photo needed a bit more oomph to it. I run it through the Textures+ app and add one of the Concrete options. Textures+ is a pretty new app and so far I’m impressed by it.

The Popsicolor app has left a white frame around the image and I want to take this away. I upload the photo one last time into Camera+ and crop the frame off.

All of the apps that I am utilizing do a good job at retaining and or improving upon the resolution of the original photo. This is very important for the quality of the final image and I have tweaked some of my app choices over the last few months to reflect this. Gone is my beloved Iris app, as it simply does not do the image resolution justice on the iPhone 4s. But, newcomers like the Texture+ and Wood Camera apps are filling in some gaps.

Final image. I’m very pleased. I really love how the entire image has softened and become more abstract. Simone is still standing in all of her majesty but she has now evolved into a more mature image.


EC: Wow Maddy that was a very intense process. Quite impressive to say the least!

EC: What other thoughts would you like to share?

MM: I’m very appreciative for this opportunity.

As If

Thank you Maddy, 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 Maddy 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 Maddy McCoy for copyright privileges.


6 responses to “Featured Artist – Maddy McCoy | The Real McCoy

  1. Nice images – would be nice if the publisher of this site would publish the apps used under each image…great work~


  2. Wonderful interview Madds and Edi! It was really great to learn a little more about you Maddy. You know what a huge fan I am of your work. Wish I could have met up with you in LA. Hopefully another time.


  3. Pingback: iPhoneographer: Maddy McCoy | shutterhedge·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s