On monday 5th Sept I attended the #MissPixels talk at the Apple store in Regent St.
Miss Pixels had contacted me several weeks earlier to let me know she was coming to UK and to ask if we could meet up for a photo walk in London. Unfortunately that never happened but during our discourse she managed to organise doing her talk at Apple and, of course, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go along and meet a fellow iPhoneographic artist.
She started by introducing herself and her background. #MissPixels has two degrees, one in art and another in graphic design and she considers herself a conceptual artists who works in acrylics and mixed media. Her day job is as a self employed graphic designer whose work is in use all over the world with many major clients. She does not consider herself a photographer. In 2009 she used her iphone to take a picture of a friends car and was not happy with the colour, typical graphic designer, so she found an app to alter the image and suddenly became hooked on using her iphone to create her art. She sees the iphone as the medium she uses to convey her conceptual art. Her high point so far was this 4th July when MoMa, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, tweeted out one of her images to their quarter of a million followers. For MissPixels this was a defining moment as the very fact MoMa had tweeted an iPhone image meant that they had accepted iPhoneography as a valid art form.
One of the high points of the presentation for me was when she showed a 2 minute video she had created which showed her art (iphonographic) and hashtags to music. It was very powerful and pretty compelling to view. I now need to find someone to do something similar for myself, seriously!
After the video she went through some of the apps she uses and talked about her creative ideas, how she makes an image and how ideas sometimes come to her. This involved before and after shots with a little explanation of the steps involved in achieving them. It was all interesting stuff. For me personally I found her images where there was a commonality of processing styles very beautiful and compelling. She has this thing she does where she uses striking compositional images and then floods them with grain to make the subject almost disappear in to a sea of noise. Sounds weird but is actually quite beautiful and her “Bono day” pics are very entertaining.
During the Q+A afterwards some interesting stuff came out. Many folk were asking about how she controlled the light in the taking of the shots or how she handled the poor ability of the phones camera in low light. The answers were at times interesting and at times obvious. For MissPixels the low light capabilities of the phone actually helped her to form the idea for one of her series of images. The noise in the pictures she decided to amplify and use for effect and that is where the idea sprung from for the noise/grain series she has. On the question of how does she expose for the light she wants the answer was, she doesn’t. She is not a photographer. She sees moments or compositions she likes and just takes the image, knowing that she will be able to manipulate the work later to get the feel she wants.
What did I learn from all this. Well, I learned that as well as being a photographer I also appear to be a bit of a conceptual artist. I had never considered that or rather I had never understood that. I see subjects as I walk around and I thick of them almost immediately as the end product I want after processing. Sometimes the end process is just a nice aesthetically pleasing image but other times it’s a completely different idea from the original photograph. Both are probably art but one is so removed from the original reality, motivated by an idea in my head, that I guess that would be considered conceptual? I need to look in to this more!
The consistency of her work really inspired me. While many of her series look different in styles the one thing they have that I do not yet I think, is a consistency. The bed jumping series are all processed the same, the noise/grain series etc. Although I have series of images all processed in the same way at same time on same day I tend to focus on one image from the set that I end up showing. I think, going forward I will look at things slightly differently.
A great night out anyway and I always love meeting someone who is confident in their abilities and who is willing to share ideas and their thoughts. It’s always pretty inspirational. I hope to catch up with MissPixels again, either in Europe or back in her hometown of Montreal. If you want to see more of her work you can find her contact info below