If you have an iPhone, you've likely taken a photo or two (or hundreds) with the device. Maybe you've used an app like Instagram to enhance and share your pictures. Or maybe, like some of the iPhoneographers featured in this gallery, you've used five or more apps to brighten, mute, saturate, blur, or otherwise enhance your images, spending countless hours refining them. Never heard of iPhoneography? It's an up-and-coming mobile art form that's catching the eyes and talents of iPhone-toting established and citizen artists worldwide.
The inaugural LA Mobile Arts Festival -- which runs from this Saturday, August 18, through next Friday, August 25 -- celebrates the present and future of this emerging art form. The festival will feature well over 600 examples of iPhoneography by artists from 30 countries -- prints, mixed-media installations, sculptures, sound and video projects, and more.
Helen Breznik of Toronto uses her iPhone to create dreamy self-portraits, like this one, titled "Lilie Lotus." It was shot on an iPhone 4 and enhanced using Juxtaposer, an app that lets you combine multiple pictures into photomontages quickly and easily, as well as Color Lake, a water effects app.
"iPhoneography has truly opened the door to new possibilities of image-making, allowing me to work more freely and spontaneously without the need to 'sit myself down at a computer,'" Breznik says. Click through our gallery to see more examples of iPhoneography to be featured at the upcoming festival in Santa Monica, Calif. You might just be looking at the next Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz.
"We are all pirates at heart… And which of us wouldn't soar if God had thought there was merit in the idea? So, when we see one of those great widespread pirates soaring across the grain of sea winds, we thrill, and we long, and, if we are honest, we curse that we must be men every day…"
That quote from American wildlife photographer and writer Roger Caras inspired Elizabeth Grilli's series of avian photographs, including this one, "Corsair." The Port Orchard, Wash., photographer used the apps Snapseed, ScratchCam, and BlurFx to create this stunning portrait of flight.
Elodie Hunting of Arnhem, Holland, sees tremendous benefits to iPhoneography. "Because I always have my iPhone with me, I can do it anywhere, anytime," she says, adding that because of that flexibility, "my life has changed, because I can't stop looking for images, wherever I am."
Like the artist featured in the previous slide, Hunting used the photo enhancement app SnapSeed for this shot, as well as Pixrl-o-matic, which adds retro effects to photos.
"Before I start shooting I know exactly what I want from my model," Hunting says. "I know the composition, the light, and the kind of energy I want it to radiate."
Robert Herold of Pecs, Hungary, echoes Hunting's sentiments on mobile photography's pluses, calling it a "perfect opportunity for grasping time. It is unique in that you always have the tools with you to both document and process an image." Like this work by Herold titled "No One Writes on the Colonel," many photos on display at the LA Mobile Arts Festival have a distinctly old-world feel thanks to the plethora of photo-enhancement apps available to photographers.
For this shot, Herold used seven apps, including photo editor Filterstorm and Photogene, a favorite photo-editing app of CNET Download editor and iOS app reviewer Jason Parker.
The LA Mobile Art Festival's being sponsored by iPhoneArt.com, one of a number of online communities of artists dedicated to pioneering and promoting the mobile arts.
Of Jacqueline Gaines' moody "Working Late," a commenter on Gaines' iPhoneArt.com page wrote, "It seems a picture of Edward Hopper, the same melancholic atmosphere. A masterpiece, Jacqueline." Wrote another: "Love love love this piece. Perfect composition, lovely tones, awesome texture."
Gaines, who has a background in textiles and book arts, took a leave from painting for a decade due to family obligations, but found her artistic passion rekindled by the iPhone and iPad. "I quickly found that with these wonderful tools, I no longer had to find time to retreat to my studio to work," she says. "Now I can take my studio with me wherever I have to go ... the park, pool, pediatrician's office, school band concerts, etc."
Gaines says she typically spends an average of 15 hours altering, editing, and "artistically interacting" with her iPhoneography images.
With some of the works featured in the festival, it's tough to tell whether you're looking at a photo or a painting. This trio of shots, titled "Heathen," comes courtesy of Marie Matthews of Atlanta, who describes herself as an artist and occasional computer geek who loves the camera on her iPhone.
The LA Mobile Arts Festival will take place at Santa Monica Art Studios, a 22,000-square-foot historic airplane hangar turned cutting-edge arts studio. It seems appropriate that a massive exhibit featuring this emerging genre of moving pictures would take place in the land where so many filmmaking breakthroughs occurred.
Kimberly Post Rowe used an iPhone 4S to shoot this echinacea that had seen better days, then added several layers using the app Laminar.
The image is part of an installation called Botanica Illuminata that will be on display at the LA Mobile Arts Festival. Artists Post Rowe, Adria Ellis, and Daria Polichetti (co-founder of iPhoneArts.com) printed floral images on backlight film and mounted them inside 32 glass panels of a salvaged 8-foot bay window. Visitors will be able to take in the lyrical stained glass windows sitting on old park bench nearby.
Allan Barnes primarily works with old-school photographic techniques such as the wet-plate collodion process, which involves using coated a glass negative and produces beautifully detailed print. In fact, he doesn't even own an iPhone. The models he works with, however, frequently bring their Apple smartphones to shoots and Barnes started borrowing them to take additional photos once his primary shoots had ended.
"As somebody who works with antique processes, I sometimes get asked if I dislike digital or other modern technology. I don't," Barnes says. "I think that technology is a banquet, and that it is good to sample everything that is on the table. I especially like mixing older and newer technologies."
In this shot, model Nickie Jean Richards holds a morning glory. Barnes used Hipstamatic, an app known for creating retro effects.
In addition to showcasing iPhone art, the LA Mobile Arts Festival will include events like a "Venice Beach Photowalk" and an outing to shoot the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Visitors to the festival will also be able to get tips and tricks from the iPhoneography masters. One panel of mobile photographers, artists, and app developers will take place, appropriately, at the Apple Store at Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade.
Kris Torma of Sydney, Australia, a former film art director, has been shooting photos with his iPhone since the day he bought his first one about 3.5 years ago. He's gotten into the practice more seriously with his second iPhone, an iPhone 4, due to improvements to the camera.
Gilles Perroud of Geneva, Switzerland, took this lush shot with an iPhone 4 and enhanced it using at least five apps. "I love simple landscapes or rural photography with strong emotional effects," he says.
Mike Hill of Orlando, Fla., got into the mobile photography game in August of last year, making him somewhat new to the genre. "Everything I shoot and edit, I do 100 percent iPhone from beginning to end," he says.
Hill took this shot, "Pestilence," in Old Town, an area of Orlando known for its vintage vibe, using an iPhone 4 and the Camera+ app. Later, using an iPhone 4S and several additional apps, he adjusted the brightness, contrast, and saturation of the photograph.
"I like that I have a camera phone, and not a canvas phone," says Hill, who contributes to We Are JUXT, a Web site that promotes mobile photography and the stories behind it. "I'm seeing this art form as the next step in the evolution of photography, I'm curious to see where it goes, but I'm very proud of what it has become so far."