eyephonography iphonography exhibition

Sion Fullana, Greg Schmigel, MissPixels and Marco La Civita, invited photographers to the inaugural eyephoneography show

Linking the digital world back to the physical one and supporting an emerging way of taking and sharing pictures that tell unique stories: this is the goal of eyephoneography. The first exhibit of this initiative will be launched next September in Spain aiming to promote mobile photography by offering various interaction opportunities for photographers and their audiences.

This initial show features the work of four international iPhoneographers: Greg Schmigel, Marco La Civita, Miss Pixels, and Sion Fullana.

eyephonography #1 opens September 17, 2010 at The Hub in Madrid, Spain. You can visit eyephoneography.com and follow us via RSS, the project’s Facebook page or Twitter @eyephoneography.

I’ve reprinted the most recent press release in it’s entirety below. It’s a long but interesting read with good history and insights from the four selected iPhoneographers.

From reality to the Web and back: Mobile photography takes (physical) form in Spain

The art of mobile photography arrives to Spain next September thanks to an initiative that seeks to promote this way of photographing with the final goal of establishing lasting connectionsbetween the community of mobile photographers, virtual until now, and its Spanish audience.

Linking the digital world back to the physical one and supporting an emerging way of taking and sharing pictures that tell unique stories: this is the goal of eyephoneography. The first exhibit ofthis initiative will be launched next September in Spain aiming to promote mobile photography by offering various interaction opportunities for photographers and their audiences.

What began a few years ago as an innovative way of capturing and sharing images via mobile telephones continues to attract people and it has even been featured in specialized magazines such as American Photo Magazine (see article in the November 2009 issue). Until now, these photographers have gathered in a virtual community characterized by an impressively strong commitment toward this new photographic vision and beautiful images. “I was captivated by how fast these photographers create and share their work as well as by the power of the images captured by such a “rudimentary” shooting tool”, states Rocío Nogales-Muriel, the person incharge of the first show of this kind in Spain.

Some critical voices have already pointed out the limited quality of the images produced by mobile telephones (the highest resolution allowed by the most popular tool among mobile photographers, the iPhone, goes between 2 and 3.2 megapixels). Despite this criticism, this type of photography offers a fresh example of contemporary modes of artistic creation, reception and interaction due to the presence of innovative elements such as the portability of the all-in-one shooting, processing and communication tool present in a mobile telephone, the existence of a highly involved virtual community on the reception side or the immediacy of sharing the results with this community.

Four professionals from various backgrounds and profiles connected to the photography world but independent from it joined the organizer when making the final image selection for eyephoneography #1. Michel Bricteux, diplomat and photographer experienced in cultural programming; Cayetana de la Quadra Salcedo, architect from a well-respected Madrid-based firm with extensive experience in architectural renovation and cultural cooperation; Sally GutiérrezDewar, video-artist and director of creative documentaries; and Darren Milligan, web and interactive designer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC (USA). This juried selection process will be extended for upcoming eyephoneography shows to the mobile photographers’ community.

Based on the number of blogs, pages and groups appearing daily on the Web devoted to this topic, we will witness a boom in this type of photographic creation. Why the move to the off-line world then? Eyephoneography’s bet is to strengthen the connection between the on- and off-line realities, offering the possibility of enjoying these images in a print format, which continues to offer an unmatched aesthetic experience. By so doing, new audiences are developed while the on-line links are reinforced via off-line interactions. “The incorporation of the physical aspect into the experience of mobile photography – evoked by the eye in eyephoneography – reconnects this photographic content originally conceived for the digital world with the physical one”, explains Nogales-Muriel.

However, the objective of the project is not to enter into the discussion of what constitutes the “real” or whether this type of photography can be considered as “art”. According to Gutiérrez Dewar, “an exceptional aspect of this community is how amateur and professional photographers live in the same virtual space without prejudices as long as they can experiment, share and learn from each other. If your images are good, then you will attract a group, most of them photographers as well, who will send its constructive feedback. It does not matter who is the most selling or shown photographer, just the images that s/he can create and their potential to be engaging”. This “leveling effect” could be considered as one of the major innovations of mobile photography and it offers a refreshing alternative to the institutionalized artistic creation.

Indeed, notions such as accessibility and community are at the heart of eyephoneography, which opens up the door to collaborations with interested individuals and community groups. “The project was born with the general objective of sharing, learning and multiplying the stories told,the aesthetic experiences offered via the pictures, and the activities that put forward the potential of art and photography in general to contribute to the sustainable development of individuals and cities”, adds de la Quadra Salcedo.

Four representatives of mobile photographers have been invited to participate in this inaugural eyephoneography show. The only native Spanish and professional photographer included in the exhibit, Sion Fullana, lives in New York and can be considered together with another invited artist,Greg Schmigel, pioneer in this type of photography. They do “street photography” and were two of the four mobile photographers included in the above mentioned American Photo Magazine article. Fullana focuses his peculiar look on the urban reality of New York City, which acquires a powerful halo of mystery and admiration. Out of this unique stage emerge familiar but unrepeatable topics and subjects surrounded by a delicate chromatic selection. In Fullana’s words, “one of my biggest assets is how passionate I am with what I do, and I recommend some of that to everyone! It’s not about snapping shots of everything that looks cute. It’s about putting effort, patience and love into developing an eye for subjects or situations that will make a compelling picture, one that has something to say or can express a feeling. His homonymous page was one of the first to show mobile photography next to his traditional production and it quickly became an influential platform from where he inspired hundred of followers worldwide.

The other mobile photography pioneer, Greg Schmigel, offers to those passionate about American cities and photography the chance to enjoy the heart beat of these urban jungles through his black and white images in his blog “Just what I see”. These images evoke frozen frames from noir films or comic strips that form our visual memory while inviting us to observe without being observed; to live a moment captured and exposed before our eyes thank to the expertise of someone who describes his photographic creation as a personal therapy. “I don’t set out to produce art, per se. There’s something special and unique about shooting street. It’s real. It’s true. It’s slices of life as we see it … and many times, slices of life as the rest of us miss it”, whispers Schmigel.

Behind the nickname MissPixels hides Isabelle Gagné, the third photographer included in eyephoneography #1. This Canadian graphic designer builds images with impossible topics,angles and compositions taken out of a fairy tale dream, all of them wrapped in textures so plastic that they evoke the materiality of painting. “Be it for my illustrations, my paintings or my iphoneographies, I choose consciously to modify, to alter the regular order of colors by making them explode. I make the basic colors vibrate, contrast and burst. In my iphoneographies, the images are captured spontaneously; I look openly for a pictorial accident. I then amplify this circumstance as if it were developed chemically. Only my chemical substances are the apps, explains MissPixels about her work.

The work of Marco La Civita, the fourth eyephoneography #1 photographer, has been featured in off-line shows devoted to mobile photography. Italian-born and based in Madrid, he is an aeronautics scientist who has been taking pictures for many years. The difference is that now he dares to share his images with other mobile photographers and the rest of the world thanks to his iPhone. In his iPhoneblography blog, La Civita posts only “photos shot, processed, and uploaded with an iPhone”. “Someone said that my photography is a ‘chromatic and compositional research’. Touching the chromatic and compositional sensibility of other people is my aim”, muses La Civita about his work. His pictures are the result of a curiosity for the objects and textures that inhabit our streets, whose aesthetic and symbolism he captures. Against this special backdrop, La Civita poses his eye upon revealing details, unthinkable angles and secret relationships among our everyday objects.

The impacting and yet personal work of these talented creators will be shown for the first time in Spain at the Hub Madrid. This new space was born a few months ago in a renovated garage with the goal of inspiring, connecting and supporting professionals working for a better world, also known as social innovators. This exceptional ecosystem, where inspiration,passion and solidarity create community, represents the ideal setting to open eyephoneography#1 next September 17th . Additional information about the selected pictures and activities planned for the opening weekend will be published during the next months. In the meantime, interviews to the artists and members of the selection committee as well as other information will be regularly posted on the eyephoneography blog ,Facebook page (facebook/eyephoneography) and Twitter (twitter/@eyephoneography).