Happy  New Year from Life In LoFi iPhoneography

2014 is here and Life In LoFi wishes you and yours a very Happy and successful New Year! iPhoneographically, may you get your shot, may your light be perfect, and may your auto-focus always lock!

As time moves forward, we always hope that this year is better than the last and we certainly hope your 2014 is even better than your 2013.

As we take a look back at iPhoneography in 2013, it was another breakthrough year for the art.

2013 did not give us the iPhone 6. Instead, Apple released the iPhone 5S, an incremental upgrade to the iPhone 5 series. Under the hood, the iPhone 5S is actually a huge improvement over previous devices with its new CPU and 64-bit architecture. The camera did not get the bump in megapixels many iPhoneographers were hoping for, but got a new slightly faster lens, increased pixel size on the image sensor, and other subtle improvements. 8MP image size is really plenty for most personal digital camera uses and I’m glad Apple went the quality over quantity route with the camera for this iteration of the device.

2013 also saw the introduction of the iPhone 5C — basically a colorful repackaging of Apple’s excellent original iPhone 5.

iPhoneography Makes More Inroads

I’m glad to see more outlets using the word “iPhoneography” to describe what we do. We really do have our own unique place beneath the larger Photography umbrella and I think what we do is worthy of its own label.

iPhoneography and mobile photography continued to make inroads into the mainstream. No longer a collection of passionate artists working from the lo-fi fringes of photography, moreso than at any other time in the art form’s brief history, iPhoneography is an accepted and ever-present form of visual communication across the media. Where an iPhone photograph used in a high profile slot was not too long ago news in itself, images shot with a mobile phone have quickly become yet another tool in helping media to communicate with more immediacy. For better or worse, this year, some major media outlets are even supplanting dedicated photography departments in favor of iPhone photography and videography.

One of the coolest news developments in 2013 was that Patrick O’Neill, who invented the popular olloclip iPhone lenses, was named Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of 2013.”

“I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to put camera lenses on the phone like we do with our big cameras? The problem was,” he recalls, “how do you elegantly mount it?”

His solution: attach lenses on either side of a small plastic sleeve that could be slipped over the iPhone’s camera lens. “I felt more strongly about this than anything I’ve ever done in my life,” O’Neill says. “I put everything into it. I put my whole house on the line.”

New killer photo apps? I’m not sure there were many apps that “delighted” me as much as discovering the original CameraBag app years ago, but there have been several excellent photo apps released this year.

I think three of the standout iPhone photo apps for me this year are Handy Photo, Perspective Correct, and Adobe Photoshop Touch. Each app is not without its flaws or omissions, but these are among the standout photo apps for me in 2013.

Handy Photo is a very powerful photo editor that just seems to do everything it does very well. The tools are among the best of their kind on iPhone and although the interface may take a little getting used to, it never really takes you out of the workspace.

Adobe Photoshop Touch is the promise of Photoshop and Creative Cloud realized for iPhone. It’s the first iteration of the classic powerhouse image editor that’s worthy of the moniker “Photoshop for iPhone.” Although it’s still missing some of the features that apps like Filterstorm and Leonardo have, it’s got a very powerful tool set, a fairly familiar interface, and integration with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, allowing photographers and artists to easily create and work an image on iPhone, iPad and desktop versions.

Perspective Correct is just a handy utility that quickly and easily solves the problem of unwanted angled perspective lines in an iPhone photo.

2013 saw iPhoneography take center stage at MacWorld, one of the Mac ecosystem’s biggest annual events. iPhoneography’s All-Stars took the stage for several days in San Francisco last February, including authors Dan Marcolina, Stephanie Calabrese-Roberts, photographer and iPhone evangelist Jack Hollingsworth, iPhoggy blogger Richard Gray, iPhoneographers Karen Divine, Alon Goldsmith, and many others. I was also honored to present and participate as well. It was the largest gathering of iPhoneography’s movers and shakers to date.

Last year was also the year that Glyn Evans, the Founder of The iPhoneography Blog and the person who is credited with coining the phrase “iPhoneography”, called it quits. After over four years of publishing the first blog dedicated to iPhoneography, Glyn has moved on. A placeholder now stands at the portal of iPhoneography.com.

Over the years, new iPhoneography blogs have sprung up and flourished over the past year or two, including Eric Rozen’s excellent resource Hipstography and Emil Pakarklis’ excellent iPhone Photography School. Despite our hiatuses (hiatii?), Life In LoFi will still continue to be a source of reviews and other resources in the coming year as we pick back up with a regular publishing schedule.

While on the subject of Hipstamatic, the long-awaited Ben Lowy lens was finally released. I honestly thought I’d never see that one outside of a beta copy of Hipstamatic. We even found Color Thief, a tool to help recreate the look and tonal qualities of the Lowy lens.

Looking ahead for 2014 for myself and Life In LoFi, I still love creating photographs and still plan on publishing the blog. Writing a blog like this can be a full-time job if you let it. Unfortunately, that also has to be sandwiched in between my real full-time job, my family, and my fiancé and often times life can find itself way out of balance. Although I’ve been focusing on Type A, my graphic design studio a lot for the past few months, I’m able to now get back to shooting, testing and writing — all things I love to do. There still may be times when the blog has to take a back seat to work and sleep, but I hope to strike a better balance in my life in 2014 in a lot of areas.

I’m looking forward to 2014! I look forward to the rumors of the Apple “hot stove league” to get started up for the next iPhone. That’s always fun to see the difference between “expert” speculation and reality.

Again, my personal wish for you for this new year, above all, is happiness and success in the new year and beyond. Find what gives you happiness and serenity and hold on to it, whatever that may be.

Have a safe, happy, and well-focused New Year!

Marty Yawnick
Publisher, Life In LoFi: iPhoneography