iPhoneographer – n. A Person creating photography and art utilizing the mobile technology of Apple’s iPhones.
adj. someone who takes a simple piece of technology and transforms into a work of mobile art.
Rudy N. Vogel, iPhoneographer is an innovator of utilizing technology for art. Having myself become obsessed with taking photos with my iPhone, I found the evolving movement of a new genre of photographers rather fascinating and certainly worth introducing.
Most everyone in the modern world knows (or owns) an iPhone. There is a growing phenomena of talented individuals who take the truly unmatched 8mpx iPhone cameras and with the aid of some highly evolved Mobile Apps take ordinary images and turn them into art. While it’s impossible to fall in love with every work created, the fact that Rudy Vogel has created so much work that has gotten the attention of many is compelling. His sheer devotion to exploring every avenue of this newly astounding field is one that makes him the 1st iPhoneographer I interview. He contacted me via Facebook – my favorite platform for discovering artists and photographers – and asked me to look at some of the work he was producing using only his iPhone. Naturally, I wasn’t sure what to expect but upon seeing a few standout pieces realized it was amazing what he was able to do by manipulating technology and utilizing the groundbreaking mobile apps available today. With a background in computer science and a zest for the brightness in life, his work is not only interesting but often makes you wonder, what is that?!
This is a new and emerging field of creativity and I look forward to seeing where it will lead.
Rudy’s Work: iPhoneist | Official Site[question]ATOD: You have such a clear artistic value to the photos you’ve edited using iPhone apps. What stirred the idea?[/question] [answer]Well Dawn, I think this is a marvelous question to get things going. First of all I must explain a couple of variables that factor into the equation, namely: 1. my love for photography and anything graphical and colorful is intense and 2. my constant curiosity for anything technological is equally addictive. When you combine these two you now understand some of the methods behind my madness. I started capturing images in my youth and have always been fascinated by the power of an image. It captivates; it motivates; it stirs emotions one never thought lay beneath; it causes intrigue; and, most of all, it can tell a story, all in a nanosecond of perception. I find this premise to be most compelling. Now combine that with the nimbleness of technology and its ability to transform. You suddenly have a most potent alchemy. With my background in computer science and being a lover and creator of art, I have been using image manipulation software on the desktop for as long as I can remember. In the past I have even created my own image manipulation algorithms and applied it to my prior artwork. The issue with the desktop is that you are shackled to it. When I discovered the iPhone and its abilities two years ago and what it’s little ‘crappy camera’ (in actuality it is truly a sheath of glass covering an image sensor) can do with all of these apps, I became mesmerized. I had freedom. I was unleashed. I could snap, app and zap from anywhere and at anytime. Suddenly I realized the transformative ability that I now possessed.[/answer]
[question]ATOD: As a photographer, what subject endears you most?[/question] [answer]Oh boy, where to begin. The simplest answer to the question is: everything. I guess that’s because by nature I am such a curious child. I find the entire world around me of interest. But no camera and computer has enough storage to shoot ‘everything’, so it becomes fair to say that my favorite is macro photography. The reason is because you can create magic shooting macro. The viewer is often compelled to analyze and evaluate what the original subject matter might be. Is it a dried leaf? No, it’s a skein of brown wool. Nope, I believe it is a tear of burlap. In actuality, it is an extreme close-up of a Bedouin’s galabeya while sitting on a mud hump in Amman, Jordan. Perhaps showing the Bedouin in full view might be a more compelling story and, perhaps it isn’t. I took that shot as well. It came out great. But, that macro shot, the detail, the texture, the raw grain is completely fascinating to me. And, while that picture of the Bedouin sits framed on a friend’s wall, the macro shot became a component of a palette I used to create an abstract through my iPhone. And, that piece sits in a private collection. You see, in the end, what truly endears me is not necessarily the stark reality of a subject matter. It is the abstraction that it can become through its various detailed components recombined in an altogether different and gripping form.[/answer]
[question]Spontaneous or planned?[/question] [answer]Well let me answer it this way: spontaneity yields the idea “hey, let’s go see the new Broadway play that just opened” – fun, compelling, and emotional; planned is the effort that goes into the creation of that play – prudence, conviction and, passion. It’s hard for me to conceive one without the other since spontaneity is the seed that gives forth the fruit of a plan. Both serve their purpose. Spontaneity creates the inventory of ‘what ifs?’ Planned transforms the possible into the probable – the outcome. So, in the end, you really can’t have one without the other.[/answer]
[question]Raw or edited?[/question] [answer]Now this is an interesting concept. Raw … that for me is the truest form of innocence. No suppositions. No agendas. What you see is what you get. There is a place for that and it’s called nature. And, it’s all around us. It is beauty. It is callous. It is unforgiving. It consumes. And, the same is true with imagery. A raw picture can be so very, very overpowering yet so antithetically subtle. However, such a capture comes around maybe twice or thrice in a life. I mean an award winner. No one has that many years or, that many opportunities. That outcome is often grounded in luck and, I make my own luck. I kayak over my own stream. And, that is why I most often prefer edited. While raw is stark reality, edited becomes the magnetically magical. And, when I was a kid, I was a magician. So, that tells you a little bit more about the construction of Rudy.[/answer]
[question]ATOD: If you were given the most advanced technology in camera phones versus an old Bell & Howard, which would you choose?[/question] [answer]Well, how about a savant phone with a computerized Bell & Howard? I believe each has its place. It is completely fascinating to me, this trend of grunge-retro imagery, which is all the rage and was, it seems, kicked-off by the now famous Hipstamatic app. For me, however, for what I create in art – although I am a tech-overeater – the iPhone need not evolve anymore than it has lens-wise or, in its processing capability. The only thing I yearn for is more resident storage. But, I lie. Faster processing would be nice too only because of the value of time. But insofar as the image capture is concerned, I happen to like it at 8MP with its ‘crappy lens’. The reason for this is simply, the output. It is at the epicenter of the chasm between ‘raw’ and ‘edited’. It is almost like being the United Nations of cameras. It can be all things and yet, it can be completely different. It is truly the Swiss Army Knife of image capture. For me, its focal point is just right, because although there is no adequate zoom or telephoto other than some funky-flimsy attachment lenses, the space occupied by the image taken is personal – it is – intimate. And, that I believe is the thrust behind the whole image capture and sharing craze we are currently experiencing.[/answer] [question]What is your favorite sound?[/question] [answer]Let me think … this is quite challenging. I don’t actually know if I have just one favorite sound. And that is because sound to me is like an image. You asked me before what subject endears me the most and I have to answer this question the same way: I enjoy almost all sounds. It is easier for me to answer what is my least favorite sound and that is the sound of a hurtful cry. That sound, Dawn, sears the soul. It is the sole representation of an enigma for me: why there is so much pain in life. And, the antidote for pain, – for many of us – is music, which, is a palette of vibrating colors.[/answer]
[question]What is your vision for the evolution of your art?[/question] [answer]I see a day of no boundaries … of the ability to construct anything possible into an image eliciting a multi-sensual experience for its viewer and creator. Sound, smell, taste will all one day, be incorporated within an image. No longer static, it will become dynamic and, I do not mean that it moves. That’s been done already. And, I am not referring to an animated GIF. I am talking about a stationary image that yields the sense of movement but that also incorporates all of the sensual triggers in a manner never achieved before. All of this eventuality will be brought forth through technology and its creators. An abstractionist, like myself or, even the realist, will have to learn new techniques, new practices that we have yet to imagine. The line between art and the metaphysical will become one. I also see a future where the canvas, which is a memento for the image, will be replaced by rollable and “printable” OLED panels that will finally display the full spectrum of colors so rich and so pure that you, the viewer, will be living a dream through the image you see. Needless to say, I am very excited about the road we are all traveling and, can’t wait to get there.[/answer]
[question]What city would you most want to be allowed complete artistic freedom in?[/question] [answer]Must I choose just one? I am inclined to say either San Francisco or, New York in the US; London or, Paris in Europe. But for me, the city that has been most compelling, most visceral, is Cairo, Egypt. It is the most populace city in Africa. I have never witnessed such a swath of humanity clung together and clamoring, begrudgingly, to move forward, since so much of its cultural dynamic is based upon the ancient. It is a city of extremes. The very old and the very new inextricably intertwined like two serpents clinging together onto an olive branch, one excruciatingly attempting to pull one from the other. I lived and worked their for four years – shuttled back and forth twenty six times over that period of time. For me, there is no other land with such rich and absorbing colors; a pastiche of humanity: multimillionaire illiterate belly dancers in shear silks and sequins, and dirt-poor, generationally broken-bodied beggars with their tattered cloths. The epicenter of empires past, foreboding architecture of multiple civilizations, alluring scents and flavors. It is the photographic ice cream lover’s dream: all flavors found in one scoop. Never before have I taken so many photographs and never again will I in one locale.[/answer] [question]You have pioneered an entirely new era of artists. Do you believe digital art will take the place of traditional mediums?[/question] [answer]I do not believe that ‘traditional mediums’ will join the Island of Misfit Toys within our lifetime. Beyond that who really knows. There will always exist an artist somewhere on this planet who will utilize some medium whether antiquated or not, to leave his/her mark on this world. We are all painting our own hieroglyphics on some French cave walls somewhere and, humankind will always want to do it in their own unique manner. Media are just inherent within art. That being said, I am convinced that this revolution you speak of is in full swing. I find it akin to the time that the early photographers were the lepers in the art world, when oils were reticently being transformed into silvers. Now, us iPhoneographers, or mobile photography art producers or, whatever the nom de plume might be, are being treated like a stepchild by many of the digital-reflexologists out there. But, that attitude will change….rapidly! Certainly, art created digitally while mobile is de rigueur and, every generation desires its own signature marked by its own quill. Living in this cyber-age filled with GenY’s who grew up with Playstations, laptops, DVDs and the Internet, they are more adept at appreciating such art than their parents and grandparents. And, they will ultimately become the ‘new breed of collectors’ that drive and command the market. So, it’s just natural that transplantation occurs. Aside from the fact that so many of the known and loved ‘traditional’ art forms, those that have been branded, i.e., the Rembrandts, the Rothkos, the Dalis, the Picassos, and Ansel Adams of the world, are financially out of reach for most art aficionados. That fact creates a whole new supply, a whole new demand and, an entirely new market.[/answer]
[question]What piece of art was the first to inspire you to see life in a much broader and colorful lens?[/question] [answer]This one is the easiest question thus far – Chagall’s The Twelve Tribes: created by a master abstractionist who composed a lasting magnificence of fluidity, of textured geometrics of glass all stitched together in bombastic colors and shapes, each piece with its own inherent symbolism and message. What a triumph! What a temporal permanence! I blink my eyes and I see it, in the same vision I had as a child: being awestruck…..being swept away in a cloud of tantalizing reflective rainbows. Chagall, I believe was the first man ever to paint in crystalline light. He was and still is the master of his craft. It was through him, through his persona, that I suddenly realized in a most impactful way that art could be so awesome, so very transformative. That art truly is a mirror of life, either derelict or transcendent. It is the lingua franca….it speaks to all and is understood by all. Chagall left me that message and I have never forgotten it![/answer]
[question]One word that best describes the way you see the world.[/question] [answer]Lenticularly.[/answer] [question]If your art had a soundtrack, name 3 songs that would embody your creations?[/question] [answer]Okay, now let me forewarn you, I have a tendency of living in the obscure so you and your readers may not necessarily know these songs, the artists and titles but here are my three anthems:
1. “Lola’s Theme”, by The Shapeshifters
2. “I Dream In Colors”, by Conjure One
3. “All I Need”, by Air
So now you ask: “Why these three?” Well, here are the reasons:
Lola’s Theme: When you hear it, your foot immediately starts tapping, all you want to do is move and, you feel joy. It has an infectious hook and its message is all about transformation. That is what my art signifies to me and what I hope is transferred to the viewer. When someone sees my art, I want him/her to immediately react, to feel something, to perhaps, even smile when they read the title in relation to the image. Then I know I have hit a chord. My art is by its nature interpretive. So, when viewed a transformation will naturally occur. The image and its message are morphed into a personal viewpoint, whether it jives with mine is irrelevant. I just want to stir the emotion inside, draw out the inquisitiveness lodged inside and, I believe I do that.
I Dream In Colors: Well that is my iconic signature. There are those individuals out there – and I have met my allotment – that sees the world as either black or white. And consequently, black & white images have their place in this world. My primary photographic influencer shot nearly all his images that way. However, the world, in my opinion is manufactured more realistically in multiple shades of grey. There are so many different viewpoints; manifold shapes and sizes; and, innumerable answers exist to a single question. How can one, I humbly submit, therefore view the world as either opposite? In my world, it is filled with warm and friendly hues, and swatches of vibrant visual spices, maybe even a splash of a monotone here and there, but definitely colors! Colors are the pollen for the bee; the steel for the magnet; the sock for the foot – they just fit and, they draw you in. They create vivid emotions and surprises. They are happiness! That is the gist, the kernel of my art. And, yes, I do dream in colors!
All I Need: When you hear this song, you are immediately swept into a sauna of moody tantalizing warm inks. Emotions of different flavors begin to scintillate. You become almost transfixed to the beat, the lush overtones, the voice and the words that are sung. A state of being mesmerized….that, for me, is the zenith of my art. When that happens I have achieved my artistic goal. Simply put: I want my work to transfix; to gingerly coddle one’s curiosity and then suck you in. That is all I need![/answer] [question]What photographer inspires you?[/question] [answer]Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a color freak. But the photographer who I hold near and dear and, I referred to him earlier, is Ansel Adams. I don’t believe there were ever a better photographic craftsman and perfectionist than Ansel. And he did in black & white and, he was a realist – wow! The mood, the messages – never melancholy, never pensive, simply majestic and poetic! Now you may ask, “wait a minute, what does his craft have to do with you and your output? It’s like a bird and a stone, they’re not alike?!” Well, I say, simply this: A striving for perfection. This is the quality that every great artist must pursue and, for me, Ansel Adams embodied this notion. It is what I strive for in my art and in my life. And, I believe it is the reason why Our Maker put us here in this great chaotic broth of existence.[/answer]
[question]If you could sit down and work closely with any one artist (dead or alive), who would it be and why?[/question] [answer]Simple. Leonardo da Vinci. In my view, he was singularly ‘the’ artistic genius of his time and ours. His theories and postulates on geometry, anatomy, design, motion, form, frame, constructs, light, are all still until this day, revolutionary. His Mona Lisa remains as one of the single most referenced, valued and argued about pieces of art ever created. Period. I honestly believe that if he were alive today, he would be ‘the’ powerhouse. What he would be able to do with computers and tablets and software would change the world … again. I do not believe there has ever been a human alive or dead that has had such an impact in so many bodies of knowledge or, gnosis than Leonardo. To sit with him, even for an hour, would be the pinnacle of artistic transformation. Imagine the world today with Leonardo present and being able to learn from him, even if through osmosis, for that single hour, I could then repeat Caesar’s classic phrase: ‘veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered.’ Vanquished ‘what’, you might ask? Well that might be my own thirst for knowledge. And, from it, I would be an even better artist.[/answer]
[question]Your dream exhibition would be where?[/question] [answer] In a rustic, edgy New York City gallery juxtaposed near the Notre Dame along the river Seine in Paris. The grit and glitz of The Big Apple combined with the sensuality and joie de vivre of The City of Light. What better combination is there?[/answer] [question]How old were you when you first realized you were an artist?[/question] [answer]I have not yet truly realized it and, I am no longer that youth who viewed Chagall’s ‘The Twelve Tribes’. A realization is a crystallization of thought. Being an artist is a concept that is still somewhat murky for me. Perhaps one day, when I have matured from my child-state, I will come to that realization. But for now, I am quite at home within my murkiness![/answer][answer][/answer] [question]Name two things you truly dislike about your work.[/question] [answer]That there is never enough time to get better and, that my work is not good enough for me. I guess I am just a procrastinating perfectionist![/answer] [question]Name two things you love about your work.[/question] [answer]Hearing “Holy crap!” and, “I don’t know how you did that!”[/answer]
In addition here are two recent bits of news from Rudy Vogel:
1. Over the week (August 18 -25, 2012) over 2,000 art enthusiasts the world over descended upon Santa Monica. It was a landmark event – the largest celebration of iPhoneography art ever!
2. Only 225 iPhoneography artists from around the world were chosen to display their art. Artists were asked to supply submissions. I, on the other hand, was pursued by the organizers to be part of the festival and we, together chose the pieces that were displayed at the event. My 4 pieces utilized a cutting-edge printing process whereby each piece was printed on aluminum sheets. I also had a dozen of my images shown on displays.
3. 550 pieces of art were shown at the Santa Monica Art Studios. Of those, only 68 were sold – one of those was mine (i.e., “Do Androids Ponder Existence?”). I have had several other inquiries as well from the event.
Rudy’s Bio in his own words
I think of myself as a ‘Renaissance Man’: schooled in several disciplines and a practitioner of commerce, computer science and, most recently my Digital Art, which I have perfected over the last ten years. I have traveled the world on business and have thereby inculcated the exotic tastes, colors, and aromas of foreign lands from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Caribbean into my work. Having grown and traveled with my father who was in the fashion business, I learned some of his craft through osmosis and instinctively portray some hints of textile, fabrics, lines and curves into my art. I have been a photographer since my youth and my eye has thereby been trained to inherently identify interesting patterns, shadows & highlights and composition in virtually every image I see. I bring these experiences to my art through the use of my computer and the software I have developed to create my unique form of art; and, more recently, the work I create exclusively with my iPhone4. Simply put, my art is atypical. No fractals, composites or ‘green screens’ are used; just layered, earthy textures, vibrant colors that coax the spectrum into refraction, architectural lines that lead the eye into space and, lights within shadows. This is how I build my work, one pixelized brick at a time.
I have had several private and public showings and my pieces have already worked their way into private collections. My work has been shown at various exhibitions and galleries around the world, including: The Annual Munson Massachusetts Spring Art Show; GaleriaZero, Barcelona, Spain & in Chelsea, London; The Forbes Galleries & The SOHO Gallery for Digital Art, New York, NY; The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art and, The Giorgi Gallery, in California; and, The Lunch Box Gallery, Miami Beach. Much of my recent work can be viewed at the premiere iPhonegraphic Art Collective in the world, Pixels At An Exhibition, with the url: www.pixelsatanexhibition.com
Museum quality prints of some of my work are for viewing and sale at www.p1xels.com Prices are listed.
Below is a glimse of more of Rudy’s iPhoneography that I found to be intriguing: