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Weekly Shhhout-Out

Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Art of the Pixel

I learned a new word the other day, “iPhoneography.”  I was searching online for information about digital photography apps when I discovered that there is a new, legitimate art form complete with its own star artists and international awards.  Taking photos with your iPhone (or any smartphone) and manipulating them with one or more of the hundreds of available apps is now the cutting edge in photography.  You can do everything imaginable with your photos from just enhancing them to look more professional to completely transforming them into watercolor paintings, pencil sketches, comic books, abstract images, and more.  The rules of the game are that you must take the photos with your phone and you can’t upload them to a computer and edit them with sophisticated programs like Photoshop; it must all be done on your phone or tablet.  It was nice to know that I, who can’t draw or paint a thing, can now call myself an “artist” for playing around with my iPad! 

I found just the information I was looking for in the library catalog, an E-Book entitled Create Great iPhone Photos: apps, tips, tricks, and effects by Allan Hoffman.  There are so many apps of such varying quality available that it saves a lot of time-consuming trial and error to follow an expert’s recommendations.  Next I tried a search of the library’s magazine database MasterFILE Premier.  I found only limited search results for the term ”iPhoneography” so I tried a more general search “phone and photography.”  This turned up 458 relevant articles, many from specialty photography magazines.  This is a good trick to use when researching any subject in the magazine databases.  I learned a great deal from these resources and was able to create far more successful photos.  Here are a couple of examples:


Golden Gate created with Aquarella

Golden Gate, created with Aquarella


Pond created with Haiku

Pond, created with Haiku


Of course photography isn’t the only art form you can pursue on a phone or tablet.  There are many drawing and painting apps for those who want to start with a blank slate rather than a photo.  Researching this topic I discovered that no less an artist than David Hockney is now producing works on his iPad.  Of the new technology he said: "Who wouldn't want one? Picasso or Van Gogh would have snapped one up."  In recent years Hockney moved from Los Angeles, inspiration for his famous swimming pool paintings, back to his native Yorkshire.  He began painting the local landscape on his iPad with the Brushes app.  At first he exhibited prints of these paintings, but in 2010 works he created on the iPad were exhibited on iPads at a Paris gallery.  He has even been caught in an iPhone video painting on his iPad in a coffee shop. 


View an online gallery of Hockney’s iPad art here. Learn more about Hockney’s work since his return to Yorkshire in a documentary film available from the library David Hockney: A Bigger Picture.  And for those of us not quite up to Hockney’s level, here is some advice on the best apps for aspiring artists.


Rita T.

Rita T.

CATEGORIES: Rita T. , Art , Computer Graphics
POSTED AT: 12:01:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007