About a year ago, before I started my iPhone photography journey, I was researching tutorials for creating painterly effects on photographs. I stumbled upon the blog of Karen L. Messick and fell in love with her work. I wanted to know all about her creations and what version of Photoshop she was using. That’s when I realized the potential of mobile devices because all of her work was created on her iPhone! I’m so pleased to have finally been able to interview her and share her work with my readers.
Geri: What is your name and where do you live?
Karen: Karen L Messick. Baltimore, Maryland
Geri: How did you get started with mobile photography?
Karen: I was influenced to shoot with the iPhone when Teri Lou Dantzler visited with me at the beach in October of 2010. At that time, I had been looking at getting an iPhone to replace my old flip phone, which I never used to take pictures. She was shooting exclusively then with her iPhone and I was amazed when she shot an HDR image and processed it in a flash. I had also seen shots on Facebook that Tony Sweet had been sharing and I bought my first iPhone as a Christmas present to myself in Dec 2010.
Geri: What device do you currently use?
Geri: Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
Karen: Yes, I have a traditional photography background shooting with SLR cameras since 1994. As far as art, as a teen I was headed for art school as a college choice but life got in the way and I was never able to go through art school, but had a great foundation from my early years.
Geri: Who or what inspires your work?
Karen: Life inspires me! There are way too many outstanding image makers to even list them. I look at many images every day on line on Facebook and in real life and inspired by them all. I love impressionism and am inspired by painters of the Impressionist period.
Geri: Do you plan your shoots with a specific idea in mind?
Karen: Not always, I am very open to "see" what presents itself. I find that if we go with expectations then often we can be disappointed, either the light is not right or the subject matter is not what is expected. But if you go and just "see" then images come!
Geri: Your work includes landscapes, architecture, abstracts, textured painterly images. Is there a style you prefer?
Karen: I like all styles of imagery...from Black and White traditional to utterly abstract. I do not have a specific style, instead I let the subject matter suggest what style might be best to convey my idea.
Geri: Do you use the native camera app on your phone or a specialized app like Hipstamatic or ProCamera?
Karen: Funny you ask, I don't think I have ever made an image with the native camera app. I got started with shooting apps right away and never tried the native camera app. I love a couple shooting apps...Camera+, a staple, 6x6 a great square orientation app with no filters, Hipstamatic for what it does, Bracket Mode for grabbing two shots quickly for HDR processing and ClassicPan.
Geri: Do you have any current favorite apps?
Karen: Been having some fun processing with TangledFX and I just love Decim8 for a starting place to create abstracts.
Geri: Do you do all your editing on your phone, or do you prefer a tablet?
Karen: Most of my editing is done on the iPhone. Occasionally I will transfer a more complicated image to my iPad for processing.
Geri: Please share a little bit about your editing process.
Karen: My editing process tends to be random, but I do tend to have a slight routine for "normal" images. I start by running them through Snapseed for tuning, contrast, saturation, sharpening....and maybe a filter or two, pretty basic stuff. Then I see what I might like to do next with the image. Sometimes it's running it through Glaze for a painterly look, or into Image Blender for a texture blend.
Geri: When did you start teaching mobile photography? How have the classes been received?
Karen: I started teaching about two years ago. In my first class I had four students...but last fall I had a full six-week class of 15 students at Johns Hopkins, and I am now selling out field shoots I conduct for Capital Photography Center, people just love shooting and creating images on their iPhone!
Geri: Do you ever print your work? If so, any recommendations?
Karen: Yes, I do print and if you have an image with noise, I recommend using Nik define to reduce noise before printing, I also suggest keeping the print to a reasonable size say 16 x 20 max.
Geri: Have you ever exhibited your work? If not, any plans to do so?
Karen: I have not exhibited any iPhone work, and at this time no plans. It takes a lot of time to get exhibits together and I just have not had the time. I do have some iPhone images in a gallery in Seattle and have sold a few there.
Geri: Anything else you'd like to add?
Karen: I just think shooting and "apping" images on the iPhone has opened up a wildly creative opportunity for all image makers. I personal can't achieve looks with my DSLR images that I can easily with my iPhone images. It has just been a super creative tool for me to work with! Thanks Geri! Appreciate the interview!
Find Karen: Facebook / Facebook Page / DSLR Blog / iPhone Blog / Twitter / iPhoneArt / Instagram
All images in this feature are copyrighted property of Karen L. Messick published on iART CHRONiCLES with the consent of the artist.