Mar 4, 2014

Featured Mobile Photographer Nick Duncan

Geri's Note:  Although I normally edit my images until they barely resemble the original photo, I have a deep appreciation for the photographers whose work stands alone, without passing through dozens of apps first. One such photographer that I recently discovered on Instagram is Nick Duncan.


© Nick Duncan
What is your name and where do you live? 
My name is Nick Duncan and I live in rural Illinois, about 90 miles southwest of Chicago.

How did you get started with mobile photography? What device do you use?
I got started in mobile photography fairly recently...maybe two years ago. I was once making a living as a photographer shooting automotive and open wheel racing, among other things. Unfortunately, that career came to an end and I unsuccessfully tried to soldier on in other areas of the photography business. Following that..oh, can we call it a demise?...I went on a bit of a hiatus. Mobile photography was the thing that started to pull me back. You could say that it has reminded me what I loved about photography all along. I currently have an iPhone 4s.

© Nick Duncan



© Nick Duncan

Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
Yes, I went to Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and graduated in 2001.


Who or what inspires you?
There is so much that inspires me that I often feel I might have an attention deficit issue. Photography, music, art, architecture, literature, motorcycle builders...it’s a long and random list.

© Nick Duncan

© Nick Duncan


I love the cohesive nature of your gallery - do you only use Hipstamatic?
Well, thank you. An old friend of mine is a co-owner of Color Services photo lab in Santa Barbara. They are the lab that prints for Hipstamatic/Oggl (and do a fantastic job, by the way). He turned me on to the app a few years ago. I was in a bit of a rut and it came along at the right time. The developers of Hipstamatic recently released a sister app called Oggl. It’s similar in function but is more of a social platform as well. I use that quite a bit. Actually, that’s probably the only thing I use anymore.

© Nick Duncan

I'm not that familiar with Hipstamatic - what advice do you have for people learning how to find the best combinations of lenses and films?
Hipstamatic and Oggl are very versatile and have a wide range of lens and film combinations. What I particularly like about them is that the effects aren’t too overdone. There are samples to look at before you buy any additional lens or film. It’s just a matter of your taste and experimentation in finding what you like. Once a photo is taken, you can edit it after to any of your film or lens combinations. It saves to your library and you can share it to your Oggl profile, Instagram, and Facebook as well.

© Nick Duncan

© Nick Duncan

© Nick Duncan

Is there a favorite subject that you prefer to photograph? 
Well, I took up cycling a handful of years ago. It was on those daily rides that I began shooting again. It was something about the solitude and peacefulness of it. You really feel a different connection to your surroundings on a bike. Most of my images in fair weather months are taken from the seat of my bike. However, I’m slowly creeping back to shooting more beyond that these days..especially in winter months when my cycling is relegated to a trainer in my office.

© Nick Duncan

© Nick Duncan

Do you edit any of your images or are they posted directly from your iPhone? If you do edit, are there any apps you prefer?
I started with mobile photography with the idea that I was going to stay fairly pure and simple. To this point, I haven’t edited any of my images beyond Hipstamatic/Oggl.

Please share a few of your favorite Hipstamatic combinations.

Well, I think that I go through phases with film and lens choices and it depends largely on the image itself. I almost always shoot in Landscape mode and edit the choices when I have time after. I usually chose the film first and then go through lens choices. I would say that my most used films lately would be a few of the different Blanko films. I tend not to add a lot of effects that often, but there are some nice ones to choose from: C-Type Plate and D-Type Plate have a nice tin-type effect. Robusta has a textured discolored matte that I like. And, Uchitel 20 has a stained, desaturated matte border that's nice. As far as lenses, I would say that Jane is pretty versatile and I use it quite a bit. Loftus has a nice blurred, macro effect. I also use Helga, Wonder, Tinto 1884 and Lowy quite a bit.

© Nick Duncan

© Nick Duncan

Have you ever exhibited your work?  If not, any plans to do so?
When I was shooting professionally, my work was published in various places but I have no current plans to exhibit anything that I am doing now. It has been a welcome exercise in getting my creativity back and getting excited about photography again. We’ll see where it goes from there.


Is there anything else you'd like to add?
When I was a student at Brooks, I don’t think I could’ve imagined what a transformation photography would go through in these years since. On one hand, it has been such a great thing for photography. Never has it been so accessible to so many people. Never have your eyes been open to so much from all over the world. It can be both humbling and overwhelming. And, it was inevitable that this transformation would drastically change the way that people could make a living as working professionals. When you stop and look at the last 10-15 years, it is quite amazing.

© Nick Duncan

© Nick Duncan


Find Nick:  Instagram / Oggl   

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5 comments:

  1. A wonderful interview and it is nice to see someone using Hipstamatic with restraint and obtaining wonderful images.

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  2. Yes Egmont - I love the pure quality and simplicity of Nick's work!

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  3. I agree with Egmont, a wonderful interview, Geri. I like Nick's work very much and enjoyed reading his responses to your questions. It's always refreshing for me to discover a mobile photographer who is a "straight shooter", so to speak!

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  4. Good! I look forward to seeing what you do with Hipstamatic. Here's a link to an archive of Bill Brandt's work, the photographer I told you about - http://billbrandtarchive.photoshelter.com/ Another one of my favorite photographers is Andre Kertesz, who I think you will love, also - https://www.photographersgallery.com/by_artist.asp?id=200 Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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  5. Love both of their portfolios! Thanks for sharing =)

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