Jun 16, 2014

Painterly Mobile Artist Nicolas Xanthos

The Work

© Nicolas Xanthos
© Nicolas Xanthos

The Artist

© Nicolas Xanthos
I am professor of contemporary French literature and literary theory in a university in northern Quebec. My research in recent years focuses on fictional characters who who remain a little behind the world, contemplative or simply disappear. This is far  removed from iPhoneography - and it is true also that I use iPhoneography precisely to take some time off from my job. But if I think about it, I see a link between my research interests and my new passion. These characters that interest me are deeply melancholic, have a difficult relationship with the loss, with the passage of time, and try to be in the present moment only. So these subjects are attentive to the present moment and the grace of the places where they are, but also aware of the next unescapable disappearance of the beings and the world they love.  In a way, this is what I try to express through the subjects of my photos, the composition and the editing.

Nicolas' Commentary

Whenever I'm on social networks dedicated to iPhoneography, I am always amazed at the number of extraordinarily talented people whose work is an inspiration to me. My earliest influences were the works of landscape iPhoneographers Gianluca Ricoveri and Wayne Greer. I found their work on Flickr. love their intuition of space, their sense of composition, their use of color and beautiful golden textures. Their work, in my view perfectly reflects the grace and melancholy that interest me. I speak here of them because their influence is so present in this photo.

I took this photo one morning almost directly facing the sun. I set the exposure on the sky because I knew I could recover the colors of the ground in the editing process. I did that with Snapseed: Drama (20%), a little HDR Scape (20%). With this I was able to recover the green and brown tones of the ground. With Superimpose, I mixed the sky of the original photo and the ground of the edited picture. Back in Snapseed, I slightly cropped the photo to balance the composition.  

I was able to start what constitutes the core of almost all my photos using a particular workflow. In Snapseed, I made a version with Retrolux and in Superimpose I blended this version with the original photo. This is a process that has become a reflex in my editing because it is so important aesthetically. For me, the Retrolux effect has a special function: by desaturating and adding slightly twilight hues, it takes a bit of life from the image. In my mind, it expresses the heart of melancholy and marks the loss and disappearance of the present moment. Still working on the colors, I used VSCO Cam to get a little fade and Photocopier for a golden tint. 

The textures are also a way to indicate the temporary nature of a photo. For this one, I used Mextures and Stackables. By adding some purple or golden hues, these two apps have added some density to the photo, particularly to the sky. They have also helped to increase the twilight brightness created by the Retrolux effect, showing the passing of time in the present moment.  

The photo was nearly finished but the tones were a bit too golden. I mixed the version in Superimpose with 15% of the photo before the Retrolux effect to correct the colors.  

The editing was complete with this final step. For me, the picture expressed the balance and the beauty of a part of the world and of a moment and its inevitable future disappearance already underway. 

Find Nicolas: Flickr / EyeEm / Oggl / Instagram 

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  1. I'm such a fan of Nico's work, so it's delightful to see this profile, today! He's a wonderful artist with a distinctive - melancholic - eye. I'm always looking forward to seeing his next exploration and now I understand a bit more about how his iPhoneography fits into the rest of his life. Thank you.

  2. Thanks so much Gianluca! I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity to say how much I admire your work and how it has influenced what I try to do!

  3. Thanks Meri, you're so kind! I'm extremely honored that you like my work!

  4. And of course thank you very very much, Geri, for the incredible opportunity you so kindly gave to me!

  5. So happy you could learn more about Nicolas! I was pleased to feature him and his work.

  6. Very interesting interview Nicolas. Your photos really are beautiful.

  7. Thanks a lot Wayne, really glad you like it! You know I'm a big fan of your work - a real inspiration to me!


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