Jul 24, 2014

Brandon Kidwell - The Master of Many Styles

I first noticed Brandon Kidwell's double-exposure work and was happily surprised when visiting his online galleries to see that he has an eclectic style that includes various subjects and techniques. Below is my interview with this very talented mobile photographer.

© Brandon Kidwell
What is your name and where do you live?
BK:  Hello, my name is Brandon Kidwell and I'm from Jacksonville, Florida.

How did you get started in mobile photography?
BK:  I bought my first iPhone in the winter of 2012 and saw that my kids were using Instagram to share photos with their friends. I'm not a big social media person, but saw that you could just post photos to share without making them necessarily personal. Then I found a few people using our local @igersjax tag which is a local community and really enjoyed the photos these people shared. From there, I followed the rabbit down the hole and joined the great AMPt Community and was fortunate enough this year to be invited into the incredible GRRYO family.

What device do you use?
BK:  My main tool is an iPhone 5 but I also use a Nokia Lumia 1020.

Love begins at home © Brandon Kidwell
Love begins at home © Brandon Kidwell

Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
BK:  Outside of family snapshots I had no experience outside of mobile photography. Prior to my photography days I spent a lot of time skateboarding with my son and filming and editing videos on my Mac.

Morning Battles © Brandon Kidwell
Who or what inspires you?
BK:  I'm inspired every day by my wife and kids and our everyday moments. I try more and more to "be here". I'm a constant daydreamer and my wife describes me as "in his own world" often. Outside of my family I'm inspired by films, books, photographers I've been fortunate enough to get to know in the mobile photography community and I can say the beauty of life, nature and the mysterious universe - it never ceases to amaze me.

Little Man, King of the Wild 2 © Brandon Kidwell
Little Man, King of the Wild 2 © Brandon Kidwell
By Any Other Name © Brandon Kidwell
By Any Other Name © Brandon Kidwell
Looking through your gallery on Instagram, I see a lot of overlaid imagery, beautiful silhouettes, gorgeous beach scapes and stunning portraiture. You seem to be a master of all sorts of styles - is there one you prefer?
BK:  Wow, thank you very much, that's a great compliment to hear. I am still new to photography so I try to be like a sponge and absorb everything I can. I try to do the same with how I share and be open to sharing my work in the best manner for each specific image. I tried to force a style or genre at one point and it didn't feel right. I love exploring different styles and being open to any door available so I don't narrow the creative playing field.

Proud Pelican © Brandon Kidwell
Proud Pelican © Brandon Kidwell
Lost time is never found again © Brandon Kidwell
Lost time is never found again © Brandon Kidwell
What piece are you most proud of and why?
BK:  There is an image of my daughter called "She Blooms". That piece is the most honest for me, the closest I feel I've come to executing an idea. She's a teenager and watching her grow up into a beautiful young lady has been one of the most incredible, beautiful and slightly frightening experiences for me.


Congratulations on your recent First Place IPPAWARD for the Lifestyle Category! Can you tell me a bit about the winning image?
BK:  Thank you very much, that was a great surprise and a great honor. The photo was taken on top of the Main Street Bridge in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. My wife joined our Dragon Boat team for a corporate fundraising event and is in the photo in the 4th row from the back. All day I was taking photos from the ground and none of them were anything I'd share artistically, mostly just family snapshots. With the wide river and the skyline of buildings across the way in the harsh daylight, the photos weren't spectacular. I decided to climb the bridge and stand on one of the lookout decks and wait until they launched for their race. Luckily, they floated directly underneath me and I snapped this shot. I later rowed in a race and going against the current it felt like we were pushing through mud. I remembered there was a cracked paint texture in PicFX and I used it for the photo to portray that feeling.


Do you normally plan your photo shoots, or do you just take photos as you go about your day-to-day life?
BK:  My busy day consists mainly of family, animals and work, so planned shoots are rare. I generally work shooting into my life and leave 30 minutes early to explore when meeting people or keep my eye out for interesting locations en route to somewhere. I have had to learn to balance life with family and put away my camera phone after a few shots. I abused the camera in the beginning and annoyed my wife and kids. They're great and enjoy taking a few photos, but don't enjoy all day photography outings so I exercise my discretion regularly.

Shadowplay © Brandon Kidwell
Shadowplay © Brandon Kidwell
The world is yours © Brandon Kidwell
The world is yours © Brandon Kidwell
What are your favorite photo editing apps? Do you have a typical workflow? If so, please describe it.
BK;  Snapseed is a must for everyone. It's the essential editing app for photography and keeps image resolution intact. I have always been a Filterstorm junky, but lately have been using Union app for my blends more. VSCO Cam is incredible for the tones it generates, iColorama has so many incredible tools I'm still exploring them. Mextures is unparalleled in its colors and textures. There simply isn't another app like it. There are many others I use from time to time - AvgCamPro, Camera+ is an incredible camera app and great for its exposure controls and for capturing action. Oggl, Noir Photo, SKRWT and Retouch are all great editing assets.

The Doorman © Brandon Kidwell
The Doorman © Brandon Kidwell
I don't have a regular workflow outside of my double exposure edits. The self-portrait and hand double exposure edits are all planned and start with the photo of the subject mostly silhouetted but with enough light to highlight the features and give is some sense of depth. I then shoot or choose the second photo to blend in based on the desired emotion or message I'm trying to convey. Once the image is blended, I'll use an appropriate color scheme and texture if necessary to emphasize the mood. If interested, I have two tutorials that cover the basic technical aspect of my workflow on my website.

A Man of Means: Doorway to the Past © Brandon Kidwell
A Man of Means: Doorway to the Past © Brandon Kidwell
Hard Times © Brandon Kidwell
Hard Times © Brandon Kidwell
How do you manage all your photos? Do you store them on a computer or keep them on your device?
BK:  I started a website late last year to make sense and curate my work since it varies in style and subject matter. I save edits, photo essays and series in folders on my laptop. Other than that I have two backup drives that are highly unorganized outside of the default chronological order they're saved in. I probably should spend some time to organize more but I don't see that happening soon. Ha! Ha!

Exhale © Brandon Kidwell
Exhale © Brandon Kidwell
Have you ever sold your work? If so, what venue do you use?
BK:  Hmmm, I sold a few minor pieces through INK361 and my old Instagram account but outside of that I haven't explored that side of my art yet.

Do you have any advice for aspiring mobile photographers?
BK:  Explore, experiment and don't be afraid to try something new. The best thing to me about mobile photography is that the tools are literally at your fingertips and with the apps available, you can shoot a beautiful sunset and share it directly and unaltered or you can take a picture of an ordinary bottle cap and make it a work of art. The limits are only those which we impose upon ourselves, so be open to whatever you feel like capturing and creating. One of the best ways to find inspiration is to get involved in the community, there are many incredible resources including blogs and websites like the one you're on now Art of Mob J, GRRYO, AMPt, etc., as well as great communities and social sharing networks such as Instagram, EyeEm, 500px, Flickr and jump in!

Stranger than Fiction © Brandon Kidwell
Stranger than Fiction © Brandon Kidwell 
Room With a View © Brandon Kidwell
Room With a View © Brandon Kidwell
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
BK:  I'd just like to say thank you very much for the opportunity to share a little about my art, this community is incredible for the amount of sharing and support. I have a great feeling that mobile photography, whatever it will become in the future, will produce some incredible art and a flourishing generation of artists to come.

One Day...© Brandon Kidwell
One Day...© Brandon Kidwell

Find Brandon: Website / Flickr / Instagram / EyeEm / 500px / AMPt 

Apps Mentioned:
Picfx
Snapseed
Filterstorm
Union
VSCO Cam
iColorama
Mextures
Average Camera Pro
Camera+
Oggl
Noir Photo
SKRWT
Touch Retouch


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10 comments:

  1. Brandon!!!!! What a fabulous interview, and a superb range of images. Great to see the Little Man in there too. You're a true inspiration sir.

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  2. Thank you very much Geri, it's truly an honor to have a small part in this great community. Thank you for letting me share and for all you do, you're an inspirational artist and an asset to this great community!!!

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  3. Thank you so much ET, it's truly an honor and I'm humbled, you are the inspiration, I hope to chronicle Boogie's life as you do with your boys so honestly and beautifully.

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  4. Thank you Sacha, it's truly an honor brother!!!

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  5. Great interview Brandon. Always a fan of your work and congrats on hour well deserved award my friend

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  6. Thanks Geri for sharing Brandon's work and words with us. I'm always inspired by his imagery and imagination.

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  7. That means a lot Brandon - my "babies" are all grown, but Art of Mob is my baby now!

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  8. You're welcome Rob - there's just so much talent out there. I'm so happy to have discovered Brandon's!

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  9. Awesome. I like your pieces of art. Congratulation Brandon. Thanks Geri for this interesting interview.

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  10. thanks for always being a loyal reader - so glad you enjoyed Brandon's work

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