Sep 10, 2014

Connie Gardner Rosenthal - Hipstamatic Journey Through India

I was very intrigued by the series of photographs from India by iPhone photographer Connie Rosenthal. What a pleasure to learn more about the artist and her experience there. Connie lives only about 45 minutes from me in Southern California and we've never met...yet! Connie credits the L.A. Mobile Arts Festival for sparking her interest in iPhone photography and this was the impetus for my journey as well. I'm guessing when we do meet, we won't run out of things to talk about!

© Connie Gardner Rosenthal
What is your name and where do you live?  
CGR:  My name is Connie Gardner Rosenthal.  I live in Los Angeles.

How did you get started in mobile photography? What device do you use? 
CGR:  In August 2012, my husband and I  went to a photography exhibit at the Santa Monica Airport. The exhibit was the The L.A. Mobile Arts Festival and my first introduction to mobile photography. I loved the work I saw and the idea of taking photos on my phone. I went home, bought some apps and started playing. Though I had no idea what I was doing, it was fun and I quickly became hooked. I started following websites and blogs, reading and watching tutorials and eventually started taking workshops which I continue to do. I currently use an iPhone 5S.

 Girls at festival in Jodphur © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Girls at festival in Jodphur
Happy Guy at Sufi Temple © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Happy Guy at Sufi Temple
Man in Varanasi © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Man in Varanasi
Do you have a traditional photography or art background?  
CGR:  I have no formal art or photography training. I studied some Art History in college and took a few basic photography classes in the 70’s. I am a self-taught jewelry designer. Before discovering the iPhone for photography, I took photos on family vacations.  In March 2013, I went to Santa Fe for my first iPhone workshop with Karen Divine, the most intuitive, patient, encouraging teacher anyone would want to study with. I have continued taking workshops with Karen; one in Snowmass, Colorado and I went on an amazing workshop/trip with Karen to India. When not attending workshops, I work with Karen on Skype. This November she is teaching a workshop in San Miguel de Allende which I am excited about attending. As a forever student I enjoy learning from tutorials, books, websites, blogs, etc

Goat in old Delhi market © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Goat in old Delhi market
Guard at Mehrangarh Fort © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Guard at Mehrangarh Fort
Who or what inspires you?  
CGR:  I find the entire mobile photography community inspiring and supportive. I am inspired by Karen Divine, Gina Costa, Eric Rozen, Geri Centonze, Roger Guetta, Lee Atwell, Armineh Hovanesian, Grace Brignolle, Meri Walker just to name a few. The ‘what’ that inspires me are busy places with lots of different people doing lots of different things. I love photographing at the Santa Monica Pier and at Venice Beach in Los Angeles and New York City is one of my favorite places to shoot. I also enjoy interesting architecture and trying to shoot architecture in interesting ways, closeups of flowers and shooting in black and white.

Pink turbans in Varanasi © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Pink turbans in Varanasi
Woman in Narlai© Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Woman in Narlai
I'm particularly interested in your series shot in India. Please tell me a bit about the trip. 
CGR:  I was lucky enough to go to India on an iPhone workshop with 4 other women led by the amazing Karen Divine. It is a very colorful and exciting place which offered amazing opportunities to capture people in their homes, schools, shops, etc. In Delhi in the crazy traffic we went to the the spice market, the Sufi temple and some wonderful shopping areas. In Jodphur we went to the Mehrangarh Fort, now a museum, a women’s festival and the open air market. We stayed in safari tents while in Rohet Garh and were guests at an all-male opium party.  In Narlai we stayed at Narlai Rawla, the hunting lodge of one of the prime ministers of Rajasthan. It was a very special place as were the people of Narlai. On village walks with the hotel staff, we went into homes, schools, shops and also enjoyed a jeep ride at dusk to photograph the shepherds bringing their flocks home. Varanisi is the main holy city and as intense and crazy as Delhi was, Varanisi was even more so. We went to the Ghats by the Ganges River both before sunrise and at dusk. We went out in boats to see the evening ceremony, the cremations and in the morning, the many people bathing and washing laundry in the river. The Taj Mahal is in Agra and is amazing to see in person.  It was quite crowded as it is a popular place for Indians to visit.

The whole experience was amazing. Spending several days in each place gave us the opportunity to explore and photograph while also having plenty of time to work on our assignments. Each night we’d gather and share and critique our work. I look forward to returning to India, to learn more about the people and their culture and because it is a very colorful and inviting place to capture photographs.

Man in Narlai © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Man in Narlai
Man in Varanasi © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Man in Varanasi
The magnificent Taj Mahal © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
The magnificent Taj Mahal
How did the local people respond to being photographed? 
CGR:  The local people were very welcoming and loved being photographed.   

Were all the images shot with Hipstamatic?  Did you do any post-editing? 
CGR:  My images were shot with Hipstamatic. Any editing was minimal and was done with Snapseed and TouchRetouch.

Boys at home in Narlai © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Boys at home in Narlai
Camel in Narlai © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Camel in Narlai 
Man in old Delhi market © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Man in old Delhi market
Have you ever exhibited or sold your work? If so, where? If not, any plans to do so? 
CGR:  My work has been featured on The App Whisperer, Mobiography, Hipstography, iPhoneographyCentral, and P1xels at an Exhibition. I won first place in an iPhone Life Magazine contest, I have a photo featured in the upcoming NEM Kansas City online exhibit and I was shortlisted for the MiraMobile Prize exhibit in Porto, Portugal. I have not tried to sell any photos.

Old woman in Narlai © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Old woman in Narlai
Rooftop life in Delhi © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Rooftop life in Delhi
Woman in old Delhi market © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Woman in old Delhi market
What image are you most proud of and why?  
CGR:  One of my favorite images is “Bangles and Toes”.  The woman whose feet I photographed was sitting out front of a home in Narlai visiting with a friend. She was radiantly beautifully, dressed in brightly colored clothes and full of smiles and welcome. I spotted the rings and bangles on her feet and took one photo with Jane and Blanko Freedom and another with Diego and Uchitel (Hipstamatic Lens and Film combinations).  I like how the second shot captures the essence of this woman while leaving a mystery of the colors and details and who she is to the viewer.

Bangles and Toes © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Bangles and Toes
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
CGR:  I am grateful for the opportunity to be featured on Art of Mob and want to thank Geri for the invitation. I think Art of Mob is one of the best mobile photography sites and I am proud to be part of it.

Saris at the Taj Mahal © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Saris at the Taj Mahal
Water Buffalo in Rohet Garh © Connie Gardner Rosenthal
Water Buffalo in Rohet Garh

Find Connie:  InstagramEyeEm / Flickr / Faceboook


  1. I'm blown away by this feature. The images are absolutely fabulous. I adore Hipstamatic - wish I could do what Connie can do with it.

    Brilliant feature - enjoyed it immensely!

  2. Great series. I admire your ability to make such fine portraits. I am curious about the lens/film combos for the brilliant colors in the first few featured shots, as I seem only to achieve more muted color. Can you share what you chose?

  3. That question was posed to Connie on Instagram as well - Hoping she'll share the combinations with us!

  4. Me too - I would love to know her color settings.

  5. Thanks everyone for your kind and supportive words. It really means a lot to me.

    The trip was truly amazing. The people were friendly and warm and enjoyed having their photos taken (at least most of them).

    I generally use the Jan lens and Blanko Freedom film when I shoot with Hipstamatic. I find it gives the most realistic colors and clarity and if I want a different look, i can always take the photo into Oggl and choose a different look.

  6. Hi Connie - thanks for letting us know your secret. Just to clarify do you mean "Jane" lens instead of "Jan"?

  7. Elaine- check above to see Connie's comment on lens/film combo used.

  8. Check below to see Connie's comment on lens/film combination used.

  9. Sorry about the typo....yes it's the Jane lens.

  10. Yes, it is Jane...Connie clarified above =)

  11. Great series, wonderful images of a remarkable country


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