Sep 24, 2014

Featured Mobile Photographer Craig J. Satterlee

I have interviewed over seventy artists since 2012. With each one, I learn something new and develop a greater appreciation for the work of the person I'm interviewing - such is the case with my recent discussion with Craig J. Satterlee.

What is your name and where do you live?

CJS:  Craig J. Satterlee, and I live in Powell, Wyoming, which is about 70 miles outside Yellowstone National Park. 

How did you get started in mobile photography? What device do you use?

CJS:  Curiosity! I saw images spring up on the Internet and with them the possibilities. It seemed very creative and immediate, which I liked because a big part of what I enjoy about photography is creating images and responding to the artistic moment. I started on an iPhone 3 and now use an iPhone 5. I don’t use any external lenses right now, but I am hoping to try the new Moment lens.

© Craig J. Satterlee

Do you have a traditional photography or art background?

CJS:  Both. I worked as a commercial photographer for decades and was lucky to have numerous art awards and fellowships translate into solo and group shows. The coursework for my photography degrees included many drawing and other art classes. I currently teach photography at Northwest College.

© Craig J. Satterlee

© Craig J. Satterlee
Dad's Truck

Who or what inspires you?

CJS:  I’ve witnessed several photographic phases come and go during my professional life. I like all sorts of photography and am always looking for inspiration from others who are creative, have great ideas and are technically sound. That can be anyone at different times.

I believe the way I was brought up both influences and inspires my work. My family’s history is rooted in the Midwest, but we moved a lot; I spent many of my growing-up years in the West. I had to become a chameleon to adjust to new people and places. Adaptation was important. I think subtle traces of this reflective-like quality are evident in the images I create. My interest in photography and in becoming a photographer was sparked by these experiences of refitting established notions into the discovery of new places and attitudes.

© Craig J. Satterlee

© Craig J. Satterlee

Do you plan your shoots with an end in mind or do you shoot and decide later as you edit?

CJS:  I learned a long time ago never to walk away from an image begging you to shoot. I usually have a theme in mind, but not always. I go out with a sense of what I’m looking for, so I know it when I see it. Then as part of the process, depending on what apps I’m using, I explore to find artistic treatments that complement or help convey the theme. Sometimes this is effective and sometimes it isn’t. It's all part of the process of making photo-art.

I love your bicycle series of images. Where were these images shot? What was the inspiration behind the series? 

CJS:  I’ve shot bicycles in too many places to name, from small towns in the West to busy streets in London. The inspiration came as an outgrowth of my series “Our Town” about creating a magical community like the one I dreamed of growing up in. As I was examining this body of work, I noticed a number of bicycles popping up. The next time I went out, I took notice of them on a more conscious level. And as I began to travel more, I realized bicycles were a common type of transportation and something of an unsung connection among people living in diverse countries and cultures. I began to see bicycles as a romantic endeavor. The more of the I feature, the more challenging they become. These images seem to find me now. I’ve grown really fond of them.

© Craig J. Satterlee

© Craig J. Satterlee

© Craig J. Satterlee
Vanzuylen Bike

One of your recent edits "Big Yellow Metropolis" really jumped off the screen when I saw it. Please tell me a little about the shot and the processing.

CJS:  Like my bicycles, these little cars have been finding me as of late. When I saw the “Yellow Metropolis against the Yellow House” I was super excited because I liked the monochrome quality of the whole, and the emotion it instantly conveys to the viewer. As in the “Our Town” tradition, this scenario to me illustrates people creating their own little paradises. It appeared to me to be a part of this families treasure. As far as apps go, I always use Snapseed, a little Photo Toaster, Distressed FX, and when I need to, the Image Bender.

© Craig J. Satterlee
Big Yellow Metropolis

Please tell me a bit more about your "Our Town" series. Was that series also shot with your iPhone?

CJS:  The "Our Town" series started in the early 80's. I had been doing images along these lines for some time and as I was trying to put together why... it had to do with my Iowa roots, moving to the west (Wyoming & Montana). But, I'm always shooting this type of images because of the longing of that "golden childhood paradise of middle America". The Sun magazine has run a lot of these images over the years and Northern Lights which is defunct now... A lot of Existentialism. You can see a lot of them on my website. These images are what I'm really all about in a lot of ways. The bicycles came from this experience. Along the same time period iPhonegraphy happened. I just need more time to learn about how to do many of the things that others are doing with Apps and entering the different venues to show one's work. I'm going to retire from teaching I think this year or next and devote much of my time towards this area of photography. I love doing it. I still shoot both DSLR and iPhone now with this series in mind. I chose this series because it was something I thought I could do my whole life that I didn't see a lot of people doing - the bicycles are of that same mind step, too! I think the "Chair and Rag" fall into the Our Town group. Probably the old cars and trucks, too! They are all iPhone images. 

© Craig J. Satterlee

Do you have any favorite editing apps?

CJS:  In addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, I also use Monet HD and Auto Painter 1, 2, or 3 and Glaze for my more painterly images. Of course, like most people when I see a new app I like to play around with it. That is what I love about mobile photography. The exploration is endless.

© Craig J. Satterlee
Have you ever sold or exhibited your work? If not, any plans for the future?

CJS:  For now since I am fairly new to mobile photography, I have only exhibited and sold my iPhone work locally. In the future this is an area I would like to develop.

© Craig J. Satterlee
Gothic Metropolis
What advice would you give mobile photographers just starting out?

CJS:  Be bold, the sky is the limit. This is one of the biggest changes in photography that I have seen in a long time. If you are a creative artist, this is for you! I cannot wait to see where this will be in 10 years.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

CJS:  I think it is a great time to be an iPhoneographer!

© Craig J. Satterlee

Find Craig: iPhoneart / Facebook / Website

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