Nov 19, 2014

Julie Hollow - Scenes from Down Under

Reflection in a shop window © Julie Hollow
What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Julie Hollow and I live near the small township of Bright in rural Victoria, Australia. I grew up in Melbourne and always enjoy city trips as a contrast to my country lifestyle here. I work full-time as a primary school teacher.

How did you get started in mobile photography? What device do you use?
I was totally entranced the first time I was shown the Hipstamatic app, and I knew that I just had to get an iPhone for myself. My first phone was the 3G and I loved it. The fact that it was always with me meant that I started taking photos whenever I saw something that caught my eye. I tended to just use the Hipstamatic camera and didn’t really do any editing, as I was happy with what it could do and did not really know any other apps. Then I was shown Snapseed and that really got me hooked on editing as a creative process. It remains one of my favourite apps, and the one I go to first up every time. In June 2012 my sister suggested Instagram (I had never even heard of it!) as a way of sharing my photos and that was the beginning of my obsession with iPhoneography! I currently use an iPhone 4s and do all my editing on my iPad. I love the feeling that I am painting with my fingertips. I am sad to admit that my less than 12-month old Canon 6D has not left its bag for quite a while now!!!

The Green Door © Julie Hollow
The Green Door 

The Long Wait © Julie Hollow
The Long Wait

Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
Not really. I got my first camera for my tenth birthday – it was the Diana F flash, a plastic toy really. I think I only ever developed one roll of film before it died. Years later in my twenties, I bought an SLR while traveling and loved capturing scenery and people shots on my adventures, but I was generally disappointed in the results. I have never formally studied art but many years ago I took a part-time photography course at the Photography Studies College in Melbourne. That was back in the days of slide film and I learned darkroom processing for black and white. I took over my mother’s bathroom for a few months and really enjoyed it. There have been long periods in my life when I hardly took a photo, apart from the usual holiday shots and family snaps. Life just got in the way and I had a family and other interests which filled my time. But since getting my first iPhone in 2010 and discovering the inspiring community of mobile photographers all over the world on Instagram in 2012, everything has changed. My love of photography has now taken a prominent position in my life.

C. Maimone Tailor, Melbourne © Julie Hollow
C. Maimone Tailor, Melbourne

Hats & Hood Melbourne © Julie Hollow
Hats & Hood Melbourne
Who or what inspires you?
I would have to say that I have been inspired first and foremost by all of the wonderful artistic people on Instagram who opened my eyes to the creative possibilities of using an iPhone and a few well-chosen apps. I had not previously been a social media person but I believe that without the sharing, photos have no real purpose. I love seeing the results of other people’s editing techniques and they are always very happy to share the apps they have used. If I like what it does, I go straight to the App Store and try it out. My store account gets quite a hammering, but everything is so cheap compared to the old days of film and processing, that I still cannot quite believe what fortunate times we live in!

I tend to start by liking the style of someone, usually because it is an effect or subject that I have never thought of or seen before. The earliest subject that inspired me to try something new was rust - photographing old crusty, rusty bits of machinery and broken, derelict junk really. It broke me out of my comfort zone and introduced an entire world that I had ignored until then. I got my first feature on Instagram with an over-edited, multi-colored rusty nut and bolt and I was hooked!

Probably the first person whose work really inspired me and pushed me to try some new techniques was Cheryl Tarrant of DistressedFX app fame. She got me totally obsessed with textures and how they can completely transform an image. I now collect my own and I once used the crackled paint on my bathroom ceiling to pretty good effect! Then it was the eBooks of Dan Marcolina (AppAlchemy and Mobile Masters). Being able to see the work of so many leading iPhoneographers, and to be stepped through their editing processes, was an eye opener to me and I still often return to those apps for inspiration. I only recently started to follow blogs and sites dedicated to iPhoneography, including your own Art of Mob, Skipology, The App Whisperer, Mobiography, AMPt and Flickr. Earlier this year, I signed up for a wonderful course on iPhoneography run by Bob Weil and that introduced me to the creative possibilities of photo collage involving layering. Until that point, all my photos had been pretty straight, but now I enjoy manipulating the subject matter and will often layer in some elements that I have collected. There is so much to learn, and so many generous people willing to share their skills and knowledge, that I do not think I will ever be uninspired.

Suburbia! © Julie Hollow

Dabb & Co Chaff Store & Corn Crushing Maldon, Central Victoria © Julie Hollow
Dabb & Co Chaff Store & Corn Crushing Maldon, Central Victoria

The Little Red Door Eaglehawk, Victoria © Julie Hollow
The Little Red Door Eaglehawk, Victoria
Your style is eclectic with architectural images, street photos and beautifully textured painterly images. Is there a subject and style you prefer?
Oh dear, that is a hard question to answer! I really admire the work of people who have developed their own style and preference for a particular subject. But I seem to enjoy a whole range of subjects and styles and I would find it very difficult to stick to just one. I think what I might like to try one day would be to create a small series of images around a particular theme, then try another style or subject for another series or set of images. I am enjoying the learning and experimenting with whatever takes my fancy for now. But maybe one day!!

Scarred beauty Melbourne © Julie Hollow
Scarred beauty Melbourne

Walking in the winter rain Webb Bridge, Yarra River, Melbourne © Julie Hollow
Walking in the winter rain Webb Bridge, Yarra River, Melbourne

I noticed you are a member of several groups on Instagram - rsa_preciousjunk, rsa_doorsandwindows. Do you ever meet up with any other group members for photo shoots? 
Actually, I have never met up with anyone. I have people with whom I regularly exchange comments and likes, and I think it would be really fun to actually meet up with some of them. For now, my hobby is really a personal thing. I know that it can be quite irritating, for friends or family who are not so into it, to constantly have to wait for me to take a shot or ten. I actually prefer taking time to wander on my own and shoot whatever catches my eye.

Mt. Buffalo © Julie Hollow
Mt. Buffalo © Julie Hollow

Lifting the lid on the old Blüthner Aliquot Grand © Julie Hollow
Lifting the lid on the old Blüthner Aliquot Grand
Do you plan your shots with an end in mind or do you just shoot what you see and figure out what to do with it later?
I really am just starting to shoot with an end in mind for some of my shots. Normally something will catch my eye, usually because the light is just right or I see something beautiful or just unusual. When I am in the city, I spend a lot of time looking up at the sides of buildings (might find a ghost sign!) or along dingy laneways (always some unusual stuff there). It keeps me out of the shops! On my last trip to Melbourne I got up really early and caught some gorgeous light. In my own area I like to take back roads if I have the time and look for old farm buildings or unfamiliar scenery shots. Sometimes it is a place I have driven by many, many times, but have never stopped. I also collect cloud shots on a good cloud day so I can layer them into any image to add something extra to a bland sky. I have so many shots on my iPad that when I need a new project, I trawl through them and I always manage to find something to edit. They do not always turn out the way I had imagined, either! Happy accidents are always welcome!

Texture, Light and Shadow © Julie Hollow
Texture, Light and Shadow

Rust Glorious Rust! © Julie Hollow
Rust Glorious Rust!

Unlatched © Julie Hollow

Describe a typical workflow and the apps you use. (Geri's note - Julie was generous to provide a mini tutorial for us!)
This photo was one of my happy accidents as I chose it at random just to try out a new app. To start with, the guy in the hat caught my eye as I was going for a coffee at Fed Square in central Melbourne. I thought that I could use him as an element in a layered shot. I snuck up behind him and snapped him (using Camera+) while my coffee was going cold. My main goal was to frame his hat against the sky. 

Initial Image
Quite a few weeks later I was reading about two different water effect apps. I already had one (ColorLake Free) but the advice on The App Whisperer blog was that the other one (Flood) was better. So I bought it and was just playing with it on this particularly photo, with absolutely no intention of using it in an edit. However, I did have a bit of fun and I liked the way the stone wall had disappeared! At some point I converted it to black and white.

After the Flood
I then decided (for some odd reason) to put it through another recently acquired app called Trimaginator, which I had not yet used either. (I must have been feeling a bit uninhibited that night, because this was all right out of my usual comfort zone!)

Here is what evolved in Trimaginator
Suddenly the man looked like he was walking forward and it started to grow on me. He seemed to have his hands in his pockets as he moved away. At this point, I decided that it was time to add some texture and colour. I can’t say exactly what apps I used to add the texture, but possibly DistressedFX plus some ScratchCam; perhaps some Mextures and another saved texture. I always like to overlay multiple textures so their source is not so obvious. I am not that good at keeping track of what I do. I know that I also did some layering with the original photo (probably in Superimpose), because I can see some extra detail from the original in the finished shot. I think the yellow hue came from a filter in Superimpose. 

Then for the final shot, I just cropped it square.

Final Image
Do you have a favorite photo or series of photos? If so, which one(s)?
In some ways I guess I am still waiting to take my favorite photo! Maybe it will be the next one! 

Have you ever sold or exhibited your work? If not, any plans for the future?
No, but a few canvases and prints have sold online through my Instagram account. I am starting to find out about competitions through following various blogs and I am thinking of submitting some of my shots. It would be lovely to have some blown up and printed and maybe exhibited eventually. Who knows?

Just looking… Echuca, Victoria © Julie Hollow
Just looking… Echuca, Victoria

Turquoise Delight! © Julie Hollow
Turquoise Delight!
If you could share one secret you've learned for taking a good photo, what would it be?
I think the main thing is to take a genuine interest in the world around you and enjoy the process. I have learned to see so much more, that I find so many possibilities everywhere. I try to keep the frame clear of things which do not really add to the image, by moving around the scene until the elements I want all come together. Often this will happen after many shots have been taken.

Floral Bicycle Basket Bright, Victoria © Julie Hollow
Floral Bicycle Basket Bright, Victoria

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I would really like to thank you Geri, for taking an interest in my images and for giving me a chance to share them here. I think your blog is such an inspiration to many and I am so glad that I found it. 

Find Julie: Instagram / Flickr 

Apps Mentioned:


  1. Thanks so much for this honour Geri. It was an interesting process and it made me realise just how far back my interest in photography does go. Compared to the old ways, this digital age is truly incredible and mobile photography in particular has opened up a whole new world for so many. So happy to share and be involved.

  2. I love the way your feature looks - the images shown together make for a wonderful gallery. I think our journey is very similar - I'm so glad to have learned more about you!


 photo copyright.jpg
envye template.