Jun 1, 2015

Julie Gebhardt - Capturing Urban Beauty with an iPhone

© Julie Gebhardt
What is your name and where do you live?

JG:  Julie Gebhardt - San Francisco Bay Area, California USA


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

JG:  I began taking photos in response to learning about Instagram through an article I read on the New York Times. Previously, I used a point and shoot camera for family snapshots. The ease of shooting with the iPhone, and the fact that it’s always with me, led me to begin this habit of shooting and sharing my city. I  started with the first generation iPhone, and am now using iPhone 6. I shoot and edit mainly in the Camera+ app on the iPhone.

© Julie Gebhardt



© Julie Gebhardt


Do you have a traditional photography or art background?

JG:  I don’t have formal art/photography training, though I have always appreciated art. Having been raised in a family that valued the arts, I have been a frequent museum and gallery visitor all my life. 

© Julie Gebhardt

© Julie Gebhardt


Who or what inspires you?

JG:  My inspiration comes from just being out and about with my eyes open. Once I start looking, I see many wonderful colors and compositions. If I’m not careful, I can be late to where I’m going as it’s easy to get sidetracked with taking photos. 

With so many talented photographers sharing their images, Instagram is another great source of inspiration. 

© Julie Gebhardt

© Julie Gebhardt


Your Instagram gallery is a gorgeous array of urban beauty. Why did you decide to focus on these everyday details?

JG:  As I started looking for subjects, I noticed my eye was drawn to the ordinary and quiet beauty of the commonplace. Through cropping I’m able to isolate what strikes me as interesting in my urban landscape. There is something about slowing down and noticing the details that is part of what I love about taking photographs. It makes me feel very present in the moment.

© Julie Gebhardt


There are never any people in your photos - is this difficult to accomplish since you shoot in a city?

JG:  It does take patience to wait for the moment when cars and people are out of my shot, but it’s really wonderful how most people in my city are very kind about pausing to let me finish shooting before they step in front of the wall I’m focused on. I think so many people are engaged in mobile photography now, that generally people are supportive.

© Julie Gebhardt


You are lucky to live in a city that offers so many colorful and interesting things to shoot. Any advice for someone like me stuck in the suburbs but interested in capturing this type of detail?

JG:  I am fortunate to have a great variety of interesting subjects to choose from in San Francisco, but I think once you start paying attention to color, detail, and shape, you can find interesting compositions even in an environment that initially looks a bit monotonous. It all starts with taking a walk, and looking around. 

© Julie Gebhardt

© Julie Gebhardt


I saw your write-up in The Guardian, "The best urban Instagrammers in the US". Congratulations! How did this feature come about?

JG:  The Guardian article was such a wonderful surprise. I was contacted on Instagram by Francesca Perry from The Guardian to ask for a statement and permission to use my photos. I felt quite honored! I’m currently doing a week long “takeover” of their @guardiancities profile on Instagram, sharing photos of San Francisco. It’s fun to be sharing my view of the city with an international audience.

© Julie Gebhardt

© Julie Gebhardt


You're quite active on Instagram as moderator for two accounts and also as a "JJ" editor. Please tell us a bit about your various roles and how much times you devote to them.

JG:  I developed an interest in hashtags, and started @all_great_tags with a couple Instagram friends as a way to share interesting tags with the IG community.  (Since we began, we have featured over 600 tags on our profile.)  I was invited to take over moderating @_popyacolour and have enjoyed featuring colorful photos and running a weekly contest. The JJ editor role is recent, and is like the other two roles in that it’s all about creating community. I remember getting my first like, first follower, first feature, and how exciting and encouraging that was. It’s a pleasure to be part of the process of supporting other photographers. These activities do take some time every day, but I enjoy promoting the work of other people.

© Julie Gebhardt

© Julie Gebhardt


Have you ever sold or exhibited your work? If not, any plans for the future?

JG:  The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art included two of my photos in their mobile photography exhibit. I also was the winner of a mobile photography competition at the Modesto Architecture Festival. I’ve had the opportunity to present my work at Open Show, a monthly venue where photographers present and discuss their work.

My photographs are available on Instaprints at http://julie-gebhardt.instaprints.com/ and I sell custom iPhone cases on Castify at http://www.casetify.com/juliegeb

© Julie Gebhardt


Is there anything else you'd like to add?

JG:  Taking photos has changed how I see, it’s opened me up to the beauty of the commonplace. Now my eye is alive to the colors and compositions in the most ordinary things. Having the opportunity to share my work, and enjoy the view of others is all part of the enjoyment.  Please visit my gallery at http://julie-gebhardt.instaprints.com/



Find Julie: Instagram / Instaprints / Casetify / Book

Apps Mentioned: Camera+



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