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by Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald
review by Richard Rivera
The Art of iPhone Photography is all about exciting image-making and stretching the limits of creativity via the iPhone! The photo gallery in the book is simultaneously impressive and illuminating, displaying an astonishing variety of photographic approaches, both experimental and straightforward. And it inspires with thoughtful or unusual or painterly photos using collage, extraordinary color, and dreamlike surrealism.
As smartphones have become more technologically advanced many people have begun neglecting their compact cameras and DSLRs for pictures and using what is always available to them: their cellphones. The ubiquity of the iPhone has made it one of the most popular photographic tools for any person, and this book takes it one step further by highlighting the photographers that are actually using iPhones to create art. Although The Art of iPhone Photography focuses solely on the iPhone and its apps, it also stresses the photographic capabilities that all mobile devices bring: they are discrete, they are ever present, they are immediate, and un-intimidating.
The Art of iPhone Photography is replete with over three-dozen tutorials, and makes reference to over 90 iPhone specific apps with step-by-step photos, not only showing the process of how each piece of art was created but also revealing the backstory of each image. This illustrated approach gives insight into the mind of the photographers, what prompts their creative process, and how it results in images that intrigue us. Indeed, over 260 pages out of the 352 in the book are dedicated to tutorials covering the creation of fine art photography and illustration that encompass abstract, landscape, panorama, nature, macro, portrait, street photography, and more. In addition, www.rockynook.com/iphoneart has an extended gallery for an even greater viewing.
Since the book is quite detailed in the apps being used to create the images, it delves into dynamic range—a major challenge for the iPhone or any camera with a tiny sensor. (Dynamic range is the ability of a camera to capture detail in both the highlights and shadow portions of the image.) In the iPhone camera this is usually addressed either by the HDR (high dynamic range) settings or disengaging autofocus from exposure control. One of the photographers in the book, Doug McNamee, says it best, “…small dynamic range means that dark areas will easily appear black in the final image. At the same time, the light values can easily go completely white.” The tutorials delve into the problems of extending tonal values as well as colorizing, creating black & white, blurring backgrounds, masking, desaturating, and blending of images, all with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.
Some of the iPhone apps covered in the tutorials are Camera+, Snapseed, Diptic, Procamera, Image Blender, AutoStitch Panorama, Juxtaposer, ScratchCam FX, ArtStudio, LensLight and many others…
All in all, The Art of iPhone Photography strikes a wonderful balance between an art gallery book, and a how-to book, for the more creative and adventuresome.
Richard Rivera's review also appeared in the New York Journal of Books website
April 24, 2015
Step-by-step instructions detail the many photo apps that are useful in creating the final image.