The Photo I Am Most Proud Of: Janine Graf


Each week I will be asking a mobile photographer to choose the one image of theirs that they are most proud of. It does not have to be their best, or the one that has received the most recognition, just the one image that they are more emotionally connected with than any other.

This week’s artist is Janine Graf

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For anyone new to mobile photography over the last year, Janine Graf is a mobile photographer best known for images involving a rhino, a giraffe, balloons and a backdrop of some of the most amazing places in the world.

Imaginative beyond belief, these images are regularly ‘Explored’ on Flickr and continually showcased on LifeinLoFi, The AppWhisperer and here at Mobiography. Starting out as someone who shot predominantly on the underground, my personal favourite is “Underground and Undetected

However, when I began following Janine on Flickr, I discovered, among other things, that she is also an incredible Hipstamatic shooter and her skill with square format composition is superb, “My Son and My Foot” being a perfect example.

For me, it is quite an honour that she provides this week’s feature. I see many people posting images similar to Janine’s on sites like Flickr but they are never as good. She is the true original.

The Photo I Am Most Proud Of: Janine Graf

She Played Pretty Music by Janine Graf

She Played Pretty Music by Janine Graf

The image I’m most proud of… now this was a tough assignment! Although the image I selected is not something you’d usually see from me, I knew I had to go with this one I took in early February of last year.

My family and I were in Seattle on this sunny winter day and passed by this pretty young woman playing her cello in Pike Place Market. I put a dollar in her basket and asked if she’d mind if I took her photo while she played. I remember framing this shot (with the Hipstamatic – Tejas lens and Float film) and thinking, “Ooh, ooh she’s posed so perfectly! The sunlight is awesome! Please nobody walk into frame!” and then quickly snapped the picture. Later while reviewing my camera roll I crossed my fingers in hopes the shot came out clear and in focus; yes! Reflecting back on the day, I kicked myself for not asking her name (and not knowing her name actually really bothered me for some reason).

The following week I submitted this image to The Seattle Times newspaper. They have a weekly feature in the photography section where the photo editor selects one reader’s photo to be printed in the Sunday edition. I was thrilled to learn that my image and accompanying story had been selected and would be published the following Sunday.

Audrey was back at Pike Place Market playing her cello the same Sunday her photo ran. A passerby recognized her from my image and exclaimed, “Did you know you’re in today’s paper?!!” In happy disbelief, she called her mom (who lives across the country) and shared the news. Her mom found the photo in The Seattle Times’ online edition and proceeded to forward the link to Audrey’s family, friends and even her childhood cello instructor.

It was approximately a month later when an email from Audrey’s mother landed in my in-box. She shared with me how Audrey discovered she was in the paper that day, gave me some background information about her daughter and closed by saying the whole family was delighted beyond belief. Her email made me cry happy tears. (Side note: See, I didn’t just make up the information in the previous paragraph. If I was going to make up a story of how Audrey discovered she was in the paper, I would have mentioned ninjas, getaway cars and explosions… and possibly a misfortunately placed banana peel).

So not only am I proud of this image because of the way it was captured, but it’s such a warm fuzzy feeling to know that a photo of mine made a lot of nice people happy; doesn’t get much better than that!

Connect with Janine Graf

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  • Paul J Rose

    Beautiful image, Janine, and great to read the story behind it. Excellent composition and love the processing.

    • Janine Graf

      Thank you Paul!

  • Janine Graf

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity Mark! It was fun! 😀

    • Mark T Simmons

      Thank you, Janine. Just glad you said yes.

  • Andy Butler

    Thank you for participating in this feature with such a wonderful photo and story to accompany it.

    • Janine Graf

      The pleasure was all mine Andy!

  • Paul J Rose

    You’re welcome, Janine 😉

  • Liz Traynor

    This is such a wonderful photograph Janine. I really enjoyed reading your story and why you chose this image. Love your work. 🙂

    • Janine Graf

      Thank you so much Liz! Your support means a lot to me! 😀 xo

  • Ryan

    What a great image and story Janine (though it could use a few more ninjas)! Have you seen Audrey since?

    • Janine Graf

      Thanks Ryan! Yeah, there’s never enough ninjas, are there? On the other hand, I will be taking “getaway” car driving lessons next month (for real . . . ok, kind of for real . . . I’m going to take rally sport car driving lessons . . . I think that’s my version of a midlife crisis). Anyways, no, I haven’t seen Audrey since even though I’m constantly on the lookout for her. I would love to talk to her. 🙂

  • gina costa

    This is such a lovely story…to add another layer to this gorgeous image. Truly a joy to see Janine’s work. She is so inspirational, from the outside in…and back words too.

    • Janine Graf

      You are so sweet and supportive Gina! I kiss your cheek: mmmmuah! 🙂

  • Thank you Andy Butler for this wonderful series of yours and for Janine Graf’s participation. I appreciated reading the story and learning why you selected this photograph.

    • Andy Butler

      It’s probably Mark T Simmons that you want to thank. He is doing an excellent job of putting together this wonderful series.

    • Janine Graf

      Hi Egmont! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Thank you!!

  • Sharon LuVisi

    This is the kind of image I pray I will some day take myself! Audrey was beautifully captured and I loved the heartwarming back story. Because of the great distance between the two of them, I’m sure that Audrey’s mom was so grateful for your photo.

    • Janine Graf

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Sharon! I’m happy to say that I mailed an original photo to Audrey’s mom over in St. Louis, MO. I’d like to think of it in a pretty frame and sitting on the fireplace mantle. 🙂

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