Alex Drozhin is an iPhone photographer who was born, bread and lives in Moscow. Although he is not a professional photographer, he has a professional attitude to his photographic work. Alex has a unique style and is known for his iPhone portrait photography work which has been featured many times in the Mobiography Flickr Group Showcases and also in Mobiography Magazine.
As well as this, his work has been featured on websites such as ‘Art of Mob, ‘Aesthet Magazine’, iPhoneography-Today’, ‘iPhone Art’ and many other sites. One of his best photos was chosen for ‘The Best Mobile Photography and Art Images of 2013 on the TheAppWhisperer’. The process of creating a composition and shooting it is very important to him which is why he is studying history and philosophy of photography. It is part of his life.
Alex kindly took some time out to talk to us about his work and his approach to the iPhone portrait photography that he takes.
How were you first introduced to iPhone photography?
When the first iPhone appeared in my life in 2008 I fell in love with its camera because it was so convenient and smart. It meant I could take it with me everywhere and I never missed that decisive moment, as Henri Cartier-Bresson once said. Thanks to technological advances (professional applications for IOS) I take great pleasure from the creative process. At the time there was still was no such thing as ‘iPhoneography’, I just shot and then kept the photos in the memory of my computer. My introduction to iPhoneography started much later, when I discovered the stunning Instagram filters, and that mobile photographers were sharing their photos and this was a real sensation in the world of mobile photography.
What inspires you to take photos with your iPhone?
The greatest inspiration for me are the people whom I meet in my every day life. I am inspired by art, photography, design, architecture, beauty, the seasons and travel. My favorite city is Paris with its personality and energy. I’m planning to do special project dedicated t? Paris. There you can see photos of people, the quiet streets and also mannequins which I like to animate.
How would you describe your style and approach to your photography?
I cannot describe style of photography as it is rather difficult process. It all begins with spontaneity and a new idea which starts way in my heart and comes subconsciously in my mind. Photography is not just the sound of the camera shutter, is an expression of myself.
A lot of your work features portraits of people. What is it about the style iPhone portrait photography that fascinates you?
Portraits are one of the most difficult genres in the art of photography because of its versatility. I think, the difficulty is being able to catch the right moment and show the mood and thoughts of the subjects character. I’m constantly searching, and trying to mix different styles to find something new and special. I like looking at old portrait photos from the end and beginning of the 19th century. ?ontemporary photographers such as Paolo Roversi and Diego Uchitel also influenced me.
How do you approach the portraits you take and what would you say are the key ingredients that make up a good portrait photograph?
When we look at good portrait photograph we can see mood, inner state and attitude towards the world of this person. For me, communication is a key moment during shooting process because it is very important to the interaction and trust between myself and my subject. I try not to interfere to much in the process of shooting. The most important thing is to capture the moment!
What apps do you use and what is a typical post production process that you follow to create your portraits?
When I need to create a portrait I usually use the iPhone’s native camera or different apps such as Camera+ and Hipstamatic. To make the pictures more diverse by using lens system like Olloclip telephoto + CPL lens or the 4-in-one lens. Sometimes I use Lensbaby LM-10.
My favorite app is Hipstamatic, it offers a lot of different lens combinations which give very interesting results. If I want to get more creative, then I will use Photoshop Touch, Photoshop Mix, Lightroom Mobile, Snapseed, Filterstorm Neue, Superimpose, Olloclip, Big Lens, TiltShiftFocus and TouchReTouch. I also use Face Tune, Hello Camera or Perfect 365 for portrait retouching. If I want to create texture my favorites are Mextures, Stackables, Handy Photo and Distressed.
I combine different applications to create more interesting and unusual photos. At the moment I am collecting lenses from old, dismantled cameras to use them in my work and sometimes it take unusual photos with. I avoid to using a desktop computer and prefer to process photos on my iPhone or iPad.
Are there any other iPhone photographers that have influenced or inspired you?
I think it is very important if you can analyze the work of other photographers. It gives you the opportunity to understand why some photos are liked while others are not. Fortunately, there are a lot of talented photographers out there. You can find a lot of them on Mobiography and other similar websites. Paul Brown’s creativity has influenced me because I find that he has rather a special style and creates atmospheric photos.
Tell us the story behind three of your favorite photos
This is a staged photograph. My main aim was to create a photo which we would see in magazines dedicated to fashion. This impression was created by the model, the composition and tone.
Lady No Name
I took this photo by chance when I was walking in Paris, I was inspired by the mannequins from the shop windows. I was able to take this photo immediately due to the presence of my iPhone. It was the latest work from the series ‘Lady No Name’.
One day I decided to create a mood from something that was so simple. Occasionally, I would find this spikelet which became the subject of this photo. I used Hipstamatic to capture the image and Mixtures for the transmission of emotions.