This week I caught up with Paul Rose from Middlesbrough in the north east of England. He is a prominent member of the Mobiography community and his black and white street photography captures the different characters that he comes across during the course of his daily life.
His photography has been featured on Mobiography’s own ‘Capturing The Moment’ showcase as well as We Are Juxt’s ‘1000 Words Showcase’. I asked what this meant to him, to which he said; “These sites are prominent sites amongst the mobile photography community and it was a surprise, and a compliment, to be asked to share some of my images. It would be a huge achievement on my part to one day exhibit my work but as a relative newcomer to mobile photography, and street photography in particular, I am currently concentrating all my efforts on learning the skills necessary to improve myself as a photographer and my images overall.”
How did you discover mobile photography?
I have always had an interest in photography since childhood so, on reflection, the transition to mobile photography was inevitable really. I suppose I ‘discovered’ mobile photography, or more specifically iPhoneography, shortly after buying my first smartphone, which was the Apple iPhone 4S, back in November 2011. It was a further nine months, August 2012, before I started to seriously consider the iPhone as a replacement for my trusty Canon G9. Between these two dates I often spent time online reading about mobile photography in general and viewing some amazing images submitted to the various mobile photography blogs and social media sites.
How often are you out on the street’s taking pictures?
I would love to dedicate more time to my photography but, as I suspect is the case for a lot of people; life seems to get in the way! Having said that, my employer’s offices are based in the centre of town so I spend the majority of my lunch breaks out and about with my iPhone scouting the area for any photo opportunities, so the answer is, most days.
What is it that you love about mobile photography?
What I love about mobile photography is the simplicity and freedom it offers me when capturing images. I don’t have to think about what aperture, shutter speed or ISO to choose. Mobile photography allows me to clear my mind of all that responsibility and just concentrate on capturing the image. The simplicity and limitations of mobile photography can also present a greater challenge, after all, there’s no 70-200mm zoom lens on an iPhone, not yet anyway! My iPhone is always with me and available whenever a photo opportunity presents itself. I can literally take an image, edit that image right there on my iPhone and then share it. That really is the beauty of mobile photography.
Your work focuses on the subject of street photography. What is it that attracts you to this form of photography?
I have always had an interest in documentary and street photography, and in particular un-posed candid street images of people going about their daily lives. Why that is of interest to me I’m not too sure. Maybe I’m just nosey! I’m drawn to people who stand out, people who are different; I suppose I’m looking for characters hidden amongst a mundane crowd.
Even though I have had this long standing interest in street photography I have always been reluctant to pursue it further, mainly because of the perceived intrusive nature of ‘normal’ cameras. The iPhone on the other hand is anything but intrusive. It’s an ideal tool for capturing those candid moments and it gave me the confidence to finally try my hand at street photography.
What apps do you regularly use and which are your favourites?
Well, firstly I must confess to being a photography app addict (is there an Alcoholics Anonymous equivalent for app addicts? If not then there should be!). I have evaluated numerous photography apps but I’m always drawn back to two favourites that I use for the majority of my post production editing. These are Snapseed and Filterstorm PRO. I’m not one for drastically changing the look of my images from the original so between these two apps they offer me everything I require for my editing purposes.
I have also opted to use a camera replacement app rather than the native iPhone camera and the one I always come back to is 645 PRO ( now updated and renamed 645 PRO Mk II). The app also offers me the option to save my images as uncompressed TIFF files which is a big plus for me.
Is there a process or methodology that you apply to your post production editing?
I always edit my images on an iPad 3 rather than my iPhone. I simply prefer the larger screen of the iPad to work on. My eyes aren’t what they used to be! Images from the iPhone are automatically transferred to the iPad, ready to be assessed, and it’s at this point that I delete any images that I am not totally happy with. I then transfer the full size files of the images I am happy with, from the iPhone to the iPad for editing. With regard to the actual editing itself, its fairly limited but I generally shoot in black & white using 645 PRO Mk II or convert from the unprocessed colour TIFF file, and generally aim to produce high contrast images.
Are there any photographers that have influenced or inspired you and your work?
I wouldn’t say my work has been influenced by any individual photographer, at least not consciously, but I can say without hesitation that I am constantly being inspired on a daily basis. There are so many talented mobile photographers out there that I never fail to be amazed by the quality of work being produced by the mobile community.
Tell us about your favourite photo’s that you have taken
‘D Is For Diamonds’
This lady is the grandmother of a friend I work with and he often meets up with her for lunch. I had spoken briefly to her on a couple of occasions and just knew I had to capture her portrait one day. This day was my chance. I took the opportunity to snap this image whilst she was sat on a bench waiting for her grandson whose reflection you can see in her sunglasses.
‘Me And My Shadow’
This image was captured on my way into work early one morning. The first thing that caught my eye was the hat. The long coat and carrier bag were an added bonus! The position of the sun meant that I would be shooting almost directly in to it, not always ideal, but in this situation I was hoping it would offer me an opportunity to play with the strong light and shadows creating a slightly underexposed image.
I was returning to work from lunch when I saw this gentleman standing in a bus shelter and was immediately drawn to him. It was a bonus that the guy in the background was approaching and I feel his presence adds to the overall balance of the image. The message being portrayed on the poster behind the main character was one of global poverty but I feel this image could also be a timely reminder of local poverty, too.
This image was captured in almost the same location as the ‘Me And My Shadow’ image, again on my way into work. It was a cold, windy, snowy wintry morning, ideal weather conditions for street photography! I caught site of this lady using her umbrella to shelter her self against the wind and snow and managed to catch up with her to capture the moment.