Wayne Greer is an iPhone photographer from Wichita, Kansas. Wayne has developed a unique style that captures some of the stunning landscape scenery in his local area. His approach and style to the landscape photos that he captures saw him achieve honourable mentions in this years Mobile Photo Awards.
Here Wayne tells us about how he takes his stunning landscape iPhone photos, about his approach and influences.
How were you first introduced to iPhone photography?
I bought my first iPhone almost two years ago. I was looking for some content to add to my Flipboard app. I came across a magazine called “iPhoneography”. I was blown away with some of the images, especially the work of Gianluca Ricoveri. It was hard to believe that this art was created with the very thing that I was holding. Even though I have no background in art or photography, I began to play around with it. I really didn’t have any expectation that I would be any good at it.
Your photography has a very unique style that features wide open landscapes, dramatic cloud formations with a vintage feel. How did this style come about?
Very gradually and organically. I say organically, because I had to work with the landscape around me. Kansas doesn’t have mountains, coastlines or forests. We do often have gorgeous skies. I try to incorporate clouds as often as I can. They can provide drama and a dreamy, otherworldly quality to an image.
At first I would just slap on a lot of texture and call it good. As I went along though, I began to put more thought into how a particular landscape or different weather made me feel. Could I come close to expressing that in an image? I don’t deliberately try to make an image look “old”. I don’t even necessarily try to avoid all modern elements. What I’m aiming for is more of a timeless feel. Perhaps a romantic touch now and then.
Some have described my style as melancholic. I suppose that there’s some truth to that. However I never do anything that’s deliberately depressing. It’s more a sense of reaching for, or longing for something. Sometimes a vague sense of loss. I know other landscape photographers have made similar expressions, so it must be in our blood.
What apps and post production processes do you use to create your images?
I try not to overdo anything. I’ve really come to appreciate subtlety. I tend to desaturate and soften an image. For most basic edits I use Snapseed and Handy Photo. For anyone starting out, you would be amazed at what you can accomplish with just these two apps.
I also like Mextures. The combinations of filters and textures seem endless. It also gives you a lot of control as to how strong you wish these effects to be. I’ve also recently begun to use Photo Toaster. It has a lighting brush that is fantastic. It also allows you to de-noise, which can give your photo a little softness, if you want.
Image Blender also has been useful in combining different variations of the same image, to achieve a look that I’m after.
Finally I should mention that I use Camera 645 Pro for my camera app. It gives you a variety of aspect ratios to choose from. It also gives you the option to shoot raw images in tiff files.
With any app, it’s easy to go nuts. I’ve learned that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should. I really view these apps as tools to serve the photo.
You recently received several honourable mentions in this years Mobile Photo Awards. What did this recognition mean to you?
I feel really honoured and humbled. I mean, there were such an incredible selection of images. I definitely felt like the kid who got to sit at the grownup table. It was also somewhat validating, a real incentive to push myself even more.
What inspires you to shoot landscape photography with your iPhone?
I really admire other genres of mobile photography. The creativity and imagination I see is incredible. I don’t know how they do it. For me though, nothing gets to me like the natural world around me. The land and the way different seasons and weather change it, are always a source of wonder for me. Combine that with all the stories told by old houses, barns as well as modern farms and ranches, I think there is plenty to be inspired by.
Are the any other iPhone photographers that have influenced or inspired your work?
There are so many excellent photographers that I admire. I’ll name three that influenced me most directly. I already mentioned Gianluca Ricoveri, whose photos first got my attention and continue to inspire. I also really admire the work of Mariko Klug. Her images have an ethereal quality that is really beautiful. Another artist that I discovered early on was Chris Harland. His images struck me as being very soulful, even poetic. I got the nerve up to email him for any advice or constructive criticism he might have for me. I received a reply that was very thoughtful and helpful. I’ve always felt grateful for that and all the other encouragement he has given me.
Do you have any incredible encounters or a story that really is part of your photographic journey that you would like to tell us?
After about three months or so after beginning my journey into iPhoneography, I was curious about how one of my photos would look printed. I went to a print and frame shop, choosing it because it was just down the street from me. Right away I noticed some really beautiful art being displayed. The girl working there said they would call in a week or so. About three hours later the owner called. He said the print was done and could we talk. It turned out that the owner, Jack Wilson, was an accomplished artist, working in mixed media. A lot of the works that I saw displayed were his. He wanted to pick a few of my photos to display in his shop. That didn’t turn into a gold mine for either of us, but it gave me a tremendous boost of confidence. That he saw some potential in me, was willing to hang my photos up alongside his and other artists work, was a real turning point. He was generous with praise and honest about what he didn’t like. He and his staff also make my photos look their best.
Can you tell us the story behind your three favourite photos?
Spring Hill Ranch
Growing up, I didn’t think I was interested in art, even though my mother and brother were both artists. For some reason though, Andrew Wyeth’s paintings always drew my attention. Not too long ago, I was looking at some of his work and thought that I would like to do something like that. I wanted a certain type of building, and that the only one I could think of, that I could have access to, was an hour and a half away. So on a late Saturday afternoon, off I went. It was almost dark when I arrived, with a light fog settling in and very cold. I wanted to shoot the barn from this angle, but the horse wouldn’t turn around or move. I didn’t really want a picture of just his backside. So I kept calling out to him and he would give me this slight backward glance. That to me, made the shot. It’s a personal favourite of mine.
This was one of a series of seven, that I titled “memories”. I usually don’t have a specific concept in mind when creating an image. I don’t put a lot of thought into titles, quote poetry etc… I know what I’m feeling, but I don’t want to tell the viewer what they’re supposed to feel. I just hope that they feel something. This was a little different. I had some shots of houses and barns that weren’t that interesting. Also some beautiful landscapes with no subjects. I thought, why not make my own scenes? As I was working on this series, they seemed like something from a recurring dream, or some distant memory of a place or person. I was thinking about how bittersweet the past can be, how strong a pull it exerts ,even as we try to move forward.
This is one of my favourites because it’s not so serious, it’s just happy. This was in Boxley Valley, Arkansas. It’s known for it’s historic cabins, barns and an elk herd. This was the first trip I had made out of state since I started taking photos. I dragged my dad out of a warm bed at dawn to go with me. I took some shots of some of the cabins and barns that I was happy with, but I wanted those elk. They were there, on the other side of a fence and too far away to get a decent shot. While I was walking back and forth in frustration, this dog came out of nowhere. He was so happy that I was there, running back and forth wanting to play, that I forgot about the elk. Everybody goes to Boxley Valley to take pictures of the elk, but I felt fortunate to get this guy.