Nichols: iPhone shot garners SP photographer international award
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: November 26, 2010
John Nichols racked up another art award to add to his already impressive photographer’s resume: he was selected international iPhone Artist of the Day by iPhone Art. Nichols’ work was honored November 13.
According to its website, iPhone Art was “named for the device that opened the door to this exciting new medium. iPhoneArt.com is the first user-generated, full-service website dedicated to displaying, promoting, discussing and rewarding the creative works of avant-garde artists and amateur dabblers everywhere - while also providing a platform for developers to demonstrate what their apps can do for a dedicated audience.
The goal is to build a grassroots Mobile Art community where professionals, beginners, and developers alike can share and discuss all forms of Mobile Art: iPhoneography, paintings, drawings, music, videos, apps and more.” This is Nichols first international award “for using any kind of camera... and the fact that it was done on an iPhone makes it special,” as the cutting edge medium is newer.
Nichols said that “Certain people were ahead of the curve and have been doing iPhone photography for a few years,” but the introduction of the iPhone 4 raised his own interest. “I thought those using the iPhone 3 for photography were crazy, then the technical aspect took a big leap with the iPhone 4... and these cameras do a terrific job.”
Nichols got into iPhone “phoneography” by accident: “When I closed my Main Street gallery and was open by appointment only I thought, well, I need a cell phone,” a device he resisted for years. Based on recommendations from friends and Nichols’ own experience as an Apple computer owner, he selected the iPhone 4.
“I got the iPhone thinking I would use it as a phone... I didn’t realize it was going to be a camera and a portable darkroom.” It seems that today “There’s an app (application) for that,” meaning just about everything, and Nichols found it true of the iPhone, which coined the phrase used in advertising.
“That’s what makes me love the phone,” taking pictures and processing the image using apps before uploading the images directly. “It’s all done on the iPhone and in the phone up into the stratosphere.”
One image he sent the iPhone’s online art gallery was of Mount Shasta, a spectacular venue enjoyed on a recent vacation. That photo earned Nichols the designation of iPhone Artist of the Day.
Nichols believes iPhone photography - er, phoneography - is one of the art forms of the future, but noted a saying among photographers. “When people ask what’s the best camera, the best camera is the one you have with you... I have the iPhone with me,” and although it won’t produce photos suitable for oversized printing, “what it does is the most fun because of the apps that you purchase for very little money.”
And there’s a mind-boggling 2,500-plus apps available just for phoneographers. Nichols was long a loyalist to cameras with 35 mm film, although at that time “I was playing with toy cameras too, alternative plastic cameras... the iPhone is the alternative camera of the future.”
Back in the days that Nichols and many others believed digital was not as good as film, they were right, but it was a stance that eroded over the years as the medium improved, “got better and more flexible. I went to digital finally because of the improvements, so it’s sort of the ironic to have the expensive digital cameras and take sort of a toy” to produce spectacular phoneographs. “It makes the point,” said Nichols, “that it is the eye of the artist that makes the art, not the machine you are holding.”
And, according to the iPhone gallery website (iPhoneArt.com), writing with light has gone through many changes that “took years to master, were time consuming and cost prohibitive to the average person. But a revolution is at hand,” and Nichols is just one who has joined the revolution in the pursuit of art.