Meet Krapoz: Winner of the ScratchCam category in the recent Mobile Photo Awards.
We have been working on this interview for the past few weeks and I’m really happy to be able to present it to you now, so without further adieu….
First of all, congratulations on your success in the ScratchCam category of the recent Mobile Photo Awards competition. It really is a thought provoking and wonderful image. For any readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you just give us a little bit of background on who you are, how you got into mobile photography and what it means to you?
Thanks Steve, it’s been a big surprise – as well as a great honor – for me to be included in the 25 lucky winners of the MPA! And being the winner of the ScratchCam category has a special meaning because I’ve always loved, used and abused this app in my works since the first time I tried it on my iPhone.
Most people in the iPhoneography community know me as krapoz: my real name is Giuseppe Capozzo, I’m 35 and I live in the Milan area trying to do my best as a youngster husband and father, even if sometimes I’m distracted from the task by my lifelong passion for music. I work as an interactive developer for one of the biggest digital advertising agencies here in Italy and I love my job because most of the time I’m committed to creating engaging experiences for the final users of our products.
This way I like to imagine myself sitting on the edge between art and technology, creativity and reason, poetry and numbers: I’ve always been interested in this fascinating mix. And experimentation is fundamental in the way I like to do things.
Krapoz: I am very fond of this picture because, besides having a deep personal meaning, has allowed me to focus on, from that moment, a more original and distinctive style.
Thus I approached to mobile photography (in my case only iPhoneography) with the same spirit: from a creative point of view each iDevice is a wonderful tool to ubiquitously make a lot of cool things – you can shoot and edit photos or videos, paint on a virtual canvas, sketch musical ideas while playing weird synths, read (or write!) books and so on. So, after a quite long infatuation with some music creation apps, during 2010 I started experimenting also with some photography apps (Hipstamatic, Infinicam, PictureShow…) and it was real love at first sight!
Krapoz: I really love this character I was so lucky to spot on during a walk with some good friends of mine: I will never know what he thought as he watched the sea; but I’m sure he would have had many interesting things to tell us.
One year and a half later, after having filled my iPhone with tons of these apps, creating images on my beloved device has become an almost daily exercise that means challenge – every time I’ve been inspired by a particular vision and I have the urge to transpose it on the screen through my fingers; deep reflection – from a narrative as well as from a technical point of view (what are the story and eventually the message behind the image and what is the best workflow of apps for achieving my visual goals); and finally relaxation, because I feel fine with myself and the world outside when I manage to carry out and share something I created with passion and dedication.
It definitely sounds like mobile photography has found a home in your world. You’ve mentioned experimentation being important to you, I wondered if you could walk me through your process from the inception of an idea to the final image? Are you constantly striving towards a predetermined vision for each image, or does the experimentation process often take you off-course into the unknown?
Yes, definitely! Right now I can’t imagine myself without mobile photography and I really hope to keep this passion alive for long time.
I tend to shoot a lot: landscapes, skylines, birds, insects, common things – as if I were to build a sort of database of pictures that, in a way or another, will come in handy one day.
I usually combine two or more of these images with the aim of creating a little visual story: typically I start from a “background” (cropped from a picture or generated ad hoc with some app), then I place one or more subjects over it (cutouts, silhouettes, drawings). This done, I finalize the work running through the usual steps of lights/color correction, artificial focus and lighting, plus lot of texturing to give the desired depth to the resulting image.
Krapoz: I’m very happy with the abstract, sci-fi feel of this; and I find it amusing that this image basically originates from a lamplight – passed through WordFoto – on which i superimposed three walking figures I caught on the beach
Sometimes, before I put my hands on the iPhone, I have a precise vision in mind (or just a feeling.. or even a title!) so I only have to scan my collection in search of the best elements to juxtapose and work on. Other times it’s a raw picture that stimulates my imagination, so I start manipulating it and then eventually add the missing elements to accomplish the composition. Some other (quite often, indeed) the process begins from the exploration of a new app I’ve just installed. And I enjoy this situation a lot because it ends up getting unpredictable results that at times look more interesting than any predetermined concept I could even forecast.
Krapoz: A good composition of angle, lines and curves. I wanted to convey an overall sense of transcendence, helped by the intrinsic beauty and magnificence of the subject: this is Calatrava’s bridge at Reggio Emilia (Italy).
Recently I expanded my mobile camera set with a Olloclip and a lot of new opportunities have risen up: besides being lot of fun, I’m convinced that powerful gadgets like this could really improve the variety, if not the quality, of the mobile photography production – especially when used with a creative spirit.
That’s a really versatile approach you have adopted. It sounds like you would find yourself being able to make use of scenes that wouldn’t necessarily stand up as interesting photos by themselves, but when used in combination with other objects and ideas they become part of something much greater.
It seems to me that in a saturated app market, clip-on lenses like the Olloclip and other such gadgets have the most room to grow and innovate. Do you think they will become a virtual requirement for the serious iphonographer any time soon?
Well, I think that one of the main reasons that are driving the success of mobile photography is the old dear “keep it simple”; simple but effective. I’m quite sure that as long as these cool gadgets meet this criterion (together with the as obvious as fundamental principle of portability – and the Olloclip is a winner in this sense), they will encounter easy approval within the circle of serious mobile photographers.
Over the last year I’ve also been tempted to try out one of the many telephoto lenses available for the iPhone; or the nice multi-lens rotating system by Holga. Of course I will carefully follow all the developments in this field and I hope, as an addition, that we’ll see apps able to interact in new and interesting ways with these hardware extensions. You can pay me for this idea, if you want.. 🙂
Krapoz: I like to think that this image has two souls: on the one hand is someway creepy, in an hitchcockian sense; on the other is powerful and liberating as a dance that puts in touch the man with the elements of nature. In fact I had this song in mind while working on it (http://youtu.be/am6rArVPip8).
On the other side I’m intrigued by the concept behind the recently announced Polaroid SC1630 “Smart Camera”. Substantially this is no more than a classical point-and-shoot powered by Android OS: this means that one can combine the shooting facilities of a Polaroid camera with the editing and sharing features offered by the fairly number of apps available on the Android Market.
Call me a fanboy but I could die for a similar product brought to us by Apple! After all, it’s well known that one of the goals of Steve Jobs was to change somehow the world of photography: so I think we can expect something similar in the near future.
I wondered if we could turn back to your winning photo from the Mobile Photo Awards competition. Would you mind just walking us through your thought process and how you came to create the finished piece?
It all started just before sunset on a lovely day in July. I was heading to my car in a parking lot when, all of a sudden, my eye was caught by the charming intersection of sky, clouds and power lines above me: I immediately thought this scenery had a great potential to become the “set” for a composition on my iPhone. So I took some pictures and, when at home, I started to envision a simple story to build on top of it.
Somehow I wanted to recreate the mood of classical instrumental post-rock bands like Explosions In The Sky, Mono or Godspeed You! Black Emperor: I go crazy for their emotional and cinematic crescendos and I love all those delicate melodies hidden under the power of swirling guitars and drums.
Hence the idea of depicting the paradoxical situation of a desperate lover becoming a romantic loser in the extreme act of catching up his/her beloved flying away. I only had to identify the protagonists for my story: a female figure and a balloon would have been perfect to achieve my goal. Thus, once recovered the missing elements, I finally started to assemble everything.
Following are the process steps that led me to the final result, based on the apps I used along the way:
- FrontView: for perspective correction;
- Camera+: to crop the image and balance lights and shadows;
- Juxtaposer, Image Blender and Superimpose: to work on and mount the silhouettes of the female figure and balloon;
- Iris Photo Suite and PicTools: to add some layers of texture;
- ScratchCam FX: to enhance the vertical color gradient in the sky and add some cool scratches;
- TouchRetouch: to clean and fix some details;
- Photo fx: to add a subtle grain and for an overall fine-tuning;
- Vignettr: to add the top/bottom “letterbox” black bands
Wow, with such thought and creativity involved in producing what is a wonderful image I’m sure everyone reading this will agree that it was a worthy winner in the category.
Thanks again for opening up and sharing this with me and all your fellow ScratchCam users here on the blog. It’s been a real pleasure hearing you discuss your processes and getting to know you a little bit. Congratulations on the MPA result and we are all looking forward to enjoying even more of your photo’s over in our flickr group in the near future 🙂
If you would like to get regular updates from Krapoz and find out what he’s up to on Twitter, please follow him @krapoz.
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