I had the pleasure of coming across Egmont van Dyck, when I was buying apps for some lucky people, this Christmas. As it turns out, Egmont runs TheiPhoneArts.com and is also a fellow resident of the SF bay area. After seeing some of his work, I asked him if he’d like to be featured here, and then it turned into a wonderful little interview that provides some insight into the mind of an artist.
I would suggest taking some time to view the images as you read this interview. They really do deserve more than a glance, as you will see, he has a story to tell. The images can be viewed much larger by clicking on them. I also can’t recommend enough that you click on his links to view more of his work. He really is a fantastic street photographer.
Without further ado…
Which iPhone do you use?
Currently I use an iPhone 4S and while I qualify for an upgrade, I have decided to wait for the 6, since I have so much invested in accessories for this model.
Do you use lenses or other gear?
One of the very first things I invested in was a case that not only doubled as a tripod mount but a case that was ergonomically suitable for street photography. For this I selected a Diff-Case, which gave me a very secure grip. Since then I have acquired an OlliClip case that is not only tripod mountable, it also allows one to use any of their lens attachments, including the new telephoto 2X lens.
I have used the OlloClip 3 in 1, using primarily the macro and occasionally the wide angle lens for scenes where lens distortions are minimal. As for the fisheye, it is one I have no use for.
Just recently I began working with the OlloClip 2X telephoto lens with a polariser, which I think is just a great lens, using it for street photography but also for my table-top still-life work.
The other items part of my essential gear is a backup battery. My favorite one is by Anker, the Astro 3 model, which has provided me with more than 12 hours of constant operation during an outing in San Francisco Chinatown. You will also find in my gear bag a mono-tripod, a mini tripod and a daily use case when the iPhone is a phone and not being used as a camera.
How long have you been creating photos with an iPhone?
It all started when my son insisted I update to an iPhone 4S the day after Christmas 2011. It took another two months before I even considered taking my first photo and once I did, that was it, I was hooked. The rest is history as they say.
How has iPhoneography affected you as an artist?
While it has renewed my interest in photography, it has given me the ability to get up close when engaging in street photography in ways not possible before, due to the phones flexibility. It also has provided me with a perspective I was not able to previously achieve when it comes to my table-top still life creations. The iPhone allows me not only to move in very close but also from a very low angle that would not be possible with a DSLR.
Of course the mobility of the iPhone has changed just about all aspects of photography, as one no longer needs to lug around several pounds of a camera and can take wonderful photographs at the spur of the moment.
In the end, the iPhone has become an indispensable tool in most aspects of my creative thinking. A tool just as valuable as my paint brushes for painting, my pen and notebooks to record my thoughts, or even the DSLR, which I use for capturing images a mobile unit is not suited for.
What drives you to create photos?
Photography is only one of my mediums of artistic expression. While I also paint large scale abstract and small landscapes, or build an occasional sculpture, these past two years have primarily focused only on photography.
While I thrive on the rapid energies and the unknown when out on the streets photographing strangers up close or documenting the ethereal daily surroundings of our lives, my true first love is to create environments, a world within a world on a dinning room table.
The influences of 17th century Dutch ‘Golden Age’ of painting, in particular the Flemish still-life painters who drive my desire to conceive, forage, gather the elements needed to build a small imaginary setting and build a narrative with the objects selected. For photography is just another medium with which to tell a story.
Yet if I were to sum up the question in a one sentence answer it would be, regardless of the media, the urge to create is my reason for living.
Name a few of your favorite apps.
I am mostly a traditional old school photographer, relying less on post production applications and more on capturing the image with the right camera application. If you do not have a good image to start with, no post production efforts will make it any better.
The first non-native camera I used was CameraAwesome for my street photography, then I discovered 6×6 by jag.gr, which became my primary camera for all other types of photography. For a short time I used 645Pro, but soon switched to PureShot.
When I wish to capture an image in B/W, I use MPro, the best program I have found to date. Finally, there is Hipstamatic, mostly a LoFi camera application that also applies image altering effects to the image based on the selection of ones lens and film.
All camera applications other than Hisptamatic, allow the user to save their photos as a TIFF document, which is my preferred method of saving an image.
As for post production there are a variety of app’s I reply on, but ultimately my goal is not to require any post production altering app’s. However if I do chose to alter an image, here are some of the most used post processing applications:
Old Photo Pro
I would like to close out this question with two applications that are camera applications but also provide alternative post processing. Instant 101 provides the user with numerous different lenses, film types but also processing chemicals which have an effect of altering the image.
The other application is KitCam, which unfortunately is no longer available since Yahoo purchased the company in June of 2013. KitCam has a very large selection of films and lenses, but this was not it’s only strength, there were also post production settings available to the user, making this one of the best application for the mobile photographer.
What are some of the projects you are working on?
Most of my photography ends up becoming a long term project. One has been Graveyard Typography, which was started in 2005, using my first digital 5 mega pixel Sony pocket camera, then a Canon 7D DSLR and now I use the iPhone 4S.
These last two years the focus has been on San Francisco Chinatown, including the numerous cemeteries in Northern California, which also has become a collaborative project with other mobile photographers from various countries. Recently the focus has shifted to developing still-life sets, photographing objects that either have lost their usefulness or have some nostalgic memory associated with them.
A much larger project is in the planing and gathering stage and most likely will take anywhere from eighteen months to two years to complete. It is based on tea cups and their previous owners who collected them. The limited information that I have been able to obtain will be used to write a short story, which is then photographically illustrated.
Once any of these projects are finished, the goal is to make the projects available in the form of an eBook at iTunes.
Where can we see more of your work?
Generally I am a very private person when it comes to my photography or my art. Sharing only with a few close friends. Only after launching The iPhone Arts did I begin to seek a larger audience.
It was only for a short time that I was on Instagram ( Egmont_the_Artist ) until the issues with their Terms of Service agreement in August of 2012, that I decided not to post any longer. While there have been some plans to use alternative social websites dedicated to photography like 500px and Flickr, I have once again become selective as to my exposure.
For the time being my work is only featured on my website The iPhone Arts, under the title Passport to my Neighborhood and the occasional post.
My two art websites are The Artist Within Us and Four Seasons in a Life. and I have a personal FaceBook page and a FaceBook TiPA page.
Blurb Books: The Artist’s Camera