With the closing date of the Varsity iPhoneography competition looming, Lizzie Marx interviews the judge, pioneering Canadian iPhoneographer, MissPixels
An interview over the telephone seems too passé for the iPhonographer, MissPixels. Instead, I am lucky enough to meet her in her true form, as a pixellated image on Skype. Right from the first fuzzy glimpse of her, I experience passion, energy and ambition radiating through the MacBook screen. Behind her in the Quebecois office there is a stack of canvases in bright expressive colours, to which she comments, “It gets out the anger”.
The technologist has been doing iPhoneography since 2009 when she acquired her first i-Phone. “I used the camera like everybody else”. But things began to change when she took a picture of her friend with a Mini Cooper. “I didn’t like the colour” she explains, “So I started to play with apps and got hooked!” Initially MissPixels’ incessant snapping (250 frames a day) annoyed her friends. But as her fame flourished, “Now all they want is for me to photograph them!” she jokes.
MissPixels is all about art, attaining not only a BA in Visual Art but also a BA in Graphic Design in 1996 as a way to unite her love of art and technology. “I did a photography course for my BA and I got good grades,” but, she firmly states, “I am not a photographer”. When you study MissPixels’ photographs there is a lot more to them than just a photographic image. “Photography is an element,” she explains, but when she uses the apps to edit the photograph she turns into a painter. “There’s a world between the beginning image and the end”. Indeed, iPhotographs are unique; a sort of marriage of the virtual world with the real world where the photos are texturally enhanced with noise and grain and the movement in shots creates smudges of colour, like brushstrokes.
I asked MissPixels for advice on how to take a good photograph. “If you shoot a picture and can find the same thing on Google-image, don’t do it”, she asserts. She’s interested in innovative points of view: “Jump on the table!” she exclaims, “That’s the difference between an artist and an amateur”. And the best apps she suggests are ‘Tilt Shift Gen’, ‘Picture Show’, ‘PS Express’, ‘King Camera’, ‘Diptic’ and ‘EXP’.
This is an artist who sees herself as the next page in the history books. Her forebears such as David Hockney and Ai WeiWei, have “opened the door” for her. “People are listening to me more now than a year ago. I’m taken more seriously.” Last summer the MOMA published her photograph 4th July on their social network, exposed to 400,000 subscribers. “I was shaking, and couldn’t work all day!” she recalls, adding, “This meant that they had accepted iPhoneography as a true medium.”
This ambitious artist is busy right now. Not only is she jetting to Europe preaching the values of iPhoneography in Apple temples, but she wants to mount a solo exhibition and gain recognition from the art council as well. In fact, she is the first iPhoneographer to ask for a grant. If successful, iPhoneography will be officially recognised as an art form.
And what about the resistance from the photography traditionalists? “I don’t mind it”, explains MissPixels sagely. “They feel afraid because it’s new”, adding, “the same thing happened with the revolution of the digital camera”. Her vocabulary is big, speaking of the art world, the future, revolution. No doubt, we shall be seeing a great deal more of this pioneer; not solely judging Varsity’s upcoming competition, but perhaps also a photo or two gracing the walls of the Tate, very soon.
Winner to be featured in 'iPhoneographyshow.com Exhibition' in New York at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art, December 16-22.
Deadline for submissions: Monday 21st November. Email entries to firstname.lastname@example.org