Dear Diary


November is an anniversary of sorts; it marks a year since I started using the iPhone as a camera. Scrolling through the thousands of photos from this first year it struck me that my phone’s camera roll has served as a type of diary. Not the sort that records events, places and moments, but a diary that shows how my visual perception of the world has changed and how technology has changed my visual perception. And, as diaries do, my camera roll reveals my photo turning points during the year.

What really jumped out at me was a shift in subject and composition. Having a phone camera with me all the time meant my photos went from capturing trips or events formally on a “real” camera to shots of the everyday mundane and minutiae. For some reason, using a phone instead of a “real” camera freed me up to shoot spontaneously, frequently and informally. My shots started to look down, look up, look close and look away.

Then, about a month in, Instagram and its filters and tools made their first appearance. After years working in design, retouching and print production, the hours spent trying to achieve a look for an art director could be done in a few clicks. At first I went overboard filtering like a fool.

Six months later, after gorging at the filter feast, my camera roll diary reveals that I did a stylistic 180. I challenged myself to compose the best photo I could and post it on Instagram with no editing or filtering (other than Instagram’s mandatory square crop).

This has been mirrored in this blog as Mr. DW and I carry on our iPhone v camera rivalry. In order to keep our playing field level Mr. DW and I have kept our mad Photoshop skills and app wizardry to a minimum. Until now.

A year after my first raw images, I’m doing another 180, back to exploring camera apps (vivdHDR, Hipstamatic) and editing apps (Snapseed, Photowizard). Aware of my tendency to overindulge in tasty technology, I’m choosing to go over the top and change images from straight photography to more photo-illustration.

Here are my first “sketches”. Of course the irony doesn’t escape me that when I first started working with Photoshop the biggest request was to “restore” old images. Now the digital universe is populated with pseudo-nostaglic distressed images only moments old.