iPhoneography with Gary Cohen
This week on iPhoneography with…we have a very special interview for you from Gary Cohen, London-based street photographer and iPhoneographer. Gary’s photography style is truly impeccable, and he has a knack for shooting gorgeously contrasted black and white photos with the iPhone…we love his bold, unapologetic style and we think you will too! Read on to get Gary Cohen’s photographic point of view!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you become passionate about photography?
My mom gave me a camera when I was around 8 to keep me out of trouble. It was an Olympus point and shoot camera (film obviously, since I was born before the digital age). I really enjoyed wondering around snapping at things. Eventually I got a Minolta SLR and worked my way up to a Canon 1D. About two years ago I started actively participating in street photography. The Canon was a bit too big and noticeable for candid shots so I turned to my iPhone 4. Now I’m primarily shooting with a Leica M9, but it’s mainly to have more control of the device (and the better resolution/optics).
What is it about street photography that you find so appealing?
There are two things I really like about street photography. One is the thrill of the chase. Trying to find an interesting person doing something equally interesting. It’s not an easy task by any means. I also like the feeling that I’m invisible and able to capture life as it is on the street.
Do you feel that having a defined style is an important aspect of street photography?
I think everyone has their own style. For me it’s a combination of a variety of photographers I admire, but, in most cases I can’t do as well as them. So, I do the best that I can with the tool I have in hand.
When did the iPhone become a viable medium for your work?
When the iPhone 4 came out I saw the camera as a viable alternative to traditional photo making. I’m not a big fan of most of the filters that you can apply on a photo. I tend to think if the photo is good, it doesn’t need it. I pretty much just use Hipstamatic since I like the square format, the black and whites are highly contrasty, and it doesn’t require any editing.
2011 was a busy year for you…Could you tell us a little bit about winning the Creative Hive: Pixel This competition? And also about hosting your first solo exhibition?
Yes, 2011 was a busy year. I was lucky enough to win the Create Hive contest which was very nice, but in general I don’t put much effort into contests nor give them a lot of thought. It’s nice that people may or may not like my photos, but to me, I’m not doing it for them. It’s strictly for myself. My first solo exhibition was nice. It wasn’t a traditional show, but a few of my close friends stopped by to wish me well and I appreciated that.
What tips and tricks would you be willing to share with other iPhoneographers?
The only advice I’d give to aspiring iPhoneographers (and traditional photographers for that matter) is to keep doing it. Take chances with your photography. Get up close to people and don’t be afraid to be yelled at. It’s all part of the game.
Tell us about any plans you have for future exhibitions, or other photographic projects
I’m working on putting together another show in Paris with a fellow photographer (who had her start as an iPhoneographer as well). I’m also working on a couple of street projects, one a solo event, and another as part of a duo on the streets of London.
You can check out Gary’s work at the following locations: