How to Use Your iPhone to Create Frameable Art

How to Use Your iPhone to Create Frameable Art

How a design constraint helped me make art
Burton Rast
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When I first moved to San Francisco, I spent every free moment exploring my new locale, camera in hand, with a backpack full of lenses and a tripod. With time, however, the weight of my DSLR and pack felt more like an albatross than an accessory, and I adopted the usual photographer’s lament, yearning for a magical gadget that could output images of a quality inversely proportional to its bulk.

Fast forward to fall of last year. Adobe announces an update to its Lightroom iOS app that allows users to capture RAW photos using their smartphone camera. Slowly, I began experimenting with on-the-go editing techniques similar to those I’ve developed over time using Lightroom on desktop. Could the iPhone, with its tiny image sensor, actually be the magic gadget I craved?

24 April 2016 / Developing my desktop editing technique / Canon 5D Mark II and Lightroom CC

I’ve long wanted to do a project that celebrates the diverse architecture of my adoptive city, and my newly augmented smartphone camera provided just the opportunity. So, I set out to answer my own question with a specific aesthetic in mind and a simple design constraint in place: I would use my iPhone, alone, for both photos and edits.

#ShapesOfSF № 1 / 1 April 2016 / iPhone 6s and Lightroom Mobile

I have now captured and shared more than 40 photos—one each day since April 1st—and will continue to do so until the series tops out at 100 images. The constraints I held myself to and the consistency of daily publishing have allowed me to quickly refine and iterate the technique—an accidental outcome as happy as it was unforeseen.

#ShapesOfSF № 25 + № 33 / May 2016 / iPhone 6s and Lightroom Mobile

As designers, we often yearn for carte blanche freedom to explore and create as we see fit. What we forget is that our best solutions often come from imposing limits on that freedom, and seeing what comes of it.

How I did it: all photos in the series are captured using an iPhone 6S, and all edits were performed in roughly 60 seconds using some black and white alchemy in the Color tab of Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile app for iOS.

#ShapesOfSF № 34 / 4 May 2016/ iPhone 6s and Lightroom Mobile

Want to see more of Burton’s work? Check out this, a NATO & G8 protest he attended in Chicago in May of 2012. And this, the stations of the Moscow Metro he captured during a visit in the fall of 2015.

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Burton Rast
Burton Rast’s passion for solving human needs via new, connected technologies is only outdone by his love for photography and his blind cat.
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