iPhones, camera apps and Pop Art
I joined Flickr in October 2007. At the time it felt like I was a late comer.
As I have certain obsessive tendencies, I had resisted the urge to join for well over a year.
I was concerned I would go down that rabbit hole and not come up for air for….years. And that, folks, is why I’ve never tried meth and don’t have Angry Birds on my phone. Nopie nope. Can’t do it.
Ah, what wonders to behold.
But I did join and I’m glad I did. The dizzying scope and array of artistic talent and vision presented on Flickr is staggering.
One of the first people I noticed and marked as a contact on Flickr was Barky aka Mark Schreiner, and his was one of the first images I ‘favorited’.
Mark’s work has a fantastic, shall we say lurid quality I find very appealing. It’s fun, bright, cheeky and dripping with slurpy color goodness.
It finally dawned on me that I would like to know a little bit more about this person whose work I’ve been following for 5 years.
Not really. But imagine me saying ‘Interview!’ just like you would say ‘Road trip!’
So yeah. The interview thing. S’what I did. Here’s the paraphrased scoop.
But first, a little background
- Name: Mark
- Age: 696 months and counting
- Marital status: Married to Tracey
- Current location: San Jose, CA
- Education: College dropout
- Interesting tidbit: In recovery for record store management
- Spiritual cred: Returned to the fold i.e. family business and single-handedly ‘saved’ the Hallmark Card brand
- Signs of intelligent life: No children
Yes, but what about his capital ‘A’ art background?
“I did take a couple of photo classes at college and made a C in both of them. My stuff was terrible. We had assignments and I don’t do well with assignments or deadlines, at least on the creative side.”
Did that stop him from becoming a complete photography genius?
Creative Influences for $500 Alex.
Andy Warhol. Duh.
The Man. Ray.
Kim. The ex-girlfriend. From 20 years ago. Let it go already. I’m just
dead serious kidding.
Wife Tracey. There, that has restored the warm fuzzy feeling inside my tummy.
Dad. See ‘spiritual cred’ above.
On a more serious note, Mark’s dad passed away a few years ago, but in an odd, loving and curmudgeonly way, his “persistent dislike” of Mark’s photos pushed him to keep trying. I, for one, am very glad. I LOVE them.
Who needs a camera when you have an iPhone?
There is a world wide movement starting. People are abandoning their SLR/DSLR cameras in favor of using iPhone cameras exclusively.
I wrote about this emerging trend in my review on DPS’s latest ebook, iPhone Photography – How to shoot, edit and share great photography.
Here’s what Mark has to say on the subject:
“My parents gave me an Instamatic camera when I was 12, so I have been shooting since then, but never seriously until the past 20+ years.
I probably still have every photo, slide and digital image I’ve ever taken either in several boxes or on this computer……
I’ve had a SLR since I was in my 20’s, but when digital cameras came out, I was the first to have one.
I have owned at least 8 digital cameras. Then I bought a Canon DSLR Rebel xti about 8 years ago and started to go crazy taking photos. Almost everybody liked my stuff, so it just encouraged me.
About 3 years ago when I got an iPhone, I decided to do an experiment and take only photos with a bad camera phone. I figured if I could take a photos with a crap camera, I must know what I’m doing.
What was supposed to be a couple months experiment has now gone on for over 2 years now. I do own a fancy Sony DSC RX-100 compact I bought recently, but I rarely use it.
My iPhone 4s is my go-to camera everyday. I sold the Canon DSLR about 2 months ago.”
Questions, I got questions.
DW: Where do you get artistic inspiration from? What will prompt you to pick up your camera and aim it at a particular thing/place/person? Do you always have a pre-planned idea in mind, or do you wing it?
MS: I rarely have a pre-planned idea, maybe once in a blue moon. Usually a photo is taken at a moment’s notice and I may forget about it for a week or sometimes a month before doing anything with/to it. Almost all my photos are taken in and around the home, so my inspiration comes from my closest surroundings.
DW: What are you looking for in your imagery? Is there a particular feelings or mood you try to evoke?
MS: I think it’s obvious I try to be the most colourful guy around. Lots of saturation is my trademark. After that, my photos are humourous and playful. Once in a while I take a serious photo, but not too often. Many of my titles are from a song or musical artist.
DW: Tell me anything you can and are willing to share, about your post-processing decisions and techniques.
MS: I sometimes will work on a photo on the iPad for an hour and then discard it. Other times I make one change and then post it. I go for the saturation button first. After that it all falls into place ~ or not.
DW: I love your work. It is deceptively simple, extremely lurid, super saturated in color and playful. Much of it reminds me of Warhol’s work. One of your most recent, Take Me to Your Photographer, is AWESOME. I realize there’s no ‘question’ here, just letting you know what I think. I will be featuring several of your pieces from your photostream, and that will probably be one of them. Actually, you could tell me a little bit about that piece…..
MS: Take Me to Your Photographer is a photo of a new toy robot I had bought. Of course it looks nothing like the actual robot after I finished with it. I took the photo probably 6 months ago one night, messed with it and posted it to Flickr. The next morning when I looked at it, I didn’t like it, so I took it down as I quite often do. Then I looked at it again a couple of weeks ago and re posted it. I guess I like it now. It’s a happy shot.
But most important of all…
DW: What is the significance of your screen name, Barky?
MS: It’s been my nickname for the past 25 years, given to me one drunken night when we were all barking at the moon. I think I howled the loudest.
DW: I LOVE your icon (Shoney’s Big Boy). Anything you want to share about its significance?
MS: The only significance is I grew up eating that food in Washington Dc. Then I bought a Big Boy Bobblehead, photoed it about the time Flickr was starting up and made it the icon.
It ain’t the equipment. It’s the eye. Wherein beauty lies.
Feast your eyes on more of Mark’s funtastical, phantasmagorical and utterly beguiling artwork below. Then check out his Flickr stream. Seriously. There are so many amazing pieces over there I had a very hard time selecting the handfull I needed for this post.
Want to know which iPhone apps he prefers?
Scroll to the bottom to find out.
And finally the man himself. I hope to meet him someday, maybe when his MOMA show opens. That’s called ‘positive thinking’, and when you do it for the good of a fellow human being, you get jelly beans in heaven.
I don’t believe in heaven, but if I did, it would have jelly beans and gummy bears.
Mark’s Four Favorite iPhone Apps: