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Apple Wants to Teach You How to Get the Most Out of Your Phone

From photography to digital painting, learn how to become an art student in your own time.
January 11, 2016, 10:00pm
Bernhard Lang. All images courtesy the artists

So many of us use our smartphones as the means to shoot portraits for Instagram or make memes for fun. So it makes sense that Apple launched workshops at stores worldwide to teach users photo skills and digital painting.

Apple worked with 11 artists to make art to inspire others to generate their own artworks. The artists then shared their process, from concept to creation on the company's website. We were invited to take part in the inaugural workshops with artists Tiffany Bozic, Jake Sargeant, William Hundley, Greg Barth, and Bernhard Lang. We took out our outdated iPhones to learn some insider tips from artists we already admire and used the opportunity to corner the artists for our own education. How often can you get a photographer like Lang to explain the composition of a photo face to face? Here is a breakdown of what we learned from an evening of artist workshops:


Bernhard Lang shooting with an iPhone6s+

Bernhard Lang’s aerial photographs of landscapes are awe-inspiring— there is no getting past that. Lang’s process starts out with researching areas that are impacted by climate change like greenhouses in Southern Spain, destruction in the South African desert, or coal mines in Bavaria. Lang tells The Creators Project his photos tend to resemble abstract paintings and “show the beauty but also show the destruction of the earth. I am interested in the impact of humans on the world.” He usually employs an SLR camera but for the Apple campaign used an iPhone 6s+ to shoot large-scale aerial shots of Miami from a helicopter using a strong mount that could sustain the high winds. Lang shot over 600 images over 2 1/2 hours using the three-second timer and a blue tooth device to push the trigger. “I could use every image I shot with it,” he says. He then worked the images in the Photoshop Express app to better their alignment and composition, focusing on saturation, brightness, and temperature. The images are beautiful. I can’t say that I my photographs will be better, but at least I got some insight from a photographer I admire and he was able to communicate his techniques pretty easily.

Jake Sargeant

We visited Jake Sargeant’s workshop because he makes these collaged images that are ethereal using photos of his 4-year-old son in Northern California landscapes. By using an Olloclip Macro Proactive Lens to get close up nature shots and a MeFOTO Sidekick 360plus to keep the camera steady, Sargeant was able to take some incredibly crisp images of flora and fauna of the Redwoods and California coastline. Sargeant uses a variety of smart phone apps and clip-on devices to accomplish his art. The one I was most excited about downloading and learning how to use was Union, for compositing two shots together. He also walked us through Darkroom, Photoshop Express, Hydra, and Adobe Creative Cloud. I am pretty impatient with learning about new apps and programs so I took this class to challenge my preconceived notions. Sargeant was able to breeze through his creative process with one-handed ease and I was impressed by both his agility and ability to create beautiful works of art in minutes.


Tiffany Bozic

We then stopped to hear about San Francisco-based artist Tiffany Bozic’s iPad art, focused on surreal representations of nature. She said she likes that working on the tablet allows her to do her artwork around her daughter without messy hazardous materials. And William Hundley spoke about his photo series that recreates the effect of wheat pasting on public walls with The Live Photo feature. He says, "I've shot in a lot of settings, property, that I didn't own and I wasn't supposed to be there. So to me, having something we could quickly run with is what I need."

All in all, we aren’t jumping to buy a new phone anytime soon but were inspired by hearing how the various artists were employing new tools and apps for their own creative means. We can foresee these new creative workshops having life-changing effects for individuals who want to follow their passions and create art and for towns that may not have art colleges close by they can jumpstart their careers with one of these workshops.

William Hundley

To learn more about the workshops click here.


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