Co.Design

How The IPhone Is Helping Remake The Art Of Architectural Photography

Lynette Jackson creates an elegant architectural collage hearkening back to the classic monographs of the mid-century, all on an iPhone.

Contemporary architectural photography can be a little boring. There, I said it. With a few major exceptions, most photographers are asked by their architect-clients to portray buildings in rarefied pseudo-renderings, devoid of people, furniture, dirt, or any other evidence of real use.

Lynette Jackson, better known as her Flickr handle p67, is challenging that approach. Jackson is a leader in the growing online subculture of iPhoneography, which refers to images that are captured, manipulated, and distributed via smartphone. The idea behind iPhoneography is simple: Technical limitations breed creativity. Jackson’s work is raw, gritty, and heavily altered. Though sometimes verging on retro-nostalgic, the images convey a rare excitement and engagement on the part of the photographer. Some architects are even referring to Jackson’s bi-weekly uploads as "the 21st century architectural monograph."

First of all: Jackson isn’t an architect. Architecture is a passion for the Atlanta-based telecommunications professional, who studied engineering in school. "Photography is a hobby," she explains to Co.Design. "I have a DSLR, but the iPhone is my favorite camera." Jackson’s relaxed attitude towards her work might be what makes it so vibrant and accessible. She loves the mid-century, and searches out lesser-known buildings when she travels. Using the iPhone’s native camera app, she captures series that thoughtfully examine structures, from exteriors down to construction details.

After shooting, she goes into processing mode. "I spend hours playing with apps, which result in ideas for series," she says. Jackson uses a cocktail of image apps to manipulate the raw files, including SnapSeed, CameraMatic, PictureShow, FilmLab, and MagicHour. For design she says she depends on iDesign, StripeCam, PicFrame, Decim8, ImageBlender, and Phonto. The resulting images appear in two- or four-part series, framed with graphic devices like color blocking and Swiss-style type pulled from the golden age of architectural publishing.

According to Jackson, the App store is still lacking. "I think of color filters and apps that I wish existed to perform certain functions," she tells us. "Obviously, I’m consumed with iPhoneography."

[Images courtesy of Lynette Jackson (Flickr, Instagram at @P67_byLynetteJackson); h/t Spillman Farmer Architects and A Daily Dose of Architecture]

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5 Comments

  • Gierschickwork

    Not an iPhonographer by any means, but many of these are very reminiscent of Charles Demuth's oils on panel, to whit: 

  • bill

    good comments all, check out some more of jackson's work to see her straight up shooting as well.  i think that architectural iphoneography is at an interesting early stage in development, don't kick it to the curb yet  :  )

    http://speakingofarchitecture-...

    thanks and hope you check out the link to jackson's flickr site as well!

    bill

  • 2FUTURE

    Remake? I'm not sure about that, you can barely tell anything about the building from these photographs. Sure they look cool, but its not like you can't do this in PS afterwards.

    These are only small facets about the building and just make it look somewhat interesting with effects.... but still doesn't show much of a facade for example, but just showing 3-4 mullions and panes of glass.I guess its artistic, but nothing to celebrate as remaking.

  • Upside to Crazy

    Agreed. I'm also worried the iPhoneography trend could be pidgeon-holing us into one way of looking and seeing. This seems just another part in the 'washed out, faded and soft' aesthetic that is so popular right now. 

    There's also something to be said about being so 'casual' about capturing images, but yet how much time is spent with the whole gamut of apps editing so that blown out sky is just the right color of faded orange?