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.”