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Follow Worthy: Marey Mercy

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We’re awash in selfies these days. (In fact, we may have hit peak selfie.) We love the selfie as much as anyone, but there are a lot of not-so-flattering self-portraits out there. We have our eyeballs on photos shared on social media all day long, and when we spot someone who clearly has a gift for self-portraiture, we stand up and take notice. Today, we’re profiling Marey Mercy (her nom de plume as a blogger and Flickr member), who takes very fun, very colorful photos. We chatted with her about self-portraiture and selfies….

You take a lot of very impressive self portraits. Why self-portraits?

First of all, thank you! Portraiture was my primary interest in the beginning, but I wasn’t confident in my ability to take decent photos or direct someone during a shoot, so I used myself as the model to solve that problem. Using myself freed me to learn because I didn’t have to worry about how anything turned out – if the photos were awful I hadn’t disappointed anyone, and if I decided to really mess with the results and go wild with the processing no one got bent out of shape about it. Also, I don’t like working on a schedule so using myself as the model means whenever I’m ready to shoot, I can shoot. I am also a bit of a loner and a homebody, so taking photos has become a pleasant way for me to spend the huge amount of private time I require to remain sane and still be productive. I’ve branched out into other types of photography as well as working with other models since I started, but the self-portraits have remained a nice little ritual in which I indulge quite often. It’s genuinely fun for me and one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday.

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I think there’s a difference between selfies and self-portraits, although the term “selfie” seems to have taken over (at least temporarily). Do you see self-portraiture and selfies as fundamentally different?

I think a self-portrait attempts to communicate to the viewer, “This is who I am,” while a selfie just tries to say “Hey,” or, “This is what I’m wearing.” In that respect, my photographs are more in the selfie category than the self-portrait one. I’ve called my photos self-portraits in the past but it’s always felt like a half-truth; sure it’s me, but I’m not doing what a more traditional self-portrait does. I’m not using props or place or setting to communicate aspects of myself to others. In fact, I actually use costumes and makeup and movement to try and transform myself into someone — or something — else. It’s the opposite of a self-portrait. Perhaps I should start calling what I do “unselfies.”

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You seem to love to dress up. Do you have a large cache of costumes that you rely on? Is part of your interest in photography based in this love of dressing up and capturing all of that in photos?

I was writing about this on my blog just the other day, that if my photos fit in any category, it’s most likely fashion photography, although I’m not sure it fits there either. I’ve always been one of those people who love clothes and tries to wear them creatively; the makeup and wigs are more recent interests but my current obsession with those things comes from the same part of me that is interested in presentation, transformation, and illusion. I have a huge admiration for drag queens for the same reasons and follow their makeup tutorials and tips more than anything when putting on a face for a shoot. Also, I have several different approaches I might take to a session, and most of those are based on aspects of fashion – a certain color or combination of colors, fabrics and how they flow when the wearer moves about, a wig that makes a real statement, some new makeup technique I want to try. And the way I use lighting tends to mimic that of fashion photography more than anything else, at least from what I can tell. As far as costumes, I’m always looking for interesting vintage pieces I can use in a shoot. I have an entire closet of costumes and I have wigs stashed in bins all over the house, but I don’t like to hang onto too much stuff because I get overwhelmed. So I’m constantly cycling things through - every time I buy something new, I make myself give something away.

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Your photos are too good to be amateur. Do you have a background in photography? You must do some post-processing with some of these photos. What kind of editing tools do you use?

Oh dear, this is where it gets tricky. I am completely self-taught, and although I’ve tried to take courses both in a classroom and online, I’m afraid that nothing sticks with me until whatever technique I’m trying to learn is one I’m actually needing to know in the exact moment that I’m learning it. So I am a mish-mash of rudimentary knowledge spread out over a large area. What I mean is, I know a little bit about Photoshop, but only in relation to working with very specific aspects of portraits, then I have another program I use to sharpen a photo and add detail (Snapseed, which for a brief time offered a desktop version of the phone app for twenty bucks; I love it and if I ever lose my copy of it I will die). I use Photo Ninja to work with the photos in RAW, then Paint Shop Pro when I need to use layers and masks, and of course, I use Pixlr for overlays and borders. I’m just a ridiculous mess, really. My workflow is a nightmare. But I love post-processing and am completely addicted to it. When people say they don’t edit their photos I get twitchy, like, how do you live like that? When I was a kid, I used to get my mom’s magazines and use markers to improve all the models in the ads, so I’ve been into this for a really weird, long time. I often say post-processing to me is akin to coloring in coloring books when I was a kid – it’s the adult version of coloring, and that’s why I can spend so many hours doing it that my right arm practically falls off.

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Who else — or what else do you usually photograph? Any subjects stand out for you?

I am currently obsessed with aviation photography. It’s funny because I’m known for the portraits and movement stuff, so this new desire to take pictures of jet airplanes throws people who’ve been following me for awhile. But when I think about, it has a lot of what I love about my other work – movement, and the desire to capture it accurately; you’re taking this thing that is moving incredibly fast and stopping it, suspending it in the air. And commercial jets are actually quite colorful and interesting visually. So really not that different from my usual stuff at all.

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What would be an ideal photo vacation for you? If you could just go somewhere and leisurely take photos for two weeks, where would you go?

Oooh, the beach right by Sint Martaan Airport! Only, I would clear the beach for two weeks and it would just be me and my camera and some of my lovely friends, with lots of flowy dresses and wigs and airplanes landing directly over our heads. Have you ever seen footage of that beach? The planes fly so low I think you could stick out your tongue and lick those planes as they fly over. Dang, now that it’s in my head, I feel like I have to make that happen.

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You seem to have a very creative bent. What else do you do besides take photos?

You know, I cannot state enough what discovering photography has done for my quality of life. I’ve always needed some form of creative outlet, and when I started taking pictures about four years ago I was between interests and very unhappy about it. I was definitely searching for something. I wrote poetry for a long time (about 15 years in fact), then grew bored with it and painted instead for a while. But I was horrible. Now, with a digital camera, there is literally not one reason for me to feel bored or unfulfilled anymore, ever. Perhaps the day will come when it no longer serves me, but I came to it late (I was 41 when I started) so maybe it will be my last creative love before I kick off. So far, any plateau I’ve reached has been easily overcome simply by looking around and discovering something else I’d like to photograph or try – be it a new subject, new lighting, or a new lens. It feels pretty limitless to me.

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We’re huge fans of her work, and we definitely would recommend you follow her. She’s got some beautiful photos on Flickr, and she writes about photo shoots, airplanes, her massage therapist, and any other number of things on her blog. Her creative output runs the gamut from poetry to photography, and she even offers some of her work for sale on Getty Images. Marey Mercy, thank you for sharing all this wonderful stuff with us on our blog!

Follow Worthy: Hayley Marlow

We’re always scanning the Internet for people who take interesting photos with our apps, and from time to time we like to dig in and learn a bit more about them. Today, we’re lassoing Hayley Marlow, one of the members of our Pixlr on Flickr group. Since she joined the group about a year ago, we’ve noticed her style has changed again and again. We wanted to know just what all the experiments were about and what her background was with photography. Turns out, she’s still developing her style. 

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Where do you live in this wide world?

I live in Leicestershire, England. I move around a bit but always return to Leicestershire.

Your Flickr profile says you’re relatively new to photography, but it looks like you know what you’re doing. When did you pick up a camera (or camera phone)?

Thanks *blushes*. I got my first compact camera last year as a birthday gift and haven’t been able to put it down since. I recently invested in a dSLR camera — three weeks ago — because I realised this is something I love to do. I am still trying to work out how it all works, but I am enjoying having a go.

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From looking at your photos, you seem to be pretty good at street photography. Our last Follow Worthy interviewee (Maria Georgiadou) says she’s sometimes shy and has to rely on a zoom lens to capture intimate photos of people in the streets. Are you good at approaching people or making them comfortable about being photographed?

I can completely relate to that. It does get easier though. The more I do it, the easier it becomes. I carry a few cards with me (it could just be a homemade one) with my email address and Flickr account written on it. I find that people are a lot happier to let me take their picture if they will have an opportunity to view it afterwards. Sometimes giving someone a card is inappropriate such as if I take a picture of a homeless person. I tend to get on the floor with them and share a tea and a chat. I enjoy listening to peoples’ stories. Most importantly, I feel like you are not doing anything wrong, and the worst thing that can happen is someone will say no. Respect their request, say thanks, and find someone else.

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By crazy coincidence, we noticed you photographed the same street ad as one of our previous Follow Worthy folks (JeffC.42) who also happens to live in your area. He’s into street photography, too. Is Leicester just a stellar spot for street photography?

Awesome! Leicester is a cool place to take street photography pictures. I have only had positive experiences with the people there. It’s my home city. It’s a totally different experience taking my camera with me now. I see the city in a different way. It’s like rediscovering the city I love.

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Some of your photos are heavily textured and look like HDR photos. Do you prefer to experiment with lots of effects?

I do. I think in part it’s because I am new to photography. I want to try everything! I sometimes have reign myself in.

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Not all of your photos are of street scenes. In fact, from looking at the lot of them it seems like you are trying out all kinds of styles. Do you feel like you’ve found a style yet or do you expect to keep experimenting?

I really like experimenting, again I think it’s because I am new and want to try it all. I had a conversation with my 13 year old son about finding my style, my niche, and he said something that has stuck with me. He is autistic and sees things in a very logical way. I said I am not sure what I am into yet — street, macro, nature etc. And he said, “Mum, you are into photography; don’t choose.” So I plan to keep experimenting.

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Smart kid. No need to choose when you have all these roads to try out. Thank you, Hayley, for taking time out of your day to tell us more about you! We’ll be following along to see what you make next. You can also follow Hayley on Flickr or Instagram

Follow Worthy: Maria Georgiadou

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There’s a solid group of people who take spectacular photos and share them to our Flickr group. Today, we’re getting to know one of them a little better, Maria Georgiadou, who hails from Athens, Greece.

Maria is especially good at creating images she calls “Re-Creations.” You can find a great set of these images here on Flickr, and all of them are edited with PIxlr-o-matic. She takes photos of trees, the sea, flowers, whatever and edits them with effects, overlays, and borders to really make them into a different kind of photo art. As she notes in the set, “Some photos just crave to be…something else… I create a photo, then I create something else out of the same photo.” 

Many of these photos have the look of an old, faded postcard that was mailed to your grandmother from the Old World. Maria’s Greek locale really shines through in these gorgeously scratched-up scenes. 

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In addition to these Re-Creations, she’s also great with color, and she takes some excellent macro shots of flowers and nature and everything else she finds along the way. We asked her about her history of taking and sharing photos.

How long have you been taking photos?

2007 was the year I bought my first digital compact camera and started attending photography seminars. Before that I used to take photos on my holidays only, but my family background consists of at least five photographers (cousins, uncles, aunts) plus two of my best friends. So, photography was always there for me, and at some point it became my favorite hobby. I started sharing my photos on the Internet several years later, although my Flickr account was opened in 2009.

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Are you a pro or amateur photographer? What kind of equipment do you use?

I consider myself a very enthusiastic amateur photographer, although I’ve done some work with magazines and newspapers. I’m always in search of quality photography jobs, especially when it comes to landscapes or macros or photographing clubs, bars, hotels, etc. I own three digital cameras and 10 analog! I usually work with my Canon EOS 450 SLR camera.

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I don’t see many people in your photos or posed settings. Are there any special subjects that regularly catch your eye?

The subjects that usually interest me are landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, macro, doors and windows, small details of objects, objects like handmade stuff (jewelry, gifts, etc.), animals, theater, street graffiti. I am really shy at photographing people I don’t know in the streets, so I usually do it when they’re not looking, and I have to use all of my zoom to do it!

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Do you use many effects, overlays, or filters? What photo apps do you use?

I use Pixlr-o-matic for adding overlays and textures. Other than that, I do the usual corrections in color or in contrast/brightness on programs like Picasa or FastStone.

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Where can we find more of your work?

Here are some links where you can find my stuff: my Facebook Page, 500px, and and of course my Flickr account and especially the Re-Creations set, which is created using Pixlr-o-matic only.

And, of course, you can follow her in any of those locations, and we suggest you do! She’s always got something pretty to share. 

Follow Worthy: kokorage

Sometimes when we look at the Pixlr on Flickr group we’ll see a photo we immediately recognize for its unique blur-heavy style. Yep, that’s kokorage. He makes some very beautiful stuff out of his photos. We tracked him down to learn a little bit more about him and the wonderful images he shares with us. 

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For Kai Rennert (aka kokorage on Flickr), photography is a hobby that he continuously experiments with, usually with his dSLR camera. From looking at his Flickr photostream, it’s clear he has a way with moody, blurred out, impressionistic scenes. He loves minimalism, monochrome images, abstractness, the city, nature, trees, and industry — to pick a few themes in his work.

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We really love how he can take a photo and use blur in a pretty substantial way to remove all the detail but preserve a whole bunch of feeling.

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He’s especially good at using effects to make some of his photos look like impressionistic paintings.

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It’s clear that he likes to add a lot of atmosphere to these images, and he says he started doing all that on the computer, which was pretty time intensive. As a father and overall busy person, he found he didn’t always have time to edit images in a time-intensive way, but he’s since moved some of his workflow with editing images to his phone, which of course he can do almost anywhere in his spare time.

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Kai told us his two tools of choice are Pixlr Express and Snapseed, which he often uses in combination. In our experience, nearly everyone who is a fan of photo apps has at least four or five of them on their phones at the ready, and we love to see the results of how these apps are combined. 

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Kai’s photos almost remind us of days past when we used to develop black-and-white photos in a darkroom. His images share some of the looks you might see from grainy, moody, high-speed 3200-speed film. 

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All these lovely photos are ultimately about how Kai deals with light and detail. Whether it’s dark and grainy and moody or bright and blurry, he takes and shares some lovely photos. He’s totally worth following!

Follow Worthy: rinzon

Rinzon is a master of #decayporn.

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That somewhat racy sounding hashtag is more than you might think at first glance. Go take a look at the photos that sport the #decayporn hashtag on Instagram, and you’ll see tons of broken down, falling apart, left behind — but also very beautiful — things. Documenting decay can be dazzling, as Rinzon shows in his photos.

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These photos appear wet with color. They’re documenting industrial decay, peeling paint, abandoned cars, graffitied walls. We don’t even want to know what types of chemicals are littering these broken cityscapes.

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Rinzon is located in Riga, the most populous Latvian city. Riga is a cultural crossroads that’s been around since 1201 A.D., but there are also plenty of abandoned factories nearby that have gone quiet since the Soviet Union dissolved. It’s a perfect place to find rusty ruins, as well as still standing stuff that RInzon saturates with color and intensity. 

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These scenes aren’t completely devoid of life. Here and there you’ll see bits of greenery or flowers poking up out of the ruins. Flowers still bloom and donuts still get decorated in this desolate landscape.

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One thing that definitely stands out to us about these photos: There are hardly any people in them. The place looks practically apocalyptic. One man’s documentation of missing people.

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Cheers, Rinzon, for being so good at documenting all this broken-down beauty! If you delight in #decayporn like we do, follow Rinzon on Instagram.

Follow Worthy: neverendinglist

Neil Wyn-Jones is both light-hearted and serious, a bit batty yet fully sincere. He writes a unique blog called neverendinglist. It’s based on a list of things he’s accomplished or wants to accomplish.

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Each post tackles something wildly different. As he says, “It’s far more than a bucket list. I’m not looking for things to do before I die. It’s a list of things to do because I’m alive, things that will write the story of life and may just change the course of it every now and then.”

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It’s quite an inspiring idea. Documenting things to do that are seriously worth doing — by yourself, with family, as part of a community. Instead of a blog full of thoughts and ramblings, it’s a blog that records wishes and accomplishments. Since kicking it off with list item #1 — start a blog — he’s gone on to give blood, make a cake, buy a cow, collect a million pennies, hold a world record, learn to unicycle, and a whole lot more.

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We discovered his blog through his Instagram photos and wanted to share a few of our favorite of his photos in collage form. They’re super saturated, excellently composed, and full of life. Breathtaking landscapes with massive clouds, heavily vignetted shots of soccer games (#9, Own a Football Club), and shots of his very photogenic kids. His outlook on life is incredibly positive and has us thinking about what we’ll accomplish in this new year.

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He hasn’t yet completed list item #16 — Win a photography competition — but we think it’s only a matter of time. He takes some outstanding pictures. He’s definitely someone worth following, so go check him out.

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Follow Worthy: ins_tar_gram

Tar has a cute doggy. Who writes in a journal and drinks coffee. 

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This photo is by a fellow with the username ins_tar_gram on Instagram. Who can resist a cute dog like this? We started following Tar last month during our holiday photo contest and were amazed at how many lovely photos he posts. To give you an idea how good he is, we’ve compiled some of our recent favorites in a few collages.

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He has a definite sense of style. According to his profile he’s a creative director and graphic designer, and it shows. We love his effects choices, which skew toward faded and drained out colors. We especially love his creative photos done up with famous phrases.

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Thanks for tagging your photos “pixlr” so we could discover them, Tar. You’re good at this. Like his photos? Follow him on Instagram for more. He’s worth following.  

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Follow Worthy: JeffC.42

We’re always (always!) on the lookout for photos edited with Pixlr apps across all platforms, but we have a special place in our heart for our Pixlr on Flickr group members. These people consistently share amazing work, and from time to time we like to toss a few questions their way to find out more about them. Today, we have JeffC.42. He shares some excellent street art on his Flickr photostream, and we wanted to know just where and how he uncovers such interesting people and images. 

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Pixlr: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? If we met you on the street, what kind of person would we see?

Jeff: I’m a retired school teacher, and I live in the village of Thurnby, which is approximately five miles east of Leicester, in a part of England called East Midlands. I’m slim, of average height, with no particular stand-out features on the street. What people would often see, however, is a camera or a smartphone in my hand.

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Pixlr: What’s your story with photography? Amateur? Artist? Do you use a phone or a digital camera? Or both?

Jeff: I’ve been an amateur photographer for over 40 years now! For a large part of this time my work was 100% monochrome using film in analogue cameras. I processed my own film and printed my photographs in a darkroom at home. After resisting the lure of digital photography for quite a while, I finally relented and took the plunge about five years ago. I really enjoy the immediacy of the digital process. Last year, I bought my first smartphone and am really enjoying using photo apps in tinkering about with my photographs. I’m still putting some film through analogue cameras. I would put my ratio of film to digital camera to smartphone usage to be in the ratio of approximately 10%:50%:40%.

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Pixlr: We see a number of beautiful murals and graffiti in your collection of Flickr photos. Are all of those taken in your home town or a nearby city?

Jeff: The recording of graffiti and murals is a part of my street photography, and although quite a lot of it is trashy, there is a great deal of work which can really be classified as street art. Most of the graffiti shots were taken not too far from home, but my street photography is far reaching. I’m happy to photograph anywhere I find something interesting and appealing.

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Pixlr: We particularly like all of the costumed people in your photos. Some of the people seem kind of absurd and make you wonder why they’re dressed up the way they are. Do you wander about taking photos looking for serendipitous moments like these, or do you hit specific events?

A number of my shots are serendipitous, although I target local events which I think will provide pleasing shots. In Leicester, we have the Pride event, the Caribbean Carnival, and the Race for Life event supporting breast cancer, amongst others which provide a rich harvest of shots.

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Jeff: What kind of apps do you use? Do you do a lot of editing of your photos, or do you prefer them to be closer to the original?

Since buying my smartphone, I have tried a fair number of photo apps, and I have finally whittled it down to Pixlr-o-Matic, Pixlr Express, PhotoEditor, Fotor, BeFunky, and Snapseed. I would say 90% of the time I use Pixlr-o-Matic or Pixlr Express. I usually begin with the former and only use the latter when I want a greater control over the final image. My analogue and digital camera photos (apart from cropping) appear as taken.

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Pixlr: Any product requests or feedback for our dev team? What do we do right and what could we do better?

Jeff: I love the simplicity of Pixlr-o-Matic, and I particularly like how you can stack the effect/overlay/border choices and then just download once. I would like to be able to do this with Pixlr Express rather than having to download effects packs individually. In order to use an app to its full potential I think the user needs to know each section really well, and I feel that the vast number of options in Pixlr Express really is a case of overkill. I’m quite happy to use the default sections for almost 100% of my work.

If you like Jeff’s work, follow him on Flickr. He always has something interesting to share — especially those gorgeous murals. Thanks, Jeff! 

Follow Worthy: Prisbourne

We’re big fans of our Pixlr on Flickr members. They share some of the most creative photos they’ve enhanced with Pixlr apps. We’ve been profiling some of them lately — most recently k8rry and Sonel. Today we have another one for you with Aldrin Gersalia — aka Prisbourne. His photos are incredibly creative, and we really love how he can take what might seem like a simple close-up of a mundane object and turn it into something strikingly artistic with just a few key effects in Pixlr Express. It’s clear he knows his way around our apps.

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Aldrin teaches Practical Arts to grade 7 and 8 at Escuela De Sophia school in the Philippines. He takes his Canon with him wherever he goes, and he told us he often edits photos before he goes to sleep. Maybe that’s why so many of his photos have a dreamy feel to them. We asked him a few questions to find out more about who he is and what he does.

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Pixlr: Are you a pro or amateur photographer? What kind of equipment do you use?

Aldrin: I am an amateur. Before, I used to use my Nokia E71 smartphone when capturing photos, but I found out those photos from my Nokia are not so good in terms of defining image details compared to those from a dSLR camera. After using Pixlr-o-matic and Photoshop I started dreaming about getting my own dSLR camera to take better photos. Now, I use my Canon Eos 600D and a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone.

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Pixlr: What kind of things inspire you? Are there themes or subjects that people might notice show up a lot in your photos?

Aldrin: People who surround me, my profession, my friends, and sometimes my mood inspire me. I always try to capture photos which I think are unique, and I like to join photo contests that challenge me to improve my skills in enhancing photos. I like to use sports mode in my dSLR to capture every moment — especially the fast-moving ones.

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Pixlr: I’m not sure where I learned this, but I think you’re a teacher, correct? Do you do anything photography-related with your students?

Aldrin: Yes! I’m an educator from Escuela De Sophia. I use photos edited in Pixlr Express as background images in my school PowerPoint presentations. Once, after a discussion, some students started asking what tool I used with my photos. Because of that they started using Pixlr effects in their photos and some even joined the Pixlr on Flickr group.

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Pixlr: Is there anything you’d like to see in our app(s) that isn’t there yet?

Aldrin: Sometimes I want to flip images and stickers [horizontally and vertically], so I have to use Photoshop to do it.

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Pixlr: Interesting. You’re the second person this week to request that. You can flip images horizontally and vertically using the Rotate tool in Pixlr Express (which may not be very apparent) but not stickers. I’ll pass that suggestion along to the team.

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Pixlr: Where’s the best place to view your photos online?

Aldrin : My Flickr profile is the best place.

Follow Worthy: Sonel

Our Pixlr on Flickr group is one of our favorite places to view Pixlr-made art, and we love profiling some of the artists who share their work with us. A few weeks back, we profiled k8rry. This time around we wanted to alert you to another skilled sharer, Sonel. A homemaker from Hartbeespoortdam, South Africa, she’s a wife and mother, animal and nature lover who enjoys swimming, blogging, digital scrapbooking, photography, digital art and graphic design, computer games, good movies, singing, reading, and most of all being at home with her family. Phew. She’s got a lot of hobbies, not the least among them taking some beautiful photos. We wanted to find out a bit more about her and her gorgeous photos, many of which she works up in Pixlr Express….

Pixlr: Have you always taken photos, or did something at some point spark the photography bug in you?

Sonel: I’m just an amateur and have always loved to take photos of nature and animals. A year ago my husband bought me a new DSLR camera, and I had something new to learn and experiment with. One day my dream of having a Canon EOS 7D with telephoto lens will come true. Maybe then I will be able to call myself a photographer.

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Pixlr: Where are you located in this wide world?

Sonel: I live with my hubby, two sons, my Peketese, Simba, and Tweety, the African Grey in Schoemansville, Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa. What I love about this place is the clean air, the mountains, and my most favourite, the dam.

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Pixlr: Sometmes you seem to focus on adding inspirational quotes to photos. And you’re pretty good at it. Why inspirational quotes? Are they all photos you take or are some photos you find?

Sonel: Thank you for the lovely compliment. All the photos are my own. I love quotes so much because I’m not really good with words. I know what I want to say but can’t always express it. Inspirational quotes also inspire me and make me think about the things in life I’m grateful for. I sometimes forget I have a lot to be grateful for; through photography and inspirational quotes I can express myself and feel good.

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Pixlr: What kind of things inspire you? Besides the inspirational quote photos, are there themes or subjects that people might notice about your photos?

Sonel: Nature, animals, my family, and music always inspire me. I think the one thing that people will notice about my photos is that I truly love nature, and I am crazy about animals. And I love to be creative with my photos.

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Pixlr: What kind of equipment do you use to take photos? Camera, smartphone, apps, etc.

Sonel: My camera is a FujiFilm FinePix S2960. The photos of my camera itself are taken with my Nokia cellphone, but I prefer to use my camera to take photos.

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Pixlr: Is incorporating effects into your photos important?

Sonel: I’m the kind of person who gets bored very easily. Most of the time I use effects on my photos, whether it’s Pixlr or Lightroom or even Adobe Photoshop actions. I don’t want to present boring photos. For example, I am currently running a photo challenge on WordPress about split-toning. When doing that I challenge myself and my readers and blogger friends and show them new ways of being creative with their photography.

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Pixlr: That’s great. Split toning is something included in some photo editing apps, and Pixlr Express uses that type of process with certain effects. It colors shadows for effect.

Sonel: Yes. With this challenge I showed them that they can do the same with Pixlr that I am doing in Lightroom. Most of them can’t afford most of the professional programs and would love to do the same. With the wonderful Pixlr apps they can.

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Pixlr: Is there anything you’d like to see in our apps that aren’t there yet? What’s your feature requests?

Sonel: More effects, borders, and overlays would be awesome. One can never have enough of them.

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Pixlr:Where’s the best place to view your photos online?

Sonel: The best place would be my Wordpress site and then there’s Flicker where I belong to the Pixlr on Flickr group.

In addition to her great quotation photos, Sonel takes some stunning photos of nature — particularly flowers — that are not to be missed. Check out her Flickr page and dig back for some great shots. 

Follow Worthy: k8rry

Some of our favorite Pixlr People post their beautiful photos in our Pixlr on Flickr group. Some of these folks are real standouts, continually sharing images that blow us away either with their subject matter, their sense of style, or the way they use Pixlr apps to do creative things we never would have thought to do ourselves. We’ll be spotlighting these creative PIxlr People with some Q&A sessions on this blog; we want you to check out their work. They’re good. First up: k8rry from the U.K. She makes some very artistic and stylish images with Pixlr Express. And she has a great sense of humor!

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What kind of things inspire your photos, and how long have you been at it?

I’d like to say I was inspired by National Geographic magazine landscapes, Dada montages, and the work of Man Ray, but in truth I merely want to take pictures that are in focus and don’t cut off people’s heads — unlike the ones my mum took of me in childhood (thanks mum).

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I’ve always taken photos since getting my first Instamatic camera at age eight, but it wasn’t until I discovered Flickr and various apps (I use Pixlr Express and Pixlr-o-matic, Poladroid, Retro Camera, Lomo Camera & Vignette) that I found I could turn my mediocre holiday photos into “artsy” snapshots. My current inspiration is all the excellent photographers on Flickr and the vogue for toy cameras.

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I own a DSLR (Canon EOS 400D), but I’m a snapshot girl at heart, so I mainly use a point and shoot (currently a Panasonic DMC-TZ30) and a smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Ace.

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What kind of themes do you usually pursue?

I use quotes from favourite books, films, poems, and songs on photos — as well as to title my photos so there is probably a subconscious theme of sorts there. I also shamelessly rip off/pay homage to famous works of art. For example, artist Tracey Emin’s My Bed sculpture inspired my photo Fill The Empty Space With Hopes & Dreams and Wolfgang Tillmans’ Concorde photos inspired my photo Come Fly With Me. Otherwise my photos are fairly standalone records of my daily life and my worldview. They also document the increasing popularity of mobile photography apps and my attempts to master them.

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Are there any special subjects that regularly catch your eye?

I’m quite keen on street art and have been approached by Hero De Janeiro about using some of my Amsterdam street art photos in his next book. I also seem to photograph a lot of statues and sculptures. I live in the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle. Other than that, I seem to focus on nature and travel.

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Do you use a lot of effects, overlays, filters?

Most of my recent photos have effects added, usually in a slipshod and haphazard manner. I’m the poster child for the “try it and see what it looks like; it can’t be any worse than the original” school of post processing. Occasionally, I see a photo that looks good straight out of the camera and I leave well alone. This doesn’t happen often.

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Is there anything on your Pixlr wish list? Something we should add to our apps?

I’d like to retain the use of all sticker packs that are issued [instead of rotating them out seasonally]. Also, when text is entered, I’d like the ability to keep it across all font packs without having to re-enter it if you change the choice of font. Finally, I’d like to preserve the EXIF data from my camera, especially the date it was taken. Other than that, keep surprising us with new effects.

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Where can we find more of your work?

My photos can be found on my Flickr page.