Eric Einwiller on Horizontally Vertical
Another entry in the MPA iPhoneography StoryLines series:
My image titled Horizontally Vertical was taken at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. My wife and I like to take our two sons there to experience the amazing collections as well as the building. This image shows my youngest son lying down on a slatted bridge that is suspended four stories above the main lobby of the museum. The floor of the bridge is very transparent due to the open spaces between the slats. While most people stop and take a step back at the initial awkward feeling you get when first stepping onto this bridge, my son immediately wanted a better view. He laid down, cupped his hands around his eyes to block the surrounding light, and took in the full downward spectacle. I immediately pointed my phone towards him to capture his enthusiasm of this new perspective.
I take pictures of everyday events and objects, while trying to capture them in a way that would make people appreciate the beauty in the mundane and the beauty of a single moment.
Little did I know that morning when I dressed my son in a striped shirt that it would later provide the perfect accompaniment to my instantaneous composition. The symmetry and line work in this image provided me with the visual structure to showcase the emotional connection I had to my son’s enthusiasm. While even his body is extremely symmetrical here, his emotions were nothing but straightforward. I was pleased that the image actually came out of the camera with the orientation that it did. I was standing next to my son with the phone pointing straight down. When viewing the image at home later that night I immediately felt that my son’s unique position correctly portrayed the unseen feeling of vertigo most people experience on this bridge. Ultimately the title I gave to this image talks directly to the linear qualities projected, but on a personal level, it speaks to the experience of being on that bridge and the unique qualities of my son and childhood as a whole.
I have never settled on a single subject matter that attracts my eye, but rather I am ultimately trying to find artistry in the everyday. I love new experiences and seeing things for the first time. My photography is a memory of my minds excitement of a particular detail, structure, moment, or texture.
I have always had a fascination with images and have loved taking pictures from a young age. My parents bought me my first camera when I was 8, it was a simple point and shoot Kodak 110. I would mostly take images around the house and on our vacations, but I spent a long time composing those shots. I remember not wanting to waste a single frame of film, and I still have a hard time getting rid of digital images. I was raised in a very frugal home.
I was born with wanderlust, and I would escape in the images I saw in magazines. My father covered a wall of my bedroom with cork board and I meticulously organized it with a grid of revolving images that I would find or take myself. I have an internal grid system in my head that allows me to naturally layout images in a very structured fashion. I continued to buy various cameras and took some photography classes through high school and college, and seemed to be the one in my circles that always had a camera with him.
I have never settled on a single subject matter that attracts my eye, but rather I am ultimately trying to find artistry in the everyday. I love new experiences and seeing things for the first time. My photography is a memory of my minds excitement of a particular detail, structure, moment, or texture. I appreciate the wide open landscapes, but am more comfortable recording a small detail of how two unique surfaces may meet. My images are snapshots of the elements I experience in my daily life. Happy memories of discovering something new or something that touched me in a special way. I don’t expect others to find the same pleasure in my images, but I am pleasantly surprised when someone comments on how they enjoyed looking at something in a different way due to my photos.
As with many of the people carrying camera phones today, I find that I take more pictures because I can. I would rarely take the time to take out my dslr on my morning commute to capture a brick pattern I admire. But with my iPhone I can have the image and keep moving without attracting attention to myself.
When I received my iPhone 3G, it was the first time in my life that I had a camera with me at “all” times. I had discovered a few photo apps and soon noticed that I had over 5,000 images on my phone. My favorite app was ShakeItPhoto and I appreciated the vintage coloring it brought to my images. It was instantly taking me back to some of the images I was taking as a child. The square polaroid like frame from ShakeIt became a nice unifying device for my rambling subject matters. After seeing a short demo on how to start a blog by simply uploading a single image, I started a daily image blog using Posterous. A peer of mine then introduced me to flickr and I was hooked. I have recently jumped on the Instagram bandwagon and I believe I may need a 12 step program to remove me from my phone. Not quite yet though.
As with many of the people carrying camera phones today, I find that I take more pictures because I can. I would rarely take the time to take out my dslr on my morning commute to capture a brick pattern I admire. But with my iPhone I can have the image and keep moving without attracting attention to myself. I especially like the “incognito” aspect of mobile photography, most of the time people assume I am texting instead of taking a picture. I don’t necessarily “see” more because of my iPhone, I am always looking, but I certainly collect more images because of my iphone. That said, the exercise of having to post an image everyday for the last two years has definitely honed my skills, and I do tend to see the world in square format these days. I sometimes regret that the images I take on my phone are not of the highest resolution, but I know that not having captured a particular image at all would be worse than having a much smaller library of cleaner files. I ultimately like how the lo-fi nature of the phone adds to my on-the-go style.
Mobile photography allows me to quickly share my explorations with a large group of international talent that has become an online peer group that I am inspired by daily. I am happy to have moved beyond counting my film frames. I take so many more pictures because of my iPhone, and ultimately that is what any photographer should be doing, taking pictures.
I sometimes regret that the images I take on my phone are not of the highest resolution, but I know that not having captured a particular image at all would be worse than having a much smaller library of cleaner files.
Photography is a fantastic medium in that it allows me to express my point of view by documenting what I think is beautiful. Often my eye is attracted to light playing on the built environment. I walk through downtown San Francisco every morning and evening, and the changing light on the architecture is a constant inspiration, the organic qualities of the the sun mixed with the geometry of the buildings inspires me often. I like to surprise or remind people of the beauty in something that one may see daily, especially when that item is transformed by light or movement.
The people I am surrounded by on the streets also catch my eye, though I have been slower to get up the nerve to take photographs of people. Luckily I am getting good at pretending to be playing solitaire, while I am taking pictures. See you on the streets.
Horizontally Vertical is the 2011 MPA SHAKEITPHOTO winning image
You can read more from the STORYLINES series here