Netherlands based Nico Brons is a freelance photographer and artist who currently studies at Amsterdam’s Photo Academy. Although he works with any number of different cameras he has an affinity for the iPhone and the immediacy of freedom he feels from mobile photography and art. His abstract and surrealist portraits of both real people and storefront mannequins are compelling and original. Nico’s work challenges the viewer and poses interesting questions about reality and fiction – what are we looking at? Is it real or fabricated, and does it even matter? Today, we feature his words, images and a short video showcasing Nico’s iPhone portraits.
I have a background in the IT business. In my early years I was consultant and teacher in CAD/CAM systems. Later, I was a System Administrator in Hewlett Packard UNIX systems. Now I am professional photographer in Amersfoort, the Netherlands and at this moment I am studying photography at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam. I always strive to take my photography to a higher level.
I am atracted to portraits because you can see a lot of emotions in a face. I make portraits of real people and I make portraits of mannequins. If I make images of real people it is for me very nice to meet them, to talk with them and to know something about them. When I meet people, it makes me socially richer and photography helps me with that.
When I make images of mannequins, for example in shops, I want to make them feel like they have come “alive”. Sometimes you see no difference with a real person when I finish the image. That is the challenge for me.
It is important for me to work on pictures of mannequins sometimes because I feel I can do what I want with them without hurting the feelings of a real subject.
Mannequins have no sense and no real heart. I can change the face, I can make it very scary, ugly or even beautiful. They never complain! I tend not to do that with real people because I respect the human being.
I love to create abstract and surrealist images. I am inspired, for example, by Salvador Dali, Rene Margritte, Giorgio De Chirico and James Ensor.
In the Netherlands I give workshops in mobile photography and that’s a great success.
Mobile photography / art gives me complete freedom in my creativity. It is not overly technical and the mobile phone camera is very easy to use and to carry. It has opened a complete new world for me and I am proud to be part of the community with many other very great iPhone artists. I make what I want for myself and it is, of course, very nice if others like my images too.
Beside portraits I love almost everything in photography. I can enjoy landscapes, streetphotography, architectural, pinhole, social photography and a lot more. But yes, I think that it is the complete freedom of the mobile, that’s the most important thing for me.
Bob Weil is a friend of the Mobile Photo Awards and one of the finest conceptual photographers working in the mobile arena. He recently produced a terrific video tutorial on some of his methods and we wanted to share it with our readers. In this brief video tutorial, Bob describes his approach to creating collages using the iPhone and the iPad, and his approach to narrative vs. documentary photography. He shows before and after examples, as well as taking an in-depth look at one of his pieces and how he came to create it.
Conceptual photography is more like narrative filmmaking than it is like street photography – the goal is to express a story conceived in the mind of the photographer and not necessarily to reproduce what the lens sees. The process more closely resembles painting if the original image is only the substrate for a series of composited layers that completely redefine the scene.
In my case, I often look at images in my Camera Roll to see where a story may arise by inference (post processing decisions, image titling, etc.) or by reconstruction from the ground up (compositing or collage of new elements into a scene). – Bob Weil
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