Amersham Beyond Group - 6th Oct 2022

Meeting Notes on Creative Photography and Photo-Art
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Amersham Beyond Group - 6th Oct 2022

Post by spb » Fri Oct 07, 2022 5:35 pm

Welcome to the first meeting of the 2022/3 season and to the several visiting guests.


All our Challenge images can be seen at Amersham Beyond Group on Flickr

For APS Members only, this month's images are also available for viewing and commenting on Facebook here.

The current Challenges are;



and the latest;


This Challenge is to create an image entirely on a mobile device using it’s camera and software apps. The aim is for an app-processed artistic image and not just a shot that could have been taken by any traditional camera. The image should not be manipulated by a desktop or laptop computer except for final re-sizing, presentation and submission, if necessary.

I have been getting many reports over the summer about the mobile apps that members have been experimenting with. Even more were mentioned at the meeting. It was great to hear how some members were taking their phones seriously for the first time and getting surprising (in a good way) results. Here are the apps that have been used with some success;

*List updated 12/22*

- Snapseed – editing, filters, textures and blending multiple images. V popular and a lot of capability behind a confusing interface. Layering.
- Prisma – rather strong and distinctive filters
- Distressed FX – filters, quite a lot of textures and can add flocks of birds(!)
- iColorama – very powerful and flexible apparently, but a steeper learning curve. Interesting graphic effects.
- Bluristic – camera app for controlled blurring. Quite simple but few instructions (see 11/22 meeting notes for help). Popular
- PhotoSplit – grids and collages
- PhotoSpiralysis – Escher-like spiral effects
- Bazaart – graphic design and photo editor. Powerful but very expensive beyond the basic functions
- Photo Blender & Layers Overlay (iOS) / Photo Overlays - Blender (Android) - multi-exposure blending with limited control
- Deep Art Effects - AI + classical art styles + your photo = 'Art'
- Pose-it - articulated mannequins of various figures and animals.


- Mextures – textures, film presets, layering, blending 'formulas'. Additional looks can be downloaded.
- Adobe Paint Can – assisted finger painting over images. Now in high res.
- Slow Shutter Cam – camera app for overall blurring and night photography. Highly regarded
- Union – combine, blend and edit images
- Waterbrush – watercolour effects
- Formulas – a good selection of textures and some borders. High resolution. Apparently used to be more capable.
- Visual Effects / LensFX – add explosions, dinosaurs, spaceships etc.
- Reflect – adds reflections
- Skylab – change skies
- Waterlogue – very realistic watercolour effects. Quirky interface - ask me. Popular.

I have not used most of these so please let me know of updates and corrections to this list which I will keep up to date.

*Note that some of the above may also be available for Windows and Mac computers and iOS apps can sometimes be run on Android with emulation software.

Many members are using their phones on an everyday basis and only taking a 'proper' camera on holidays or for photographic projects. The quality of the cameras, backed up by software processing, is now impressive and certainly suitable for competition purposes. The size of the sensor caps the quality of the pixels especially at low levels of light and applications that require long lenses such as wildlife and sports are not possible. The ergonomics of the smartphone remain difficult but the fact that it is always to hand, has powerful capabilities, a big screen, and is in continuous communication with the world, trump most shortcomings. DSLR manufacturers have failed to innovate and are in full retreat.

Another way to explore this field is to go to image galleries such as Flickr and search by the Tags associated with creative images that you like. They will often contain Tags of the apps used. As you will see it’s quite common to run an image through multiple apps to get the desired effect – eg apps to alter the image and then to add a texture.

The next Challenge is;


Make an image of a man-made object that has taken your attention and has aesthetic value. You could enhance the aesthetic value eg by isolation from the background, presentation, lighting etc.

This Challenge could be achieved primarily in-camera.

Fine Art suggests that your image would look at home on a gallery wall. By Found Object I don’t necessarily mean actually abandoned or washed up on a beach! It might be a mundane domestic object or a family heirloom. I was inspired to choose this Challenge by a photograph in the RA Summer Exhibition of a weathered watering can rose. It wasn’t sold!

Found Objects or Readymades were made famous by Marcel Duchamp before WW1. He was disillusioned with painting and more interested in ideas. He presented mass-produced objects as art. “An ordinary object could be elevated to the dignity of art by the mere choice of an artist”. He began the Conceptual Art movement. With this Challenge we are not simply choosing an object but also enhancing it with photographic lighting and presentation.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 3rd November 2022 and it will be in the LARGE BARN HALL not the usual Drake Hall.

Cheers, Steve

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