Aim well, shoot fast, and scram.—Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Aim well, shoot fast, and app that bitch until it sings.—Knox Bronson.
In late November, 2009, I approached Rae Douglass at the Giorgi Gallery in Berkeley, California, with the idea of presenting the first ever gallery exhibit of iPhone photography. Rae said yes, and within days, I had created the website Pixels At An Exhibition and had put out a call for submissions through iphoneography bloggers and flickr groups.
Pictures flooded in from all over the world, all done on iPhones. No editing on a computer was allowed, and suspect images were checked via EXIF reader and removed if found to have been edited off-device.
At the end of the submission period, an independent jury convened to vote on and choose 200 images. The show—the first-ever juried gallery show of iphoneographic art—opened on January 30, 2010, and ran through the month of February, garnering rave reviews and exposing the world to the beauty of this emergent medium and nascent art form.
It was clear from the start that, among the artists from around the globe, there was a small number using the iPhone as a new artistic medium to develop a very unique and personal vision. Pixels—the Art of the iPhone quickly became the site of record and online salon for these pioneers and the gallery for the most beautiful and ground-breaking iPhone art on the web.
It was equally clear how, once the show was going, how the public reacted to the work: it was visceral and universally positive. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard someone say,”I can’t believe these were done on an iPhone!” And it has seemed very important from all my experience in the galleries since—I can say with authority, and in all humility, that I have more experience with people looking at iphoneography on the wall in print form than any other human alive—that people love the fact that these magical images were created ONLY on the iPhone, with no off-device editing.
More real-world gallery shows followed. Press notices. Apple asked us to present the new medium to the public in their flagship stores around the country. The Voice Of America broadcast a video feature P1xels throughout the Middle East. Flipboard, named iPad App Of The Year by Apple, included P1xels in its premium content section. Other video and magazine features around the world.
And all the while, the art has been evolving, fueled by the passion and the discipline of the community. Artists studying each others’ work and the sharing of technique on P1xels has greatly accelerated the growth of the medium, raising the bar throughout the short life of the movement.
From the beginning, it has been our goal to bring the medium into its rightful place in the fine art world.
Welcome to P1xels—The Fine Art of the iPhone, the next step along that path.
“Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful.