Ohio-based photographer Amanda Jasnowski shoots an inspiring mixture of film and digital photography. Her work has recently been featured by the Impossible Project and she is a contributor to Fixation Magazine. Also very active on Instagram, we caught up with Amanda to talk about her approach to iPhoneography, her inspirations and her tips for improving how we capture our everyday lives. Thanks Amanda for sharing your thoughts and photographs with us!
First, tell us a little bit about your photographic journey. Where did you start? Where you are now?
My photographic journey began in high school (freshman year? somewhere around there!) and it began as something curious and tame. I liked the idea of being able to take a pretty photo and share it with others to see. It began as a form of expression, a way to deal with my angsty teenage heart. Although I still use it to express myself on a personal level, it’s grown and evolved into something much bigger now—something that has shaped my life. Now in my journey I feel like for the first time I have a level of work that I am confident in sending to places, showing proudly. I feel like it’s only uphill from here! The most exciting part is that I will continue growing as an artist, that growth is endless. Photography has consumed my life and not long ago I made the decision to stop denying the fact that this is something I want to do with my life. I still have so much to do and learn.
How do you approach your iPhone photography? What are you looking for when you’re composing a shot?
My iPhone has grown to be my favorite point and shoot camera. It’s funny because I work in a camera shop and had been keeping my eye out for a good point and shoot camera, and although there are some good ones on the market, I realized that at the rate I use my iPhone I get more use out of it than any point and shoot camera I’d purchase. It’s always there, always ready. Not to mention, it fits in my pocket!
When I’m composing a shot, it’s either something already present and fleeting and so I quickly snag my phone to take a photo, or I pause and take a minute to look at what’s around me. I notice the placement of objects, people, the negative space. I notice the colors and the light and the shadows. I tend to see this way all of the time, as if I’m looking through a viewfinder composing an image, which can be frustrating and distracting at times. I’m always looking for interesting details, and how they look altogether as a whole.
What app do you shoot in? How do you edit your iPhone photography?
I shoot with the native camera app most of the time, and I normally edit in Instagram using their filters. Sometimes I use the Photoshop App to fix the brightness or straighten the image. I try to avoid over-editing; I feel it takes away from the pocket-camera-day-to-day aspect of my photography.
Your photographs beautifully capture the small moments that make up our everyday lives. What inspires you?
Everything in every day inspires me! I can’t remember the last time I went a whole day without seeing something or someone that struck me, inspired me. It’s never-ending! I think the honesty in documenting the personal, small moments in your day is one of my biggest inspirations. I enjoy interesting compositions, whether it’s balanced or not, minimalistic or full of negative space. I could go on forever with the things that draw my eye. I have always enjoyed the #fromwhereistand and #drivebyshooting hashtags on Instagram—both provide such interesting perspectives! I think most people overlook the views that are right in front of them so hastags like #fromwhereistand reinforce that there are interesting things all around us, all the time.
What photographers to do look for when you need inspiration or as references for improving your own technique?
It’s so hard to answer this question since there are so many artists out there and we have access to almost unlimited amounts of work. I created a blog to house things that inspire me that I can share with folks when they ask me what artists inspire me. I draw inspiration from artists creating in all different mediums, not just photography. There is such a range in artists, all with unique perspectives, the inspiration never ends. Plus, there are so many insightful platforms that share the work of so many talented individuals; Booooooom, The Impossible Project’s blog, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr are just a few. However, I can confidently name off Duane Michals, Sally Mann, Vivian Maier and Tim Walker as never ending inspirations and masters. I really admire photographers who shoot large format and practice the collodion process.
If you could give one piece of advice to photographers looking to improve their photography, what would it be?
I think the most valuable advice I’ve found is to shoot often, and to take a minute to stop and notice the details around you. I think everyone can train their eyes to become more observant and then they’ll begin to see things differently—both of my suggestions reflect that belief. I read somewhere that communities like Instagram have helped people shoot more often, and they’ve found themselves observing details like light and shadows like they never had before! That to me is so exciting, knowing that people’s eyes and senses are being awoken, evolving.