Let's Talk About Art: iPhone photography


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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

Who says you need a top-of-the line digital camera to create gallery-worthy photographs?

Amateurs as well as professional photographers are using their smartphone cameras as another tool for creative expression.

At first, feelings about iPhone-ography were mixed, and many thought it shouldn't be taken seriously as "art." But with better mobile camera technology and widespread use of social-sharing apps such as Instagram, most photographers now agree that what really matters is what the photograph has to say not how it was made.

Artist, writer and educator Hilary Robinson says using her iPhone to capture images was a meditative process, to "look at the overlooked." An exhibition of her iPhone photos is on view at Filmmakers Galleries in Oakland through Feb. 21. Titled "Pittsburgh je t'aime," it features more than 100 snapshots taken with her iPhone in and around Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

The photographs are presented as precious objects. Small and unframed, they are glimpses into fleeting moments and evidence of the joy that comes with knowing a place intimately.

Originally from England, Ms. Robinson lived in Pittsburgh while a professor of art theory and criticism at Carnegie Mellon University, where she also served as dean of the College of Fine Arts. During her time in Pittsburgh, the Lawrenceville neighborhood provided her with creative inspiration, although not all of the photographs in the show are from that area.

Ms. Robinson's style is contemplative and poetic, seeing beauty in the details of life in a busy city. The images provide glimpses of simple yet beautiful pleasures: curious items discarded on the ground, words painted and scratched into the decaying facades of buildings, patterns and contrasts in color and shape.

Trained as a painter, Ms. Robinson eventually pursued art theory and was hired for faculty positions at universities in England and the U.S. She moved back to England in 2012 and is dean of the School of Art and Design and professor of visual culture at Middlesex University in London.

A closing reception for "Pittsburgh je t'aime" will be 5:30-8 p.m. Feb. 17. Ms. Robinson is scheduled to attend. It is free and open to the public. For more information visit pfm.pittsburgharts.org/about-our-exhibits.


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