by Dave Warner
Who takes over one million photographs, in ten years, on ten different iPhones, in more than 50 countries? Jack Hollingsworth is who, and he’s coming to Little Falls and Rock City Centre to give a community presentation and workshop on Monday, October 10th, and Tuesday, October 11th.
This event is part of The Creative Outpost’s Content Creation Workshop Series, which started this summer. The intent is to give people skills to help them compete in the Little Falls Smart Phone Film Festival, scheduled for Fall 2023.
Hollingsworth is one of the most recognized names in travel, lifestyle, and portrait photography today and has been a staple in the photography industry for 40+ years, eleven of which have been dedicated to smartphone photography and videography.
Hollingsworth is a trusted consultant for mobile photography and app-focused companies and is known for his instructional tutorials in the iPhone Photography space-including his “Picture Perfect” series for Adorama TV and ongoing training for Camera+.
He says that the way he feels now about the iPhone really didn’t happen overnight. “Yes, of course, it was love at first sight, but it took me a while for me to kind of slowly put down the big conventional camera and start shooting more and more iPhone stuff.”
In the beginning, he was shooting over-the-top, highly filtered, fine art, grunge, textured stuff he was not used to shooting with a professional camera. “That was the attraction, and it was, oh my goodness, this is so much fun!”
In the first year two years of use, he was going between the iPhone and conventional cameras. “The iPhone was just another camera at the dinner table,” he stated.
“Slowly, over time, I just fell in love with the camera.”
He also started showing the clients he was commercially shooting brand images for, iPhone images mixed in with the ones taken with professional cameras, and not telling them. “Over time, the clients were picking more and more of my iPhone stuff, and it got me thinking about why that was,” he stated.
“I think there was that certain fun, freedom, and creativity that came with shooting with a phone that I didn’t get with my big camera.”
Hollingsworth said that the camera in the phone changed him. “Most of my work now, I’d consider autobiographical, meaning the journey on my phone is the journey of my self. I’m learning about life and love and laughter, relationships, and human emotion. All that stuff, which before, photography was just like a technical craft. It was like I was shooting for the wallet, not the wall.”
He said that he was making pictures for clients, not taking them for himself. Now though, he feels like he is back to step one. “I remember those first feelings of shooting back in 1975 when I had a Minolta SRT 101 that my dad gave me for my first overseas trip. “It was new and exciting, and there was freedom in that.
Along the way, though, photography became dull until the iPhone came along. “It didn’t take me long to reconnect with those emotions, those feelings, those movements, because art grows out of heart,” he said.
Today he says, there’s the art and the science part, and you can’t really get creative until the technical stuff becomes second nature or automatic.
“As that stuff became reflexive, the iPhone just allowed me to focus on the creative part and what attracted me to photography in the first place.”
When he first started using it professionally, he lost the rock star status just running around with a phone, but people just allowed him to take pictures without worry. “I was one of them, not a photographer. That alone gave me access, and I could move in circles and get access to places that I normally might not have.”
Hollingsworth thinks that the fundamentals and foundations have not changed much in the last ten years of smartphone development. “My approach toward mobile photography is the same approach that I had toward conventional photography. Focus on the fundamentals, which are light, color, design, and then exposure, focus, and white balance. That’s it!”
He believes that what has changed is all the computational calculations that are now included under the hood of today’s smartphone cameras. “It’s not anymore just about hardware, but it’s hardware and software, and then you have you. Now all those things combined are magical.”
Hollingsworth said that sometimes his photographs show more of the hardware part of the equation, and at other times, it’s the art part. “I’ve never been so emotionally attached to my pictures as I am now, and I’ve shot for 45 years as a commercial photographer. I really believe it has something to do with the phone.”
When he comes to Little Falls, what can people expect? “I grew up in Boston, so I feel like I’m sort of coming home because I grew up in a relatively small town, so I like that whole intimacy and familiarity of a small town and what that means to the photographic process.”
His presentation to the community on Monday night, the 10th, will include some of what he just presented at a journalism conference in London in August. “It’s my best foot forward, where I show some of the best work I’ve ever done. It cuts through the chatter and chase.”
The next day will be more of tips in the morning and then getting out in the field to just, “Shoot, shoot, shoot, because that’s always where the magic is.”
Hollingsworth says he’s a hardcore photographer, “But I’ve produced and directed hundreds of commercial videos and films over my career. However, I’d never shot any of them until the iPhone. This kind of changed the equation. Now I have a big crush on shooting film and video with my phone, and it’s the next phase for me.”
“Am I as good a mobile filmmaker as I am a photographer? No, but do I know a lot about that space? I do. I will show some shortcuts, hacks, and tips in the filming video space that I use in my work.”
“We’re going to just mix it up in a big pot and see what comes out of the other end,” he stated.
Hollingsworth is a regular speaker at Apple stores, and his work has appeared in the #shotoniPhone campaign. You can check out some of his images on Instagram.
Space is limited to 50 people for the community presentation and 15 in the workshop. Both are free. To register, please visit https://creativeoutpost.org/course-list/.