Interview by photographer Angela Cappetta.
NY/DC based artist Henry Jacobson just got his first book deal. Believe it or not, his camera of choice is an iPhone. His upcoming book, Postcards Home (to be released in 2013 by Daylight), is a journey through his life as a nomadic photographer, using mobile images as his own personal morse code.
Henry’s work has been shown in recent exhibitions at the NY Photo Festival, A&I Gallery Los Angeles, The Annenberg Space for Photography, and Slideluck DC. Images from this book project were first published by Visura Magazine.
“The work is from a period of personal upheaval, changing relationships, illnesses, deaths and births. My nomadic life inhibited my access to loved ones. Since every image was taken with an iPhone, most were immediately sent to someone I love, or shared via social network. This synergy of photography and communication, through the use of mobile technology, is changing our understanding of the medium from a frozen moment to a visual interaction between individuals. This work is the result of my attempts to connect with the people and the environments that replaced my concept of home.”
1) Why the iphone camera?
I began using the iPhone simply because it was what I had with me all the time. But I immediately fell in love with the process of shooting with the device. It allowed me an intimacy with my surroundings that is impossible with a large DSLR. I also began to discover a different aesthetic than I had seen anywhere else, including in my own work. I was able to make images that were very much my own, in my own voice, really for the first time in my career. I began to see this work as both a larger personal project, and as a means to communicate visually in a new way.
2) Do you happen to have it on you when you see something worthy of remark, or do you go out and seek out subjects?
Most of the pictures are found moments. However, once I realized I was interested in using this camera critically, I began actively seeking out opportunities to make pictures this way; I’d often only carry my iPhone when I went out to shoot, instead of my usual practice of carrying multiple cameras.
3) What’s the technical process behind getting the iPhone camera files book-ready?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’m not at that stage in the process yet. I have been able to print these, with mostly beautiful results, at up to 16″ – but this book will be smaller, about 6″ x 11″ – so resolution isn’t a foreseeable a problem.
4) Why Daylight Books?
I became aware of Daylight, like most people, through their magazine, which I always thought was beautiful. I also admired how they negotiated the print to web issue, fully embracing both. I met Michael Itkoff (one of the two founders of Daylight, along with Taj Forer) at a discussion of the future of photography books post-iPad, hosted at SVA. I was impressed with his thoughts on the subject and his questions for the panel. They had just begun publishing books last year, with Alejandro Cartagena’s gorgeous book Suburbia Mexicana.
5) How can somebody buy one of your pieces?
The best way, until December 18th, is to purchase prints and pre-order books through my kickstarter page People can contact me through my website, but right now, all of my energy is going towards meeting my kickstarter goal – so if anyone is interested in this work they should place orders there, and share it with their friends.