I first became really aware of Maria Cecilia de São Thiago on Instagram. I’m not sure if I found her or she found me, but I was immediately entranced by her exotic, experimental, lush, and bold approach to iPhoneography. Visiting her website confirmed what a talent she is. I asked her if she would do an interview and galleries for Pixels and she immediately agreed. We exchanged a number of emails and I got to know her a little bit. We share of love of Klimtt and of the Steve Miller Band. I love her spirit and generosity. She embodies everything I’ve loved about the iPhonic art community since the early days of the movement. I particularly love her portraits of women, some of which I’m posting here and in her three galleries of 98 pictures for October of 2018.

I encourage you to visit those galleries, and her website (link below) and get to know this unique and vibrant member of the iPhone art community.

Where do you live?

I live in São Paulo, Brazil. A huge city with 12 million people, lots of buildings, and lots of traffic with cars everywhere, but my house is in a condominium that looks like a little farm with fruit trees surrounding and an effective security that allows do not to have bars in the windows.

But it was not always so. After I got married, I lived in Munich, Germany for 6 years. A beautiful, quiet, but icy city.


What kind of art were you doing before the iPhone?

I studied graphic arts, and since my 7 years I knew my life would be linked to the arts. I swear ! 

When I finished college my dream was to work in an Advertising Agency, but as I said in the previous answer, I went to Germany, and I hadn’t time to develop a job, so I did only a few logos, which last to this day.

What I usually like to explain because of its relevance, is that during the years in Munich, I left all the brushes and drawing material, and the only ART that accompanied me during all those years, and the years ahead when I dedicated myself to my 3 daughters, was Photography. This ART never left me and I never left it.


Can you tell us what happened when you first started shooting pictures with your iPhone?

As the first iPhone came out and I started shooting with it, I saw a documentary on German TV- Deutsche Welle explaining what iPhoneography was, and about the IPA-iPhoneart.com community. 

Minutes after, I searched for everything about iPhoneography and found many urls I always visit [* the list below] in an way I fell in love immediately with what I saw, registered myself in many sites and started to understand how this new way of doing Photography happened.

As soon as the iPad came out I started using it to edit my photos. Mostly for Applifam. 

The ability to draw over the photos was something I always liked. Already in college I drew with ink and ecoline on the images. You may see this here www.klimtt.com/1977/

* List of urls I visit since I first hear about iPhoneography in 2012 and today. 


P1xels: The Art of the iPhone (Editor’s note: long gone!)

Pixels at an Exhibition  ;) 





The Best Camera

Life in LoFi

The Big Hipstamatic Show

iPhone Photo


 etc etc etc 

I Have Never Stopped to search news and everything about iPhoneography.


Were you active on Flickr as iPhone usage exploded? Who were the first iPhoneographers/artists who caught your eye?

I Joined Instagram in 25 January 2012 with a self image reflected in my laptop with the screen image from Tina Terras & Michael Walter, (@tinaterras_michaelwalter who I highly recomend to follow) I joined FLICKR in December 2012.

I got obsessed with editing pictures like I did before with China Ink and Aquarelle, and bought many books about the new “art movement”. 

I strongly recommend

“The Art of iPhone Photography” by Nicki Fitz-Gerald and Bob Weil 

“The iPhone Photographer” by Michael Fagans 

“iPhone Obsessed. Experiments with Apps” by Daniel Marcolina

Sarah Jarrett and Cindy Patrick were the firsts photographers to publish pictures with the iPad, which revolutionized my vision with his own style. 

Sarah’s artwork was the first to delight me. I can not forget the day I discovered her profile and was immediate fascinated by each image. Two years ago, on a visit to my daughter who was studying theater in England, I set out to visit Sarah. I wanted to meet her personally and buy a work of her, I sent her an email, but unfortunately it did not receive an answer and it didn’t work out. As my daughter decided to live in England, I hope one day I may have a work of her in my hands. Yes, I would give it to myself.

I also feel in love with the work of:

Armineh Hovanesian

Bobbi McMurry

Bob Weil

Carolyn Hall Young

Cedric Blanchon

Daniel Marcolina

Diana Nicholette Jeon

Elaine Taylor

Eliza Tsitsimeaua-Badoiu

Eric Dijkstra

Gianluca Ricoveri

Helen Breznik

Jim Perdue

Karen Divine

Knox Bronson 

Lorenka Campos

Marie Matthews

Nicki Fitz-Gerald 

Robin Robertis

Tina L Rice

And after I found

Andrea Bigiarini

Bob Weil

Bonobo Stone

Catherine Schell Caddigan

Clarisse Debout

Damian de Souza

David Scott Leibowitz

Dilshad Corleone.

Florence Oliver

Jane Schultz

Juta Jazz

Peter Wilkin

Roger Guetta

Susan Tuttle


What or who else inspires you? Painters? Photographers? Other plastic arts? Music? Literature?

I was always inspired by the pictures of Gvstav Klimt – Egon Schiele – Hundertwasser – Horst Janssen – Man Ray – Francis Bacon, only to mention a few. 

And music is my big INSPIRATION always. 

Music was my first love 

and it will be my last 

Music of the future 

and music of the past 

To live without my music 

it is impossible to do 

In this world of trouble, 

my music pulls me through 

 __________________  John Miles 




What are your go-to apps?

Oh yes … I’m completely obsessed with applications and technology in general. I usually download all new photo and video applications, even for testing purposes only.  To get an idea, I have already downloaded more than 7,200 mobile apps and on my iPhone I have today 1.345 Apps, most of them are for photos and videos. 

I usually test all devices on all platforms, but my heart belongs to Apple alone !! I use in my day to day more than one iPhone, where each one has a specific function, geared for my work as photographer or jeweller designer.  

I like to share tips and tricks on technology on my facebook technology page,  and when friends have some doubt about cell phones, I usually answer or write about the question for them there, so I try to keep abreast of the news on various devices. 

But for me, the store that offers the largest and best variety of applications for photos and images, is the Apple AppStore.

My preferred Apps are:

ArtStudio – Draw and Paint  I can’t live without this App ;) Everything I do starts here 

Snapseed – Where I just start to edit my images

Repix – For little adjustments and layers 

iColorama – For create as entire project 

Superimpose – My everyday App 

Slow Shutter – For the effect 

Distressed FX – For this great textures and to add mine textures too.

Brushstroke – For little adjustments and layers 

PicGrunger – For textures 

Adobe Photoshop Express: Edit Photos, Make Collage – And All Adobe Apps 

WeTransfer – For the best way to Backup 

Google Photos – free photo and video storage – To cloud storage 

Magisto Video Editor & Movie Maker

iMotion – Video Editor

Funny Movie Maker – Replace Your Face

Video Merger Pro Combine Multiple Videos to Video

and many many more… 


If you had to choose three creatures, real or imaginary, to be your personal totem pole, what would they be?

Phoenix – The transformation is symbolized by the phoenix which burns and rises from its own ashes. 

Dragonfly – to change flight patterns in mid-air 

Did life change in the blink of an eye? Is it challenging to zig now that life is zagging? Do you need help seeing the big picture or finding truth in the underbelly of a person or situation? Dragonfly as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal can help! Dragonfly teaches you flexibility and how to take in the big picture. Delve deeply in Dragonfly symbolism and meaning to find out how this animal spirit guide can illuminate, support, and guide you.

Scorpion – symbolize the ability to patiently wait before striking. This insect has strong intuitive senses that strengthen your awareness so that anything hidden becomes clear before you act.


How many times have you fallen asleep with the phone in your hand while apping a picture?

Oh My God … let’s count how many nights … 

Better, let’s do this, I explain how obsessive I am with my various iPad’s, iPhones, Samsung 9 and Huawei Pro 20 explaining the following:

I have in my iPhone XS-MAX:

1.345 Apps 

64.110 Pictures on my Camera Roll 

1.972 Videos 

142 – Albuns 

74 – Shared Albuns 

And yes, I have fallen asleep several times with the phone in my hand while editing a photo, so now I have an extra pillow that prevents the cell phone from falling on the floor 

Lol…. we’re all crazy. Crazy but happy !! ;) 


Cats or dogs?

Oh Dogs… I had Dogs my whole life. 

I’m in love with Pointers. But nowadays I do not have and I do not want animals at all. With the three daughters living outside the country I have to be independent and I don’t like to let dogs alone. They are part of the family…


Has there been any surprising impact on your life from the iPhone, something you didn’t expect? 

Steve Jobs managed to change the life of the whole world. The creation of a connected world from the iPhone had an impact on the lives of all of us. If it were not him we would not be connected … Well, and neither iPhoneography would exist … What a sad world it would be. 


Do you have a mantra for daytime? For nighttime? For anytime?

I do not know if it’s a “mantra” but a phrase my father carries forward, even in the most difficult situations of life:

“If you think it’s bad, it gets worse.”


Did I forget to ask a question you would like to answer? Please ask it and then answer!

What about printing smartphone images? 

If there is one important thing for me, to continue using an application, is the image resolution that it saves. One of the issues that to all of us iPhoneographers matters most, is the size of the impression that we will get with our photographs. Nowadays, I can deliver to my printer a file of compatible size with good cameras, having made prints on Hahnemuller Cotton papers up to 110 x 90 cm.


A last word perhaps?

Smartphones, tablets and devices are revolutionizing our lives. What paths and ways will you take in the future? What are the trends for artistic production in the face of this new digital landscape? To discuss these and other issues related to the subject, the Mobgraphia Cultural Visual holds at Unibes Cultural the Forum of Visual Education 2019: New Ways to Make Communication, and I’ll be there. 

I wish I could invite you and all iPhoneographers friends to this talk that I will attend next Wednesday May 29, organized by Cadu Lemos and Ricardo Rojas from MOBgraphia 

It will be many talks with great Brazilian photographers, all like me and you, in love and addicted to making and editing images with our smartphones. 


Please share any weblinks instagram/social media handles so people can find you.

My page: https://www.klimtt.com

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/klimtt

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/artbyklimtt

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ihang10 

Facebook Page: https://m.facebook.com/joias.st

Pinterest: https://br.pinterest.com/klimtt/

Tumblr: https://klimtt.tumblr.com

EyeEm: https://www.eyeem.com/u/klimtt

Twitter: https://twitter.com/klimtt

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/klimtt/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ceciliasaothiago/

And Online Gallery from The App Whisperer by Joanne Carter*: 


I am so proud to collaborate with some of the world’s finest mobile photographer, and so many things I wanted to say when it is about art/photography.

When I was young I dreamt of telling stories to the world. Once I understood this could be possible through photography, I stopped making pictures and started to create visual poetry. An huge thanks for recognizing my work, Knox. 

Thank you for all that you do. 

maria cecilia de são thiago



Cicily, you are more than welcome! Thank you.

Editor’s note: I see this AppWhisperer gallery isn’t working quite right: there’s a broken link. Also, I see Joanne is claiming that the AppWhisperer was founded in 2009, which is not true. It was founded in September 2010 as a general multi-platform app blog and Joanne didn’t discover iphoneography until sometime in 2012, but she has never let the facts get in the way of promoting herself. I respect that!

A gallery of Cecily’s work. Be sure to visit her website and these galleries on Pixels.

Skip to toolbar