Our dear friend Jaime Ferreyros passed away today after a protracted battle with cancer. Jaime was in the first ever P1XELS gallery show and many thereafter. His bold colorful work popped right out of the screen. I still can recall the first time I saw his image “Pool Party.” And later, one called “Soaring Sunday.”
He was a member of the P1XELS brain trust in the early years of P1XELS, an advisor and a great guy to talk to. He was well-known and well-liked and I was happy to be his friend. We had many long conversations over the years. He was talented, accomplished, funny, smart, a loving family man, and a great cook.
He was courageous to the very end, ever meeting his situation with grace and dignity. He never complained.
Below is the last interview he did with me. This one was in the July/August issue of iPhotographer Magazine. I believe it was the last interview he did with anybody. I am so happy to be able to share it here in its entirety.
Jaime, Vaya con Dios, mi amigo.
iPM: Please tell us a little about yourself – where you live, if you hail from Earth, anything like that. Whatever you feel like sharing that isn’t covered in the questions below.
JF: I know we’ve talked about this before so I hope to answer without putting anyone to sleep. I was born in Lima, Peru, lived in San Francisco, Tokyo, Rome, Panama, New York City and for the last 23 years we call Miami “Home”. Recently I also became a US Citizen so God Bless America!
iPM: How long have you been shooting pictures with your iPhone?
JF: I’ve been shooting with the iPhone since 2009. For years I shot with my beloved 3GS, it took me a long time to give up. Basically I switch to the 5S because my old faithful was painstakingly slow. Today I’m shooting with the iPhone 6s but if it were up to me, I’d still be using the 3GS. There is something in the texture of those first models that I love, reminds me of the old days of shooting with film.
iPM: When did you get serious about it, what was the turning point for you?
JF: I never had any intention of exhibiting anywhere or whatsoever. I enjoyed taking and editing my photos on the phone for fun, and sharing on Flickr which I still do. That was the extend of public exposure I had in mind until I was asked if I wanted to exhibit at the Giorgi in Berkeley. The rest is history.
iPM: Your Miami beach pictures have become iconic in my mind, bursting with color, sea, sun, life. Were you shooting beach pictures with a “real” camera before you had an iPhone?
JF: Here and there but not as much as I do today. We live on an Island right off the city of Miami, the beach is walking distance away from our condo. I love the sea, the sand, the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds me, and I take as much advantage of it as I can.
iPM: How does your whole creative process work? And how has it evolved? Do you shoot every day?
JF: I used to shoot everyday once the iphoneography bug bit me; I’m more relaxed about it these days. I guess we all evolve on a daily basis in general, we mature in many ways. The same happens with photography or iphoneography, you develop a better eye, you see the world as one big crop.
iPM: A long time ago, you gave me a list of pointers for shooting pictures on the sly in public. If I can find the list, I will republish. Do you have any further tips for our readers on shooting pictures in the sun, by the water?
JF: I try to be the most unobtrusive as possible. As I once told you, sometimes I still act as if I’m receiving a call when I’m actually shooting a photo.
iPM: You have had a number of gallery shows in the Miami area, as well as outside the state. I’m curious as to what your experience has been with buyers and collectors interested in your prints. Specifically, the reaction when they learn that your images are created solely on the iPhone. Having done an number of shows myself, and still experiencing a level of resistance to the validity of the medium, I am curious about your thoughts and experiences. Could you talk a little about that?
JF: I remember my fist solo show in Miami back in 2010, people were shocked to learn that these pictures were taken and edited on an iPhone, a 3GS none other. Mind you, the print masters I work with are amazing so my images really popped with color and texture. The first few years I would say my work sold pretty well and the price tag was not cheap. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the Miami market but the awe and appreciation for the art form are still there, but sales have gone down.
iPM: Do you spend time online looking at the work of other mobile artists?
JF: Every time I have a chance I’ll look at what my friends and colleagues are doing, I’m more into the photography themed pictures than abstracts or overly apped pictures.
iPM: Do other art forms inspire you? If so, which, and which artists?
JF: I love the arts in general. Photographers like Kertesz, avant garde playwright Samuel Beckett, Musician, poet and writer Patti Smith, Bukowski, De Koenig, Warhol…the list goes on!
iPM: Have you done a lot of traditional photography? If so, are you still using your camera as well as your iPhone?
JF: I went to art school in New York at School of Visual Arts. I used to take photography classes with the late Cora Kennedy who was a collaborator for Popular Photography Magazine. This was 1981 so we shot with film, developed our rolls and prints in the darkroom…nothing can beat that. I never really liked digital, I feel it lacks grain, too sharp, so my Canon Rebel camera is pretty much tucked away in the closet in case anyone wants to buy it. I actually was telling my wife the other day that I’d like to exhibit some of my black and white photos from the past.
iPM: We are now six years into the global iphoneographic phenomenon. How do you think things have changed in that time? How do you perceive the social aspects of iphoneography, i.e., Flickr, Instagram, and their effects on the medium? Do you have any thoughts about the near-term or long-term future for the medium? Most importantly, what were the early days like for you as the iPhone community came together online?
JF: When I look back to the early years of iphoneography, it was more of a photography movement with a twist. As a matter of fact, many of us had photography experience or were professional photographers shooting with the iPhone. Those pictures told stories, today I find it’s more about the apps and so much of it looks like graphic design pieces of work, which is fine. Back them it was more chill, we were a smaller community not really interested in having our pictures win “Best of anything”, but a group of people taking this wild ride together and growing artistically. I believe social media has actually hurt the medium, too many people posting too many bad photos everywhere, making it hard for galleries and museums to take iphoneographers seriously.
iPM: What is your basic app kit, or camera bag, as Marty Yawnick calls it. How has your use of apps evolved over time?
JF: Today I love combining TiltShift with Cameramatic, or using straight up Shakeit Photo.
iPM: When you feel you have reached a creative stalemate, and believe your work is not cutting it anymore, do you have any tricks for breaking out of artist’s block?
JF: I don’t dwell on it if I feel I have an artist’s block. Great photos are spontaneous captured moments, that’s reason enough to just continue shooting and having a good time.
iPM: A last word perhaps?
JF: Thank you God for everything you have given me in life.
iPM: Thank you, Jaime.
I salute Jaime, and wish him bon voyage. Thank you for publishing this article. The grace of Jaime resounds in it.