Opening night, January 30, 2010.

If you haven’t read the first two parts, here are The Early Years of Pixels, Part 1 and Part 2.

As I mentioned, the publication of the little article about our Giorgi show in the New York Times accelerated the flow of submissions as we entered the new year. We had removed the $5 entry fee, but still limited the submissions to five pictures per person.

Here is a link to the month of January 2010. I’m not sure if I have all eight hundred entries in there, but you can get an excellent idea about the kind of work people were doing back then, as well as the diversity of subject matter and the distribution of talent!

As I’ve mentioned, Maia and I would go through the pictures every day, rapt in wonder. I made a folder for each artist who submitted and saved the images. The deadline for the show for submissions was January fifteenth and on that day we had about eight hundred submissions.

We had decided to show two hundred pictures, printed on 10″x10″ heavy Strathmore bright white watercolor board paper. I prepared a slideshow with numbered images and a multi-page ballot with corresponding numbers. Ray invited some local art people and I invited a couple friends with art backgrounds to be judges. Including Rae, Maia, and myself, we had a total of eleven judges.

We convened in the gallery on the evening of January 17, 2010.

Chairs set up for the jury, ballot sheets on the chairs.

We projected the images on the wall and everybody voted, marking the ones they liked on the ballots.

Images projected on the wall for voting.

The next day, Rae and I tallied the votes and I went home to lay out the winning images for printing on large sheets. I was most gratified that some of my pictures made the cut!

Rae came up with a really clever idea for displaying the images with 10″x10″ square prints, cutting slots into 1″x2″ pine boards. We printed images 6″ x 4″ landscape and portrait, and 5″x5″ square. Below is the show.

Before Rae had a chance to print all the images (I think we were getting twelve images per sheet), there was a torrential rainstorm that flooded the gallery and short-circuited the printer’s power supply. This was just a few days before the show was to open. This was catastrophic, to state the obvious. I had to scramble to find a printer who could turn around the job, but I did.

Our opening night party was January 30, 2010. My friend, Grant Hazard, played lovely haunting piano. We had a fair turn out. It was a lot of fun.

Here are a couple shots of the exhibit. I’ve always thought Rae’s idea was an elegant as well as very cost effective solution. I resurrected it a few years later for the “Third Wave” show, also at the Giorgi.

At night, we had a movie slide show of all the entries playing in the front window.

And so, the iphoneographic art movement was officially launched into the world!

As I have endeavored to do with every show I have ever mounted, I sat in the gallery, Wednesday through Sunday, noon to six. Maybe it was ten to six, I can’t remember. My motivation was threefold: I was there to answer questions I knew people would be asking; I wanted to watch the reaction to the work first hand; and of course I was hoping I could encourage people to buy prints (at $50 apiece).

What I remember so vividly was the visceral reaction people had to the pictures. They loved them. And I began to hear that same exclamation that I still hear today, even after a decade of work promoting the medium:

“I can’t believe these were made on an iPhone!”

I can assure you that, had I not seen the positive reactions nor heard the effusive and glowing praise for our tiny prints as presented in a tiny gallery at the foot of the Berkeley hills through February of 2010, over and over again, from the very beginning I would not have followed the path that was unfolding before me, unaware of it though I was at the time.

After the submissions deadline for the show passed, I wasn’t sure what to do with the site. I didn’t think that anybody would be interested in submitting pictures unless there was a reason to do so, like an upcoming gallery show. I did get some emails, and some pictures, but for the most part, between the fifteenth and the end of January, we were completely focused on

On January 17, I received four pictures from Matt Atkins. I thought they were pretty funny at the time. I still do, but I miss TiltShift Generator, a great early app, now long gone.

Matt wrote: Hey Knox, I know it’s probably going to be a late night for you, so I decided to send you a few test pics. I just downloaded a brand new free app that just hit the App Store tonight by Kuixotiq called “I Run My Mouth.” Few people I know would understand iPhone photography humor but I’m sure you’ll get a small chuckle from these. I made these a couple minutes ago. Enjoy! -Matt (original post here)

I also heard from a developer in Bosnia who offered me an app for the site that would allow people to upload images directly and could then be published manually by me. He would do it for free if he could keep the two dollars from the sale of the app.

On January 27, 2010, I launched It had taken me a while to get the domain. I forget why.

Here is a video I made that had all the pictures that were actually in the show.

And here is a random sampling of submissions to the show:

Okay, that’s enough for now.

My next article will be about Marty Yawnick, whose venerable website,, just passed the ten-year mark in September.

And then I will cover the Oakbook Gallery Show that opened in May of 2010. Things were starting to get interesting.

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