For our second interview, we interviewed Massis, a great photographer that has became known for his adapted accessories that includes adding filters to his Nokia Lumia 1020 and Nokia 808 that he even explained on a tutorial
on our Mobile and Photography Techniques.
Here's his interview.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm Massis Sirapian, I'm 38, I'm French and live in France. I work for aeronautics as an engineer. My hobbies are: taking care of my wife, swimming, reading and writing, and photography of course. Oh, and Nokia too
2. What was your journey to mobile photography?
That journey has two stages. First, my father loves photography and indeed was a photographer when I was a kid. He had his studio, at that time, there was no disposable cameras nor digital cameras. So every holiday we spent, every event was covered by my father. Photography was part of our daily life. He never taught us the technique though, to my brother and to me.
Years later, I decided to go to Armenia with a friend from Paris and by car. Stay with me, it's related to the question above. So it was a road trip. I intended to take notes in order to write a novel later, my friend had a DSLR and took a lot of pictures. I had only my Sagem my501X
His pictures were beautiful, but my points of view were not covered. I was frustrated with admittedly great pictures of mine, but shot with a poooor device. One year later, I was about to go to Finland for the first time, to join the woman who is now my wife. Having that frustration of: if I don't have my own camera, nobody will take pictures "with my eye", I bought a Lumix TZ5. Great camera.
2 years later, with my Finnish girlfriend who had moved to France, we decided to give a try to geocaching. We needed a GPS and I bought a second hand Nokia 5800 and I entered the world of smartphones, Symbian and Nokia. The next summer, in Finland, I had this intuition when shooting with the Lumix: it would be nicer to have a converged device. And this also: the market will soon converge towards two products: high end DSLR and superb cameraphones. I decided, during the fall 2011, to buy a second hand Nokia N8. I was so happy with that device. That's when I've created my second Flickr account, dedicated to mobile photography.
3. What phone(s) do you use to take your photographs?
So I used the Nokia N8 during months and in February 2012:
The Nokia 808 Pureview was announced
OMG, I thought, my intuition was right. It was the first first hand device I bought, in July 2012, just before my wedding BTW. The 808 is fabulous. I think I've developed my "skills" with that device. Having it always handy helps a lot. I learned, on the ground, about exposure, perspective, ISO, etc. I still love the Nokia 808 and use it for time lapses.
When Symbian was stopped in 2013 (store, etc.), I decided to look forward. It was obvious the Lumia 1020 wouldn't get a successor in 2014 or even in 2015. So I bought it (waited for a great bargain
) and I love it. I love it because it brings OIS and RAW, to put it in a nutshell. Plus exposure time control.
4. What is your favorite kind of photography? What you consider to be your specialties?
I like to shoot everything. I love landscapes when I'm in a country as beautiful as Finland. I like to shoot my family and my wife, but you will never see these pics. I do HDR when I feel the need to (I believe there are scenes where a trained eye will recognize the value of HDR), with a photorealistic post process. I edit all my 1020 RAW (of course) and edited most of my 808 Pureview JPG (these JPG are so "pure" they can stand a soft edit).
Panoramas, yes, when the scene cries for them. You know my little planets, but I like plain panoramas as well. Actually, I rendered my "forÍt de meudon" pano in an inverted little planet because the "linear" panorama was so dull to my eyes.
5. Do you use any mobile photography accessories?
Oh yes. Most of the time, it's handheld. Because my first tool is my gut feel. I'm struck by a scene, I move towards it, and, a bit like a ball in a bowl, which will converge to its stable state, I feel attracted to a point where the composition pleases me. No accessory for that.
But when I want to capture long exposure, time lapses, etc., I have a tripod, light and sturdy. You know I have also a special setup for both the 808 and the 1020 to attach filters. Mine are: polariser, infrared, UV, ND, close-up.
6. Do you take advantage of the many photography apps that are available for smartphones? If so, tell us your favorite ones.
No I don't. I do not like CameraPro (never liked the UI nor the grid which will never adapt, is it 4/3 or 16/9). But I had to use it for my very long timelapses (the 808 is limited to 1500 pictures).
My philosophy is: process on the PC. I run a Linux box, so I use Darktable (=Lightroom equivalent), Luminance for HDR, hugin for panoramas. You can see the details on the big screen; HDR is not an automated process but a matter of taste, so I wouldn't like to do all that on a small screen.
So to be brief: no app involved, except Nokia Camera on the 1020.
7. What are your ambitions as a mobile photographer?
No ambition, except to learn to master better my devices, to learn from other photographers, like Richard Dorman, Christophe Brutel, Antti Tassberg, David Detko if I had to quote a few. My only ambition is just to share my pictures.
8. What would be your dream camera phone?
Oh, let's say: The 1020, but with 1520 internals (sd slot, better cpu, etc.) + a way to project to a screen (hdmi or mhl). Intervalometer added, more manual controls (aperture would be just great).
All this pocketable of course
9. Select what you consider to be the best 3 photos that you have shared at The Mobile Photography Blog.
You noticed when selecting these that I love BW. I wanted to mention that Antti Tassberg has really given me the taste for BW thanks to his great shots. When I had pictures with a dull sky, or where the scene was graphic, I started to switch to BW. And BW is a world of its own, it's not as simple as desaturating.
10. Finally, beside our site, where can we find you on the internet world?
In Twitter: @Massis_
On Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/n8_massis/
Don't forget to also visit his Gallery on our site: http://themobilephotographyblog.com/gallery/?sa=myimages;u=79