FocusOn Instagramers 1.38: @Rugfoot

FocusOn Instagramers 1.38: @Rugfoot

FocusOn Instagramers 1.38: @Rugfoot

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Each week, Instagramers.com discovers new people. People addicted to Instagram, revealing their lives, passions, tips in Instagram. This week, we dedicate our weekly interview to a great “street photographer” called Richard Gray better known as @rugfoot in Instagram.
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You could think @Rugfoot is just another Instagram user… Yes, but not really. He is one of the first iphoneography teacher in England. Don´t expect a stream looking for “Likes” or focused in looking for more followers, he uses Instagram and apps as a permanent field for experiments and testing. Trying again and again, new editing apps, combinations, blending different effects. Richard is not really in a quest for finding a unique and own style. But simply showing amazing things you can do with editing apps.
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Richard Gray is the first iphoneography teacher in England and probably all over Europe.

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Richard has been recently featured in major newspapers and on-line medias like BBC , Daily Mail or The Sun (see more links below) and we found it very interesting. Richard kindly accepted to tell us a little bit about his life and answered to our weekly interview questions. You will find all his pics here:
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My name is Richard  Gray…

But in instagram, I´m @rugfoot. My first real job was as an English teacher in Madrid and after a couple of years I started translating. I stayed in Madrid for seven years before coming back to London in 1995 and setting up my own translation company.
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In 2004 I started working for a big Swiss language services company as a manager. I’m still with that company but am currently taking a 6-month career break. I’m married to my wife Julie and we live in London. I also take photos of live music events semi-professionally for music magazines.
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When did you first join IG?

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I think I posted my first IG on March 20, 2011. So coming up to my first anniversary. I never thought at the time it would become such a large part of my life.

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Why are you so addicted to IG? And how would you define your style?

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Like most people, being able to take photos wherever I was was a big factor. But for me, it was very soon the fact I could also edit photos whereever I was. The creative possibilities available with the apps really amazed me. So it’s been a channel for me to be creative. And I think the social aspect is great. In London we have a really vibrant offline community and I’ve made a lot of really good friends through it.

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I like to think I have quite an eclectic style. One of the things I love about iphoneography is the huge range of techniques open to you and I’m still trying things out (or “appsperimenting”, as they say), getting to grips with them and then putting them in my toolbox for a later date. That said, people have said that they can still see a consistent style. I seem to like including a lot of graphic qualities in my images and I take a lot of buildings. But I’d also like to explore more portraiture at a later date.

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Were you already fond of photography before you started instagramming?

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Yes, I’d been taking photos all my life and I still take a lot with my DSLR. But Instagram really has re-ignited my passion. Suddenly there are so many possibilities to be creative. And a major part is also the sharing of images and the inspiration taken from other people. The social aspect is the real driving force behind iphoneography. Before I might take a great photo on my SLR but then it would either sit on my PC or, if I could be bothered, I might print a copy and put it on my wall, and hardly anyone would see it. With IG, photos suddenly have a purpose. They have become a social currency.

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You are a iphoneography teacher… For you, which are the 3 best photo apps?

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Well, I can’t say best, but my favourite general app is Snapseed. It’s so easy to use and it has a great mix of presets and manual features. For more complex work, I think Filter Storm has some really sophisticated features. And a great app I’ve recently discovered that I use for blending is Photo Wizard.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your Iphoneography´s course?

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It’s being run by the photography department of Kensington & Chelsea College in London, which runs a wide range of really good arts courses. It’s five weekly sessions of 3 hours. It’s a bold step by the college to offer the course, but we believe iphoneography could be the new point of access to photography for a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t have got into photography.

Suddenly there’s this new area of photography that allows people to be amazingly creative without having to spend a lot of money on equipment. It’s also the first recognition that iphoneography is a sub-genre of photography, not something outside it. The course attracted a lot of media attention in the UK as possibly the first course of its kind in the world. The course was very quickly fully subscribed with 15 students, so we offered it again in April and that course is now full too, so we’re running a third one in May.

It’s an introductory course so we start off with some basics about the phone camera but we quickly move onto more advanced areas. We look at lots of preset filters, then we do some manual editing and look at techniques such as blending and collage. We also take the students through the world of specific-function apps. We also introduce students to IG and the social aspect of iphoneography.

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Which kind of students do you have?

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We have a very broad age range, some young some old. Most of them have very little photography experience, but they’re all coming to the course with a lot of enthusiasm and creativity. We’re making really good use of Instagram in the classroom because by using tags we can do exercises and can immediately show all the resulting images on a screen. It also allows me to monitor the students’ homework between the classes.

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How much time do you spend on IG on an average day? And what do you do?

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This last year I’ve been spending probably an average of an hour a day taking and editing photos and then another hour a day on IG commenting and browsing. In the last year, I’ve posted an average of about 3 images a day on Instagram. I love looking at other people’s work and I always get a lot of inspiration from others.

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Which is your favourite picture?

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At the moment, the one I posted a couple of hours ago. I like to keep trying new things, so I don’t tend to look back at my images too much and my favourite ones are usually the ones I’ve most recently taken. This one is of a corridor in the London underground with some strong graphic lines and bright lights. I used an HDR app, which gave it some brightness and some ghostly figures. Then I flipped the image to create a new one and then blended the two images and applied a cross process filter with a vignette. I think it has a nice cubist feel to it, which is something new for me.

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What was your first reaction when you had your first Pop? And do you still like the picture?

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I don’t really have enough followers to get on the popular page through normal channels. I’ve belonged to a couple of pop page clubs and I like the idea of subverting the normal logarithm because the pop page is really hopeless at showcasing new and exciting work. Everyone knows you can only get on there normally if you have a 1,000 or more followers whether your image is good or not. It’s a shame Instagram don’t do something about it because IG’s reputation is suffering as a result and a lot of serious photographers are moving to other sites.

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Are your “non Instagramming” friends and family members bothered by your IG addiction?

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Not really. My wife’s happy if I’m happy.

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Is there a link between your personal Instagramers Life and activities and your job?

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Well not my day job, but there is a link to my music photography. I’ve started using some of the apps to process my DSLR images and I’m being a lot more adventurous with the processing now. I mean, you can only see so many pictures of a man standing there with a guitar. My IG activity has also sharpened my eye for composition when I’m taking music photos.

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Tell us a little bit about Instagram addiction and users in your country?

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I haven’t really seen too many problems with it. But I know you’ve got to keep a lid on it and keep it in perspective. There are more important things in life! There was a point when I was craving new followers, but I’m not too bothered now. And although the social aspect is really great, at the end of the day, you’ve got to create images for yourself.

A trick you would recommend?

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Someone recently recommended an app called GeniusScan+. It’s designed to be used to scan scrumpled bits of paper and restore their straight lines. It’s not really meant to be used for anything creative but someone pointed out you can use it to straighten the lines of a picture of a building. So you can make it look like you’ve taken the photo from above the building instead of from the pavement.

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Something you would say to a new user?

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App to the max! Try out all the new stuff available to you – and really let your creative juices flow.

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A user you would recommend?

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Someone I’ve followed almost since I started and who I’ve always liked and who tries out new things is @scarab.

Thanks very much once again Richard for all your contribution. We will follow your next steps on teaching iPhoneography with a huge interest.

@philgonzalez

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More press releases about Richard, @rugfoot on the press.

BBC
Daily Mail
The Sun
London Informer
K&C Today
Wearejuxt

 

 

1 Comment

  1. I totally agree that the popular page is not representative of the real talent on IG. Much of the stuff on the popular page is just rubbish that’s got lots of likes from the “follow whores”…Sort it out instagram, the popular page should only showcase worthy pictures.

    Reply

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