The rise of camera phone image quality combined with the rise of twitter is an extraordinary one. Ultimately it means we can look forward to more photos of Demi Moore’s arse, Maria Sharapova playing American football outside Centre Court or alternatively (and potentially more useful) the news direct from an eye witness. When thinking about designers though there’s one name that comes to mind who is never too far from a TwitPic opportunity, Mr Bingo.
One extraordinary fact emerged at the at the weekend, the iPhone is now the most popular camera uploading photo’s to Flickr. Combined with the rapid rise of Twitter and the recent article on Wired.co.uk that suggests Apple could potentially install a camera in every iPod, makes you start to think. We caught up with London based illustrator Mr Bingo to talk more about his own use of Twitpic.
I always remember your Flickr account having a good collection of found type and happy accidents, predominantly a series of ‘nice’ photographs. Have you always had a camera close to hand?
I wish I did but no. I see (in my opinion) beautiful things every time I walk anywhere, but most of the time I didn’t have a camera on me. Now I use my phone to snap everything. The quality is pretty dire, but it’s useful to capture those things you see when you’re just out and about. Since I got a Twitter account I stopped using Flickr. I couldn’t do both, I’m too simple.
Is photography something you’re interested in or is it simply the content of the photograph?
I like photography but I’m not interested in trying to be a photographer. I share a studio with a photographer who uses a 1952 Lionhof, so I’ve learnt a little bit about taking real pictures. If we’re talking about taking photos for posting on Twitter, then sure, it’s pretty much all about content. If I see a sign or a bit of graffiti I like, I’ll try and frame it as best I can but using a phone camera is pretty limiting!
What makes you want to take a photo and where do they end up?
If I see something that moves me in some way, then I want to take a photo of it so I can keep it and share it with others. It’s about collecting those funny little things you come across and then showing them to other people. I love signs made by people who aren’t trained designers, there’s something so raw, naive and honest about them. I’m not taking the piss, I genuinely think they’re really beautiful. There’s actually a really thin line between professional, faux naive ‘sweet’ illustration and a painted sign by a Polish man who washes cars.
A lot of your images come with no title or explanation, is this because you know your followers will click on them to see what lies beyond?
Yes, I don’t like giving things titles or explanations, I don’t really see the need for it. I like the images to just speak for themselves and the viewer can decide what they think about it without me telling them what to think about it.
Has Twitter and Twitpic changed the way you take photos?
Yeah, definitely. I love the instantness (is that a word) of Twitter, it’s great. When I used to see something interesting, I’d take a photo and then bore friends in the pub with my collection of things I’d seen that day/week. Now, I just see it, snap it and Tweet it. It’s a visual diary of what my eyes are seeing. I love the idea of seeing something funny, then a minute later, a hundred people can look at it and share the moment.
The other thing I occasionally put up is a photo of a drawing or doodle or ‘brainfart’. I don’t have a blog or a newsletter or anything so it’s a nice way of showing these little extra bits and pieces.
What Twitpics can we expect in the coming weeks?
More of the same rubbish. Except I’m going on holiday from the 19th to the 28th of July and I might not go on the internet for a week… I think it might be good for me to remember how we used to live. Just be sure to tune in on the 29th for a barrage of pictures!
Who are you following on Twitter of any interest?
No-one of any interest to be honest, just friends really, so I can see what they’re doing. I follow a few illustrators who I don’t know, because I like their work. Some of my clients follow me so I have to be really careful I don’t fuck up!
Who’s the most obscure person following you?
Frank Zappa’s daughter.