The Artful Dodger

(That’s a small photography pun)

I’ve been having a quick play with an iOS photo-manipulation tool called Snapseed. It makes pretty effective use of the touch screen as a way to select and apply effects, and the effects are rather good. I discovered the app just before bedtime, so haven’t done much with it yet, but here’s a quick demo:

This photo of the basin in our bathroom was just taken with the (pretty crummy) camera in my iPad while I was sitting on… well, never mind where I was sitting, but I could instantly apply and adjust a couple of effects before uploading it to Flickr.

Snapseed is certainly not the first app to do this kind of thing, but it’s the best I’ve used so far. There are a few intro video clips on their website to show you how it works. There are few quicker ways of turning your photo into an arty photo, even if, like this, it wasn’t a particularly good photo to start with.

So is it just too easy now to flick the ‘artiness’ switch? it feels a bit like cheating. In the past, such effects would have taken long hours of practice and years of experience in the dark room. (Or sometimes they were just mistakes which looked good.). Is it still art without the struggle? Is a book still a masterpiece if it is written with a word processor rather than a quill? Why do we take photographs and try to make them look like non-photographs? Is it guilt over the fact they’re not paintings?

Mmmm. Too late. Bedtime.

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Camera+ is clearly the win. You’ve not been following my recent work have you?


    Hi Dave,

    Yes, I know and like Camera+ – it used to be my main photo app before I moved to the 4S. I used it mainly to help correct the limitations of the 3GS camera, so haven’t felt so much of a need on the 4S, where I’d rather get the pure image and tweak it in post.  (I wonder which will be the first phone to offer RAW…)

    But, while I was never a power-user, I don’t think Camera+ offers as much as Snapseed.  Have a look at the little video tutorial on ‘Selective Adjust’, for example…  I thought the Camera+ effects were more ‘global’?

    In my little picture above, the (black) towel in front of the basin was almost completely invisible after the effect was applied, so I moved the centre of the effect a bit and then very slightly lightened the towel area.  A subtle change, but very quick to do…


I discussed this with a friend.

His immediate response was:

“It’s a photo of a sink taken by a s*******g man! Definitely art.”

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