The ‘magic’ transformation of images from an iPhone


A report from Trinidad’s Guardian.

Florida-based Trini photographer Sonya Sanchez-Arias deconstructs images with her phone camera

“My life is made of Fragments,” Sonya Sanchez-Arias says.

“I’m Trinidadian, and my DNA is made up of Fragments of different ancestries – English, French, Spanish.

“The Caribbean is made up of Fragments of land stretching from North America to South America.

“The things I choose photograph are inspired by Fragments of all my fond memories, experiences and the Caribbean influences of my upbringing here in Trinidad.”

Sanchez-Arias, who runs a successful commercial photography business in Florida specialising in product photography for advertising, works with a range of photographic equipment, including high-end medium format digital cameras, but her personal work is, increasingly, captured and processed on her iPhone using a range of software tools.

“The images in this new collection are a mixture of two new photographic processes that I’ve been experimenting with and fine tuning for quite some time now,” Sanchez-Arias explains.

“All of the images are photographed, processed and manipulated using an iPhone. Most of the images are custom printed using a dye sublimation process to print the image onto sheets of aluminum, others are custom printed using metallic papers.”

The photographer’s approach is guided by a process of planned deconstruction of the original digital capture.

“One of the styles I use, I have nicknamed ‘Shards’, deconstructs and rebuilds the images by layering several different processes to create line, shape color and pattern.

“By deconstructing the original image I can focus, not only, on the outer edges but on the gaps between. Paying attention to the negative space allows me to see new alternate patterns happening between the lines where I can add ‘fragments’ and colour to create a different visual.

“This technique allows me transform the original captures by stripping the image down, converting them into line drawings and adding vivid fragments, colours, and shapes.

“For me, it is the chaos of the colourful fragments and cracks that allow a brand-new perspective and an entirely new way to explore the familiar subject of the images.”

For the exhibit, the works are mounted on distressed raw materials.

“For this collection, I made backgrounds out of fragments of reclaimed, weathered, and recycled tropical woods. Those materials represent their own tenacity because they too have weathered many of their own storms. I love repurposing these salvaged woods and materials and transforming them.”

“I’m constantly involved with the mobile art world,” says Sanchez-Arias, “taking pictures, editing them, transforming them.

“There is never a day where I am not at some point or other creating new images, blending styles, reworking the lines, adding pops of colour.

“I want to inspire and encourage those who see my work, to look more carefully at the world around them, to discover beauty in unusual places and to consider the transformative possibilities of a different point of view.”

• Fragments, an exhibition of photographs by Sonya Sanchez-Arias runs at Y Art Gallery until November 11.

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