Recently we had the opportunity to chat with Corey Gregg (@c_grizz) and peel back the onion about his life, his photography and his creative process.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Corey: I'm a 37 year old grizzly bear raised by a family of humans. I married a beautiful girl 15 years ago who bore 3 human children for me. All of whom are not particularly hairy so bear genes must be recessive. Anyway, I live a little west of Cleveland, Ohio and make a living as a firefighter/paramedic. I'm a Jehovah's Witness and very passionate about my faith. If you couldn't tell by my Instagram feed, I love to be outside enjoying creation, and if I can do it by bike, well that's just peachy. I've been a slug and an Ironman and everything in between. My friends might say I have hobby ADD, but I've been doing the photography thing for more than half my life and am really enjoying it at the moment.
*bonus fun fact - I've held my breath driving through tunnels for as long as I can remember. I'm kind of a big deal in the tunnel breath holding community.
How'd you get started in mobile photography?
Corey: Probably the way it started for a lot of people. I downloaded Instagram when it came out and it sat on my phone for a while until a couple of friends said I should check it out. I didn't ever get into Facebook and didn't have much interest in social media, but this seemed more photography based and I got hooked pretty quick. I took photography in high school and fell in love with film and the darkroom experience and being able to manipulate images how I wanted. So when all these apps started coming out that would let you do some of the same things and so much more, I really started picking up the hobby again. The whole mobile photography boom is great. Sure, there's gonna be a glut of bathroom mirror flexing blurry Starbucks caturday selfies (apologies to 50% of Instagram), but I think putting a decent camera in so many people's hands 24 hours a day is showing them to look at the world around them, find the beauty, find the ugly, get creative, go on adventures they wouldn't normally go on and write terrible run on sentences with bad punctuation.
*bonus fun fact - I have 6 toes on my right hand
You legitimately manipulate some of your photos in an amazing way. How does that creative process work?
Corey: The editing community blows me away every day with new creative stuff. I've drawn a lot of inspiration from guys like Ben (@figment_hf) and Jonny (@erratum) and Sam (@samwoodsiv). I don't like to copy people's style, but if I can occasionally give someone the same feeling I get when I see these crazy ideas and my jaws on the floor like "how on earth do they think of something like this?”, then that's a little victory. If I can get someone to look at a post longer than the half second it takes to double tap and move on then I'm happy. And if you actually turned your phone upside down to figure out what's going on then please tell me. It'll make my day.
Do the ideas just come to you as you work or do you sit down with a concept in mind?
Corey: Sometimes I'll have an idea and shoot some pics for it, but more often it's just messing around with apps and knowing what you can get them to do. It usually starts with “Eh, this pic is pretty boring. What else could it be?” Or I'm putting my kids in some surreal setting. And then if I'm blending things together, I'll use Superimpose. If I want some particular effect I've used Mirrorgram, Tiny Planet Photos, AfterFocus, Facetune, VSCO, LensLight and on and on. 99% of my pics are finished in Mextures. I used to use other apps for basic adjustments, but when you came out with the 2.0 update it really became a powerful all-in-one editing tool.
*bonus fun fact - If I'm feeling sad, I picture everyone in Sweden talking to each other like the Swedish Chef from The Muppets.
How exactly do you use Mextures for your edits?
Corey: Everything gets finished in Mextures. Whether I'm just doing a straight up photograph or I have an elaborate edit, it provides so much of the mood in my photos. You can load any of my formulas and tap on the photo to see the before and after. A couple of really dramatic ones are IHEARTJELLYFISH (Formula Code: SDGPTUU) and URBAN DECAY (Formula Code: FDSILFD). It's almost embarrassing how lame these shots were before adding Mextures. I usually import a photo and start layering in the Vintage Gradients and Landscape Enhance packs first. Then move on to the textures. Then finish it up with the polish tools.
What's your favorite overlay pack?
Corey: I’d have to go with Grunge as my favorite pack. Also my favorite music, clothing and lifestyle. Joey Lawrence is a huge influence on me to this day. If I had to pick a go to texture, it would be Copper Plated on difference blend at about 20.
You started the #formula_sharing_is_caring hashtag. Tell us about how that came about.
Corey: I still can't believe that tag blew up like it did. When the big update came out, I jumped right into the formula sharing aspect. I thought it was really cool to see people's workflow in Mextures. I had loaded a great formula from @natehill that worked perfectly with a shot I had from the beach. I had hoped the formula sharing aspect would take off but I hadn't really seen many doing it yet. So I came up with the tag on a whim to show my appreciation for Nate sharing it. He and Jeff (@postaljeff) and a few others thought it was funny and ran with it. Send all the hashtag royalties to them.
*bonus fun fact - I only buy clothes from the big and tall section and tell everyone I won Biggest Loser Season 3