This week we introduce you to the photography of Robert Hawkins (@rjshawkins). With heaps of fog and greenery in nearly every photo, Robert puts Mextures to work to accentuate color and build texture with a final product that is always awe-inspiring. Read along to learn more!
I'm Rob Hawkins and I live in East Devon, on the Jurassic coast.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
Average! I was one of the class clowns. To be fair, I am no better now, I am still the fool when we have meetings at work. - (some of the girls bought Mr Men books for us boys on our birthdays, I got Mr Silly. I'm not sure what they were trying to say!)
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Wiser and kinder I guess. Maybe a bit taller.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?
That's a really easy one, always a good curry and rice.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
A wolf so that I can roam the woods on the dark foggy mornings, or a hamster but only if you let me have that soft tissue bedding.
WHAT TWO CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?
Hey! There's nothing wrong with my parents! Has anyone ever chosen Merek? This is tricky as you have to make a good couple, I think Robin Williams would be cool - funny, kind.. and I think that Lauren Graham was a fun Mum - would they make a good couple?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SMELL?
It's probably coconut... I guess it reminds me of that sun tan oil people used when I went on holiday as a kid. Or rosemary - who can walk past a rosemary bush without rubbing their fingers on it?
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM INSTAGRAM?
That I have a doctorate degree in conchology. Ok, that's not true. But it would be interesting and you would not be able to tell from my Instagram! Then I guess it's that I have 4 boys and an amazing girlfriend (@daisy_inspirecreatedo) who deserves a gold medal the size of a dustbin lid!
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
My Dad was always into photography when I was younger. He was a wedding photographer way before I came along and used to process his own prints at home. I was always coveting his cameras and enlarger! I think I'm drawn to the equipment as much as anything, perhaps the photos are just the excuse to buy new gadgets! Mobile photography [I love my new Google Pixel 2's camera] has come so far and the work flow from taking the photos, through editing to sharing is so easy... And Instagram and the Mextures app is a major part of that for me.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
I guess I should be saying something deep and meaningful here... I look to find new perspectives in the places I go, it's just a moment in time. Places I've passed on the way to work have become places to stop and explore, especially when it's foggy! When I choose a photo to post I try not to overthink it, just to post something I like, but I know that the influence of others is there too.
I like to show things that perhaps get overlooked. One of my favorites is a pair of gnarly trees in a field right next to the motorway close to work. So many people must pass them each day without ever noticing them.
HOW DO YOU GENERALLY APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
I only ever edit on my Pixel phone and iPad. I don't have an iPhone so this makes the workflow a little clunky as there's no Mextures app for android [just thought I'd get that in]! The workflow usually involves using Snapseed on my phone to bring out the detail I want to show before moving to Mextures on the iPad. Then I move back to the phone to post - I told you it was clunky. I'm often surprised how different edits look between devices so I always have several edits of each photo.
HOW SPECIFICALLY DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
Mextures is the last step before I send the picture back to my phone to post. Normally I see how the photo looks with one of my saved formulas and then move through a few imported ones. If I don't like the way the photo is working then I tend to move on to a different shot. I often tweak existing formulas as I go but generally don't save these so I'm really rubbish at sharing formulas!
I rarely start with a vision of what I want to end up with so play around with different formulas, changing the textures and film presets to find something I really like. I have to confess that I rarely start from scratch, but when I do I tend to follow similar steps. Without doubt the Atmospheric gradients are the most frequently used. I love the way that just a few clicks can change a photo so dramatically.
WOULD YOU SHARE A FEW OF YOUR MEXTURES FORMULAS?
Formula - PBTXWEF
So, first one is called "hope". I don't really remember why but let's say it was because I hoped it would be a nice edit and might get featured on Instagram. I've used it on quite a few posts and I've tweaked it quite a few times so I have several versions. I've shared the original photo I edited. I like the way I could use mextures to highlight the golden flowers of the oil seed and add some drama to the sky.
Formula - USGAGKR
The second is called "just a bit darker", but again I have no idea why I called it that. With this one I was looking to make the picture a bit darker to add some drama and depth to it, bringing the focus towards the middle of the photo.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEXTURES THAT MAKES IT A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
Because I only edit on mobile and tablet I find it's the best method for me to add textures and gradients. My main device is Android and there is nothing like mextures available that is anywhere near the same quality. I don't have loads of time to spend editing my shots so it's become vital that I can use Mextures to quickly get the mood I'm looking for and highlight the parts of the photo I want to stand out. Mextures has been the way that I have taken my photos to a new level.
PICK TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE IMAGES - WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM THAT MAKE THEM STAND OUT TO YOU?
So I've chosen one autumn and one summer shot. The autumn shot is from one of my favorite local places, it's such a tranquil place, an ancient place of gathering for safety and celebration. This piece, for me, captures some of the magic and the spirit of the place - Mextures enabled me to add a bit of my own!
The second piece is another local shot, this time taken on a Saturday morning walk. It makes me recall the warmth of that early morning, the only noises were the insects and a breeze through the wheat. I was pleased to be able to capture this, the shadows, the rising ground to the horizon, the curve of the track lines following the hedge... It was just a truly peaceful moment. Again with this piece Mextures allowed me to create that feeling on the screen, in the picture that I had when I took the photo.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
Well we talked about this already... it's the inspiration to buy gadgets! But I guess it's these gadgets that allow us to capture these moments of beauty in our lives. Instagram gives us the outlet to share these moments and to see those created by others, and that in itself is inspiring! There's also that moment of excitement going through the photos that I take and spotting the one that I know is exactly what I was looking to capture.
IF YOU COULD STEAL CREDIT FOR ONE INSTAGRAM FEED, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?
This is such a difficult question. Connie (@sky_chaser) offered me a measly bribe to say her account so let's discount her...
I'm sitting here unable to make the steal! I think I'm going to go with @freelittleblackbird. That's it, I'm saying no more!
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
There are three accounts that stand out as ones I've followed and have definitely been inspired by and aspired to, for various reasons, in my early days. These are Louise (@helenlouise_47) and Susie (@soulfulwanderings) and Ivi (@ivi_gram). I also loved the shots of Matt Kirby and Lothar but they have both hung up their Instagram cameras.
There are so many awesome photographers and editors on Instagram using the mextures app. I love seeing the featured photos on the @mextures account.
I always enjoy the mood of every shot from Andy Dale (@toim4woin) and every shot Ismael (@ismael_j.s) posts is a stunner. Oh yeah, I just remembered another account from the early days, I was also totally inspired by Connie (@sky_chaser), but I've come to realise that she smells.
See more of Rob's work here!