“Becoming a MoPho”: An Interview with Daniel Berman of the Mobile Photo Awards
By Anton Kawasaki
Daniel Berman — better known as “Reservoir_Dan” in the mobile photography world — has been many things: fine art photographer, TV producer, digital artist and filmmaker. And with the introduction of the iPhone, he’s added “mobile photographer” to his growing list of talents. In fact, shooting with a mobile device became such a passion for Berman, that he created one of the most ambitious mobile photo contests/traveling exhibitions the world has seen so far: The Mobile Photo Awards!
Gathering many well known mobile shooters to be the judges, and enlisting several popular photo app companies to play along, Berman pulled off a truly momentous feat — especially for someone who lives up in the quiet, scenic hills surrounding Milton, Ontario.
Known for his specialty in landscapes, abstractions and people, Reservoir Dan is also now known as a major player in pushing the growing field of mobile photography towards mainstream acceptance — beyond the Instagram “social” hoopla that has dominated the news — as a recognizable art form.
When Dan asked Sion Fullana and I to be judges of the “street photography” category of a photo contest he was thinking of doing, we immediately said yes. Of course, we figured it would be just another small contest…no big deal. We had no idea of the magnitude of what we were getting into, or how big the awards and ultimate exhibition would be. It was definitely an interesting and fun (and sometimes frustrating) ride for everyone involved — but the amount of talented submissions that came out of it made it all worth it.
Now, months later, and after the winners were all announced, the first exhibitions have arrived! The opening of the Art Haus Gallery show in San Francisco this past Thursday was a smashing success. And now, on the eve of the show at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, I present to you the first part of an interview with Berman — where he discusses his own work and answers the first (of several) questions about the MPAs. Dive in….