Jenn Kowalik

I have had a lot of love for mobile photography since I first got a phone with a camera in it. I found that I was always snapping away on and off set with my iPhone and dragging my friends along on impromptu photography adventures with me. Since a lot of the work I do professionally is very reliant on pre-production and planning, the spontaneity of being able to shoot something just for fun when an idea may strike has always been very enjoyable. But over the past few months I found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures this way.

When Instagram first arrived on the scene I was really into it. I liked being able to share my work and see what people are up to. Even though I still check in on Instagram from time to time to see what my friends are shooting I have been posting less often since the beginning of this year. When I did post I found that I would spend a lot of time (too much) checking in to see how many likes my latest image had gotten and to keep up with comments from my friends. I also realized I was posting less creative work and more and more images of my dogs and travel photos (not that there is anything wrong with that – my dogs are adorable) but it had become more of a platform where I would post thoughtless images and a lot less of a fun place for me to post whatever interesting or creative thing I was working on that day. There was also the debate about Instagram changing their terms of service, and though I still post the occasional travel shot on there to let people know what I am up to, I just never got around to posting creative work there again – but that is not what I want to focus on in this article.

Jason Wulf

In the past few weeks I have found myself making images on my phone more frequently, and it has a lot to do with an update that Visual Supply Company made to their already pretty great VSCO Cam app. A short time ago VSCO released this update (which has become my new camera app of choice for the iPhone, and pretty much the only thing I use for mobile image editing aside from Snapseed) and despite how cool the photography aspects of the app are, they built something even more interesting into this edition that has really made mobile photography more engaging for me again – VSCO Grid.

VSCO has created a publishing platform for mobile photography that really excited me when I first saw it in action – I could not wait to get one of my own, but I had to wait a few days to get an activation code after it was released. When I did finally get my account activated I found that a lot of the good feelings that I got from creating my little phone snaps and pictures of friends that I had lost with Instagram had come back. More importantly, there was something about the app and the style of sharing it allows that led me to be a lot more thoughtful with my mobile photography. Suddenly, I was taking more pictures with my phone – without any of the weird anxiety I would ocassionally get from using Instagram.


The interface is clean, responsive, minimal, and I really like the way that it presents a stream of images. Another thing I appreciate is that it was designed as a publishing platform and not a social media site – there are no friends, likes, or comments and for the time being that really appeals to me (though it does have some basic social integration like being able to tweet one of your images or share something to Facebook). The idea of having a platform to share this kind of imagery that specifically eliminates the idea of a lot of social media trappings is kind of endearing to me, and I think VSCO did a really fantastic job of giving photographers and artists a platform where they can do that in a very elegant and well designed way.

Jenn Kowalik

You can now see my mobile image on my VSCO.Grid 4am Knows All My Secrets (because I stay up way too late playing with my iPhone images, and because Poppy Z. Brite is amazing). It is going to be something of a side project for me where my more creative mobile photography can live (and ocassionally some of these images will pop up on this blog too). Some of the images that populate it now are from new adventures and shoots, while others are select favorites that I have brought over from Instagram and reworked using VSCO Cam. The timing of VSCO Grid being released was sort of perfect too, because over the summer and into the fall I am going to be working on a lot of new projects, and the nature of the images I create and even this blog are going to be changing significantly in scope and subject matter. Grid will be a perfect place for me to share the fun stills I make on adventures with my friends, documenting their style, grabbing candid images on shoots, and creating interesting images while I explore Buffalo and other cities on my travels. Having this outlet and medium to be loose with what I shoot and just have fun feels great – so 4am Knows All My Secrets will be serving as something of a second, purely visual blog for me while my main blog will focus on the stories and images I will be sharing about the subjects of my work and the new directions I plan on taking it in (but that is a whole different post for another time…)

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media (you can find me on Twitter or Facebook most of the time, and I often write posts on social media for ASMP’s Strictly Business blog), but I have always been kind of fascinated by how social media affects how people create. I certainly  enjoy sharing work I create with others, and I have made some really genuine connections with some seriously cool people, but when it comes to creating work that is designed to be shared specifically over social media I get kind of dragged into questioning how the medium itself affects the motives people have for creating. Is our intent and work altered by the reaction of others on social media? Does an artist’s search for approval lead them to create an image in search of likes rather than capturing something that truly captivated or fascinated them? Have I ever told you I over analyze things sometimes, even things that are just supposed to be simple fun?

So, before I get too philosophical about it… let me sum up by saying that VSCO Grid is a lot of fun for me, probably the most fun I have had creating mobile images in a long time.

If you are using VSCO Grid too,  drop me a link to your feed – I would love to check out some cool work.


Tom Tubiolo and Devin Caskie visiting Victory Studios

Dailies is a monthly collection of the images I take in my day to day life: casual snaps and test shots of friends and family, unguarded behind the scenes images of my subjects, Polaroids, Instagrams, and documentation of my myriad and sordid adventures. 

A look back at my recent trip to Seattle, mobile images from an assignment with Hero Design, and a rundown on who has been visiting the studio over the last month.

Clockwise from top left:

1. Musician Thomas Tubiolo after we wrapped a shoot developing some new PR and Press images for him.

2. Devin Caskie dropped by the studio with some much appreciated color to help me and my intern out with a small project.

Dailies images of the team from Hero Design

Clockwise from top right:

3. Mark Brickey of Hero Design Studio – I am working on a cool project and creating some images for the awfully talented  team from Hero right now.

4. A more lo-fi look for Mark – sans glasses.

5. Beth Manos Brickey – the other super talented half of Hero and author of one of my favorite food blogs; Tasty Yummies

Dailies from the Ace Hotel in Seattle

Clockwise from top left:

6. Outside of my room at the Ace Hotel in Seattle. I was out west a bit this month for a workshop and to meet up with some friends. This friendly guy greeted me every morning.

7. A colorful take on the lobby at the Ace – I just loved this exceptionally stylish and affordable hotel.

8. Kain Vuong, one of the new friends I made on this trip  –  We initially met up at T5 at JFK and ended up hanging out for most of the weekend since we ended up being on the same flight from NY and staying in the same hotel once we arrived in Seattle.

9. My deer themed room at the Ace – which became quite the office / refuge while I was there.

10. I am usually loathe to post food Instagrams, but these red velvet pancakes were too good for me not to share – and as we all know, the rules don’t apply when it comes to red velvet.

Images from UnWorkshop in Seattle WA

Clockwise from top left:

11. One of the reasons I was in Seattle was to check out the UnWorkshop event that John Keatley was hosting. I ended up making a ton of talented new friends there and learning a ton of new info – both from the other attendees and those that were part of the event,

12. John Keatley – photography badass. Check out his work here.

13. One of the highlights of UnWorkshop was an amazing Mariachi band who showed up un-announced and played some amazing music for us. John certainly knows how to throw a party.

14. Another one of the mariachis rocking out.

15. A small spelling error that became a running joke that became an idea for a brand change. Shauna from Nubbytwiglet.com put it best “Luke Chopping: Photographer  – Blogger – Logger”

Dailies images from Victory Studios

Clockwise from top right:

16. A shot I grabbed of Devin while she was working on some test shots with my intern Lisa.

17. Anna Dominick was visiting Victory studios with her sister Lydia this day, but I will be working on a project with her soon.

18. I don’t think my new intern Lisa was prepared for how friendly Lydia Dominick is. You can see some images I shot of Lydia in a recent issue of The Hockey News’ Fully Loaded Magazine. 

19. Yours truly and Lydia

20. I was really excited to have Leo Chan in the studio for a series of portraits I am working on. Keep an eye out for some of the pictures we shot that day to début on this blog soon.

Casey Bitzberger

Portraits of Casey Bitzberger

Two very different stylistic takes on portraits of the amazing Casey Bitzberger.

This was a very playful shoot – in addition to the formal portraits that we created there was also large number of iPhone and mobile images from the production – of which the above was my favorite.

And Finally!

Just us having fun shooting video on my phone after the shoot.

Casey and I having a Gaze Off! after the production wrapped.

She won…

Special thanks to Nicole Barry and Tom Newton.

Personal Record 2.2.2012

Personal Record is an ongoing stream of the images I make outside of my professional career. The personal images, mobile images, outtakes, and random candid images that I take on whatever camera I happen to have handy at the time; a documentation of my day-to-day life and the things I come across that interest me visually.

The highlight of this past week was the debut of Nick Butlak’s (who has made appearances in many of my pictures) gallery show – collecting a number of his paintings and installation pieces. friends and artists from all over buffalo came by the opening to see Nick’s newest work.

Helping my mother move into her new house had me visiting Niagara Falls a lot this week. Aside from Toronto, this is one of the most dominant landscapes of my youth – It is an oddly unbalanced  mix of industrial structures, suburban hideaways, consumer temples,  and forgotten grandeur. I think I will be working on something more in-depth in the coming weeks to record the area in greater detail.

I have been busy lately with a lot of meetings and portfolio reviews as 2012 is starting to get busy – I have a stack of thank you notes still to mail out to all the awesome creatives that I have met and shared my work with the past few weeks.

The reward for a well executed all night work marathon.


The Permanent Collection

A permanent collection of my favorite images from my personal record blog posts.

A permanent collection of my favorite images from my personal record blog posts.

I have toyed with the idea of giving some of my favorite images from Personal Record a permanent home on the main page of lukecopping.com for some time now. What started as a small experiment of self-documentation has grown into a regular and very popular feature on my blog. Due to my own ongoing fascination with mobile photography as well as the wonderful encouragement that I have received from all of you over the past few months I will definitely be continuing to capture images from my day-to-day adventures – and you can now view a curated and evolving gallery of some of my favorites from the series here – I hope you enjoy! 

A permanent collection of my favorite images from my personal record blog posts.

lo-fi irregulars – Niagara Falls Blvd

After moving from Canada to the states when I was a kid I spent most of my life growing up around the Niagara Falls and Youngstown NY  areas. I have a strange obsession with the remains of the once great tourism industry that once kept the area moving, Some of the last relics of that previous tourist boom are the motels that line the boulevard. I was out there this morning and had a chance to play with Hipstamatic on my iPhone for a bit, taking shots of some of the signs and surrounding areas.

Images of the Niagara Falls Blvd Strip. By Luke Copping

The Bit-O-Paris motel, rooms still rented by high school kids to this day in order to throw parties.

Rapids Bowling centre - Luke Copping Photography

Rapids Bowling, I remember when I lived in the area, that there was always an unusually high concentration of bowling alleys nearby.

Bel-Aire motel - Luke Copping photography

The Bel-Aire motel, my favorite retro sign on the Boulevard.

motel and used cars - Luke Copping Photography

I would venture to say that its a bad idea to buy a used car from the motel you stayed at last night.

The Niagara Falls Motel - Luke Copping Photography

The Niagara Falls Motel

Motel in Niagara Falls NY - Luke Copping Photography

Another roadway motel

Knights Inn - Luke Copping Photography

Knights Inn, one of the more modern additions. Lacking some of the retro charm, but I still love that sign.

Caravan Motel, Niagara Falls - Luke Copping Photography

Another of my favorite sings from the area, the Caravan Motel.

The wagon wheel restaurant - Luke Copping photography

Front of the Wagon Wheel Restaurant

3 star motel - Luke Copping Photography

The 3-Star Motel

Old Bell Facility, Derelict Garage - Luke Copping Photography

A derelict garage at the Old Bell Aerospace Complex, Now a facility housing several manufacturing companies, I worked in the complex for years.

View of airfield and Garage - Bell Facility - Luke Copping Photography

Another view of the Garage and unused lots nearby.

To see more of Luke’s commercial and editorial photography work please visit lukecopping.com