Hamburger Eyes is an independent photo magazine based in San Francisco run by Ray and David Potes and old friend Stefan Simikich. What started off 8 years ago as a photocopied zine courtesy of Ray’s job at Kinkos, has grown into a world wide distributed glossy magazine, book, and photo lab. Describing their magazine as “a pictorial history of both the unseen and iconic moments of everyday life”, it was only natural that the crew decided to share their cellphone images through Celly Brain, a cell phone photo feature on the Hamburger Eyes blog. Ray Potes tells us a little about the project and shares some of his favorite submissions.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, Hamburger Eyes, and the Photo Epicenter for those who are not familiar with it?
Hamburger Eyes is a photography magazine we started about 8 years ago. It’s black and white and runs at about 150 pages these days. It usually comes out twice a year, sometimes less, sometimes more.
Photo Epicenter is a darkroom rental facility that we have been running for over 2 years now. People come here to work on their own photos in a monthly membership style setup. It also serves as our headquarters.
Is there an underlying theme behind your photography? What imagery draws you in?
I’m really drawn to black and white documentary styles. For our magazine, it became the main theme. But I like all kinds of photography.
What is the premise of Celly Brain and where did it’s name come from?
We have a website that is always hungry for content. When cell phones got the ability to take pictures, everyone started texting me these weird funny super lo-res pictures, I thought it would be a cool thing for the site. And then when we figured out how to update the site straight from the phone, it just became so on, and we titled it “Celly Brain” because we are that much closer to the day we get cell phone brain implants.
How do your camera phone photos different from your usual photos?
I see it as 2 whole different mediums. The cell phone photos are specifically for the site, for the viewers, often they are trying to be provocative in some way. And then as soon as they got there, they are gone forever in some internet archives. In contrast to my regular photos – which is mainly just for my own satisfaction or whatever. You might see it in our magazine, or somewhere else and it probably came from the archives, or you might never see it.
Photojournalist Sean Rocco uses his cellphone as his photography tool of choice and enjoys working within it’s parameters. There is really no failure when you don’t expect much from a cellphone. Do you ever have moments where you chose to shoot an image with your cellphone, even when you have your camera with you?
I agree. It will look like shit because it’s supposed to. But that’s whats fun about it. There’s definitely moments more perfect for the phone than for my film camera. And vice versa, I always have both on me. But I think I still shoot way more film then celly phone photos.
When you’re not taking photos, where can people find you?
I’m at the lab/hq all day every day. I need to get back out there and shoooooting.
What’s one song everyone should listen to?
Maggot Brain – Funkadelic
What’s next for you?
Keep on keepin on.
What are some of your favorite Celly Brain photos?
It should be noted that it was kinda hard to make picks because the cool part of the cellybrain is the unending stream of them. i think thats its main essence, like running water is to taking a shower. Feel me? I picked some recent ones from some of the main contributors.