The Photography Interviews: Joe Montoya

Below is the second installment of an ongoing series on photography and those who are doing amazing things with their cameras. I have reached out to many people in my Instagram feed, all who have captured and held my imagination, and asked to interview them about their art. There are teachers and non-teachers in this series, but each one brings something that can be applicable to the classroom.

I encourage you to check out their Instagram feeds and ask them questions!

I am thrilled to introduce Joe Montoya‘s photography and joy! Montoya’s pictures inevitably bring a smile to your face, even if it is a picture of a classic car! He has a way of bringing out the joy in his subjects. Montoya often is featured in various groups on Instagram and I can immediately know when it is his picture featured because of his consistency of style across black and white, colors, and use of various applications.

What is your primary camera and/or camera app (stock camera/Hipstamatic/VSCO…)

I shoot with an iPhone 5 and 90% of the time with Hipstamatic.

What are your favorite editing apps?

My go-to editing app is Snapseed, but am hooked on Mextures right now. There’s a lot of versatility in the app, and just like Snapseed is easy to use.

What is your favorite picture and story behind it?


Sorry, I couldn’t find the original with higher resolution, but I this one has to be one of my favorites.

The model is my daughter, and I watched her play and her sister while they played with dandelions.

The late afternoon sun was a the perfect angle.

Even though my Hipstamatic app was set at a lower resolution, it still captured the pods as they were blowing away. I maxed out the contrast in Snapseed and converted it to black and white. I think this photo captures childhood. The silhouette gives it a dreamy look.

Can you share a tip?

Light is your best friend. Understand how light works and affects your photos.\r\nFor example, to get this silhouette I positioned myself to shoot with my daughter’s head blocking out the sun, but not fully to get the glowing effect to illuminate the dandelion. I probably got 20 shots in before we ran out of dandelions.

Who and what are your favorite photographers, communities, and hashtags you really enjoy and learn from?

I really do not know many historically great photographer/artists but I recently saw a documentary on Henri Cartier-Bresson and his images are amazing. I’ve seen Jay Maisel’s work and greatly admire his style. Mobile artists? I like Josh Johnson. My personal friend, Albert Montes (@mr_bearded_one on Instagram), is an amazing artist as well. His body of work is outstanding.

I belong to a couple of photography groups on Instagram and finding supportive groups on Google+ (like your Hipstamatic groups Stephen) and Flickr.

I am part of the AMPt_Community (checkout which has really stretched me as an artist.

They have great leadership and engaging community of mobile photographers and artists.

Why do you take pictures?

I enjoy telling stories. I want my images to tell a story.

What is your style? 

I’m not sure what you name my style. When I look at my gallery on Instagram or Flick I don’t take a lot of landscapes or portraits.

I like to shoot what I like, which happens to be old cars and people and things on the beach.I like shooting at close range at various angles.

How long do you wait to edit a picture after first taking it AND how long do you wait from when you first take a picture and when you post it.

I normally shoot in Hipstamatic, and if I like the shot and have the time, I will post the shot within minutes.

The shots that need editing usually won’t get edited until the evening and may not be posted for days.

What is the future for mobile photography?

Mobile photography is not a fad but will continue to be used as a “serious” tool for artists, professionals, and enthusiasts in various sectors of life: tv, film, print, education, medicine, design, news, etc.

Mobile photography in the classroom, any thoughts and/or suggestions?

I think it’s wide open. Field trips, Projects, Reports, etc. regardless of subject matter.

The ability to share wirelessly from a mobile device to a screen or projector is a game changer in education.

Thanks again Joe! Hope to see you in Seal Beach sometime soon! 🙂

Next up is @fodograff