“Phoneography” seems to be gaining in popularity when it comes to magazine covers. After Billboard, Sports Illustrated and Elle, TIME Magazine also went down this road. But, they went a bit further than just issuing one cover shot with a smartphone. They hired a talented Brazilian photographer Luisa Dörr to shoot 46 portraits and 12 magazine covers with an iPhone, using nothing but natural light and a reflector. The portraits and covers are a part of TIME’s “Firsts” project, featuring 46 women who are changing the world.
TIME’s Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise, Kira Pollack, shares the story of how he got to choose Luisa for this project. Like many great things in life, it was a mere coincidence. She was browsing Instagram when she stumbled upon Luisa’s profile. She was instantly attracted to her work, and then saw the bio line that says: “100% iPhone made.” This got Kira even more intrigued, and she decided to contact the photographer.
Hillary Clinton, Aretha Franklin, Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres are only some of the inspiring ladies Luisa photographed. They were in front of the camera thousands of times, along with all the gear you can find on set. But this time, there was only a photographer with an iPhone, natural light, and sometimes a reflector. A simple approach that gave powerful portraits of these groundbreaking women.
As Luisa says in an interview, she used iPhone 5 for the first portrait session of Mary Barra. Later on, she switched to the iPhone 6, and then the 6S Plus. Since the project was long-lasting, the iPhone 7 was released. Therefore, she was able to photograph the last 36 subjects with the iPhone 7. She used a regular camera in the square format, and she started using automatic HDR because she only had the natural light to work with.
All the ladies in these portraits and on the covers were the first in something. I’d say Luisa belongs with them, as she’s the first woman who shot a portfolio and a set of magazine covers for TIME using only an iPhone. This is a great and empowering project, and I think Luisa was a great choice to do the job. If you’d like to see more of her work, make sure to visit her Instagram page.