ISO 400: Thomas Hurst Talks About Being an Inventor

A grandfather and his granddaughter share smiles inside a high-school gym turned refugee center on the Albania boarder with Kosovo. ©Thomas James Hurst - 1999

A grandfather and his granddaughter share smiles inside a high-school gym turned refugee center on the Albania boarder with Kosovo. ©Thomas James Hurst – 1999 (World Press Photo – 2ooo)

All images are copyrighted Thomas James Hurst, and are being used with permission.

In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from Thomas Hurst a 20-year photojournalist turned inventor. Spurred by an interest to see what war was like, he grabbed a camera, invented press credentials and flew to Bosnia in 1992. From there, he went on to work in some of the biggest conflict zones of the 1990s and 2000s. After nearly 20 years, he left photojournalism to become a pastor, which he eventually left to focus on COVR Photo, an iPhone case with a built-in prism that he invented.

In this episode, he talks about the early years of his photojournalism, what it’s like to learn the craft on the job, becoming an inventor, and more. A selection of his work, as well as the episode is after the break. If you’d like to see more of Hurst’s work, check out his website. If you’re curious about the COVR photo, check out our review, and he currently has a Kickstarter for the iPhone 6 version.

As always, our music is provided by Yuki Futami, a New York-based jazz musician.

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The COVR Photo Case is Coming to the iPhone 6

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Several months ago, I got an email from Thomas Hurst about an iPhone case that he had invented for the iPhone 5. Its selling point was the prism lens that essentially makes it possible to take a photo while holding the phone like you do when you’re texting. Gone are the days of putting your phone between your face and the photograph, and it proved to be so useful that I gave it our Editor’s Choice award.

It may have seemed strange to some that there wasn’t a 6/6+ version, but Hurst and his team began working on this before the 6/6+ existed. Now, there’s an iPhone 6 version in the works, and there’s a Kickstarter to help bring it to fruition. There’s a key difference between the 5 and the 6 version. The one of the iPhone 6 comes in two parts: a shock-absorbent rubber core and a hard outer shell with the prism lens. The original COVR Photo was a unibody hard shell that proved a little difficult to take off, but this new design remedies that.

There’s an app, too, to help you take pictures because the prism design renders the image upside down in the dedicated camera. Essentially, the app flips the image right side up. The prism also slides back, so that you can use the regular lens as well. There is a bevy of rewards in this kickstarter, including signed prints from Hurst’s 20-year career as a photojournalist.

If you’ve been looking for a new way to take photos with your iPhone 6, check out the Kickstarter. Alternatively, you can order one for your iPhone 5/5S here.

The Phoblographer’s Top 10 Mobile Photography Apps

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You might get an eye roll in some circles if you say you shoot with your phone. Some might say that phones aren’t real cameras, but the truth is that phones are incredibly capable cameras that can sometimes succeed where bigger rigs might fail. Thankfully, there are a bevy of mobile apps to streamline the process from shooting to editing. Here are our picks for best mobile apps.

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Review: COVR Photo

julius motal the phoblographer covr photo product image-2

Here at The Phoblographer, we get plenty of emails from folks with ideas for ways to trick out your phone in order to help it take better photographs. These ideas almost always come with a Kickstarter link attached. Yet, most are variations on things that already exist. What you see above is the first item that made us take a step back and say, “There’s something there.” The case resting on top of my iPhone 5 is called the COVR Photo, the brainchild of Thomas Hurst, a Seattle-based photojournalist with a wealth of experience. The COVR Photo is a case designed for the iPhone 5/5S, with a 6/6+ one in the works, that has a prism lens for making iPhone photography a little more candid. Essentially, you can hold the phone like you do when you text, but you can make a photograph of whatever’s in front of you.

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