MEET THE DEVELOPER
Overcoming a distorted world
One man’s passionate pursuit of the perfect photo.
Photo & Video
Every photo could benefit from a little app help. Take Skrwt for example. It’s been specially designed to correct the skew and distortion that is particularly obvious in photos of buildings, and helps you to elevate the quality of your Camera Roll to what you hoped for when you got snap happy.
This nifty perspective and lens correction app was created by someone who pursues the possibilities of “photographic expression” from photography to editing.
“Do you remember the excitement you felt when you created something from nothing for the first time? That feeling of pride in what you created? In my life, I’ve always had a passion to create,” Skrwt’s creator Mathäus Jagielski tells us.
The German photographer, based in Gogh near the Dutch border, started skateboarding when he was 12 years old and before long, he was taking pictures and videos of his adventures.
“Skateboarding has had a massive influence on me; it’s like a street performance where you use your environment to express your creativity with your body and a board. I showcased this through photos and videos by taking the time to frame and edit them. This experience naturally led me to the idea for Skrwt: to help other creators to express themselves,” Jagielski tells us.
“When I started using an iPhone 4, I was amazed by the potential of such a small device. l could take a photo, edit it and then share it, all with a single device. I acquired an environment where I could always challenge my creativity,” he explains.
At that time, he was noticing the presence of distortion when he photographed buildings.
“Say, for example, you take a picture of a tall building looking up from the ground. In the photo, the building would be shaped like a trapezoid and taper at the top. I didn’t like that. So I thought, how can I edit it to look the way I want? I was keen to create an environment where it could be done. The answer was Skrwt,” says Jagielski.
Jagielski came up with the app’s name in five minutes and it’s an ode to his passion for photo editing.
“When you create something, you use screws and bolts to assemble it. You tighten and loosen them. That is the process you go through to change something. Also, everybody has screwed up something they’ve had to fix afterwards and sometimes your mentality is ’Screw it! Never mind, I’ll do this later’. To add a modern twist to this, I changed the C in ‘screw’ to a K and removed the vowels. I was left with the name Skrwt.”
Skrwt had to allow users to correct distortion in a way never experienced before on a mobile device. Jagielski felt that the app must honour his own ideals.
“My ideal outcome after correcting distortion is that afterwards, you don’t realise an image has been edited. It was a huge challenge to achieve that level of editing on a mobile device. Colour and sharpness can be edited so that it looks natural and not overdone, but this is not always true when fixing distortion. One reason is that the small screen emphasises the focus on skewed lines.”
Do you remember the excitement you felt when you created something from nothing for the first time? That feeling of pride in what you created?
Before releasing the app, Jagielski met with photographers to get their feedback.
“After releasing Skrwt, I was happy to see that this method of ‘distortion correction’, which was unparalleled in traditional photo-editing processes on mobile devices, was naturally accepted. I was also surprised that a community of people who love architectural and spatial photography with symmetrical composition was formed.”
“Technology is constantly evolving, things are getting smaller, more portable and I feel like it’s time to start moving again and work on updates and apps I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The current phase is to consider concepts for achieving the precise level of distortion correction that I want. I try to think about the future of the app from the perspective of users’ experience and from a design point of view,” says Jagielski while discussing the app’s future.
By creating an app that made it possible to edit photos the way he wanted, not only did Jagielski expand the possibilities and enjoyment of editing, but a whole community of Skrwt users has been generated. How will this app, which took four years of work from concept to release, and that Jagielski produced virtually on his own, evolve? While we wait to find out, immerse yourself in the wonders of creating something from nothing.