Instagram has ushered in a fresh era of on-the-go social snappers and this is one pixel party that everyone cracks the invite to, from Barack Obama to the Biebster himself. Even your uncle who just woke up to the smartphone revolution and clutters your feed with selfies wearing his orange-lensed cycling sunglasses that he bought back in 2003 has his own little corner of instaspace. Democracy at its best: mooi.
While Biebs and your uncle are cool and all (well, I suppose that’s a little debatable on both counts), at 250gram we’re somewhat more obsessed with the young breed of mobile photographers who take jaw-dropping images that inspire thousands (and sometimes even hundreds of thousands) of other creative-minded folk. We’re devilishly curious to get into the minds of our favourite instagrammers, which is why we’re launching our Famestagrammers series today. Every week we’re going to ask an awesome instagrammer a bunch of questions (some of them our own, but most of them straight from the tried and tested Proust Questionnaire that’s been doing its rounds since the 19th century, and to this day continues to probe the dark recesses of celeb psyches on the back page of Vanity Fair).
Our first famestagrammer is none other than Gareth Pon (@GarethPon on Instagram): filmmaker, iPhoneographer, wannabe astronaut and founder of Instagramers South Africa. We caught up with Gareth over some caffeine and lunch at Superette in Woodstock, Cape Town:
1. When did you start instagramming?
Originally about 2,5 years ago, seriously about 2 years ago.
2. What are your favourite apps?
Snapseed, VSCO Cam, Filterstorm, Art Studio, Luminance.
3. What photography/editing hints and tips do you have for our community?
A few pointers below (I could write an essay about this, ha!):
– Think before you shoot. We are spoilt as photographers nowadays. With digital being a reality we shoot first and think later. Before you snap away, consider a different angle or composition and keep doing this until it becomes second nature. Pretend that every shot costs you something, because that’s how people became great photographers in the past. Every single shot cost them a little every time they took a photo.
– Tell a story. It’s easy taking a photo of a pretty sunset, the beach, table mountain or cloudy skies, but it’s a bit of a challenge taking a shot that tells a story and grips your heart emotionally. Don’t stop taking shots of all the pre-mentioned things, but maybe see what story you can tell while you’re shooting the sunset 😉
– Find a unique expression, no one wants to follow a copycat. I’ve been following a lot of journalists lately and it’s refreshing that each have a unique story to tell. The moment you post photos purely for likes and comments, is the moment your account is no longer yours.
– Understand the elements of an image, apps like Snapseed allow you to make adjustments to certain elements of the images. The more you understand what these elements do and how they work, the better control you have over your image and the easier it becomes to know if a shot can be edited or not while you’re shooting.
4. Who are you favourite people to follow on Instagram?
To name a few locally: @unclescrooch, @roywrench, @levonlock, @d_oyal, @timvanrooyen, @miklasmanneke, @btherad, @alexioso, @ciden, @thobanj, @daveast there are really too many to list all of them, check who I follow for more
To name a few internationally: @quietpoem, @kitkat_ch, @mariafranciska, @sfennema, @p_d_y, @waddy722, @thomas_k, @zoodkov, @thatsval, @laurmarii I also did a recent #garethpon1000series where I highlighted some great igers who’ve inspired me.
5. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Traveling the world, meeting new people daily and telling their stories.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Sushi, ice cream, frozen yoghurt and camera equipment.
7. Which talent (super power) would you most like to have?
The ability to instantly make an idea a reality.
8. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To go to space one day, I know it will happen.
9. What is your most treasured possession?
My collection of slinkies. They’re surprisingly hard to come by!
10. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
11. When and where are you happiest?
When I’m behind a camera, seeing the world through another dimension.
5 of Gareth’s favourite Instagrams:
Top photo credit: photo & edit by @unclescrooch