Follow Friday: Instagramers Boston
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One of the most fascinating runaway hits in social media in recent years has been the emergence of Instagram culture, where not only are talented photographers racking up fan bases well into the thousands—they’re not even celebrities!—but also, where huge online communities have formed around the photo-sharing app, which to this day maintains a highly minimalist design.
For audiences searching for a daily dose of stunning pictures of Boston, look no further than @IGersBoston, founded by Javier Mejia in 2012. Ahead, Mejia shares how @IGersBoston got started, what they look for when selecting “Pictures of the Day,” and who else we should all be following on Instagram.
Oh, and don’t worry, if you’re not on Instagram, @IGersBoston photos are also shared on Twitter and Facebook.
How did @IGersBoston get started? Who else is on the team?
When I first started on Instagram just over three years ago, I discovered a few accounts that were city- or region-specific and focused on featuring great content from photographers in those areas. These accounts had a sense of community, and I was immediately attracted to this concept. To my surprise, when I searched for a similar Boston-based Instagram community feed, I found that none existed at the time, so I decided to fix that, and a couple months later on April 1, 2012, @IGersBoston was born. For the next year, I managed the account on my own. As the followers and community grew, I decided it was time to bring new perspectives into the feed, so I invited a couple of very active, passionate Instagramers to join the team and help with the daily selections. Since then, we’ve had five moderators who served for different periods of time. Currently, the team is [led] by Kiana Gibson, who is our longest-serving moderator, and myself, Javier Mejia.
You and your team pick “Pictures of the Day.” What catches your eye when selecting?
The primary goal when selecting an image for Picture of the Day is to highlight the beauty of our city. I think I speak for both Kiana and I when I say that after having reviewed tens of thousands of images hashtagged to #IGersBoston over time, our eyes are now very efficient in spotting potential winners among so many daily submissions. But in addition to finding a great picture, we take into consideration other factors, such as the location of the picture, as we don’t want to be too repetitive. Same goes for the author, as we want to feature and bring the spotlight to as many talented photographers as possible and not just the same ones all the time. So it is a delicate balance that, when considering the relatively small size of our city, can be challenging at times.
What types of Instagrams could you do without?
Relating to @IGersBoston, I would say that “selfies” are at the top of my list. I find it very amusing that on a daily basis I get Instagram direct messages on both my personal and @IGersBoston accounts that include selfies from people that want me to feature them. Respectfully, my message to those people would be that as spectacular as their selfies posing in front of bathroom or closet mirrors—or Boston landmarks in some cases—might be, getting it featured is simply not going to happen…ever.
Do you have a favorite filter?
I personally don’t use the filters available in the Instagram application. For the most part, I believe that the vast majority of the images submitted for @IGersBoston Picture of the Day are edited outside of Instagram, in applications such as VSCO Cam or Snapseed on mobile devices, and for those using a DSLR, Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture.
Is there one Boston site that is consistently Instagramed the most?
I think the top title is shared among three sites: Public Garden, Boston skyline from across the Charles River, and Boston Harbor or Harborwalk.
Let’s play a quick game of “To Instagram or not to Instagram?” Yes or no:
From an @IGersBoston perspective—from a personal perspective I would be less restrictive:
Coffee foam leaves?
Manspreading on the T?
Describe @IGersBoston in three words.
Community. Photography. Passion.
Over the past year, what would you consider @IGersBoston greatest achievements?
Over the past year, @IGersBoston established collaborations with the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, ICA Boston, Boston Duck Tours, Peabody Essex Museum, Nokia, and many others to bring our community the opportunity to receive complementary admission, free tours, and/or perks during InstaMeets, and also give back by volunteering our time for a good cause such as with the Greater Boston Food Bank #VolunteerMeet last month. We also surpassed 23,000 followers, becoming the largest, most active and influential Instagram community in the Northeast region and among the largest in the country. All these success stories are community driven and that’s really the inspiration behind @IGersBoston—a passion for photography and love for the community. In all three years since launch, all benefits generated through collaborations have been passed directly from institutions to community members. It’s all for the community.
What is the weirdest Instagram you’ve seen of Boston?
There’s definitely a lot of weird content published out there. However, most of what I’ve come across is related to people or things and not with Boston itself.
Can you list your top five all-time favorites shared on @IGersBoston?
1. My top favorite is this breathtaking image from @greg_dubois.
2. This fantastic shot of the Zakim Bridge by @bradromano.
3. This image by @bretclancy posted on the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.
4. This shot taken by @bostonu from the roof of BU’s School of Law is amazing!
5. This fall shot taken in the South End by @bossrundy.
Aside from @IGersBoston, who else should Boston magazine readers follow on Instagram?
There are so many talented Instagramers out there that it would be really hard to not recommend them all. I would say that one of the best ways to discover great accounts is by following @IGersBoston—we feature great talent on a daily basis! Personally, I would highly recommend my top three favorites: Brad Romano, Ashley McKinney , and Greg Dubois.