You probably finished scrolling through your Instagram feed just a few minutes ago. That's how big this photo-sharing app has become. Big enough that a worldwide group would promote the art of photography specifically through the Instagram platform.
That group is called the Instagramers Network; a community of over 350 local chapters across the globe. On December 11th, the group began a new initiative by launching the first-ever Instagramers Gallery in Miami's Wynwood District. One of the organization's founders, Phil Gonzalez, had a chance to speak on this new venture.
Q: What is the goal of the Instagramers Gallery in Miami?
Phil: Instagramers Gallery is the first gallery fully dedicated to Instagram and mobile photography in the world. The main idea is to create a space where we will feature talented artists, promote exhibition of mobile photography and host workshops and events. The Instagramers Gallery is only a part of the overall project, as our primary focus is InstagramersGallery.com.
We aim to a create the biggest mobile photography database all over the world and be a place were talented individuals can be discovered. In an effort to promote our grand opening, we have created an ambitious challenge, where each day we award $1,000 to the best photo worldwide. This challenge runs through the end of April 2014. In May, a jury of well-known industry experts will select a grand prize winner of $100,000. It´s the biggest award in mobile photography ever.
Q: Why did you choose Miami?
Phil: Me and Jorge Martinez, a renowned communication specialist in Spain, are friends for some years now. Jorge has been very successful with advertising campaigns in our country and was very interested by the open source movement of fans, called Instagramers; a hobbyist network i founded three years ago. One day, he proposed to create this new space to bring credibility and worldwide recognition to mobile photography.
Miami made sense for many reasons. It´s the natural bridge between Spain and the US. We have friends in Miami and many companies that back our project are located in Miami too. Most of all, we absolutely love the Wynwood area.
Q: Where do you rank Miami among other cities when it comes to the arts?
Phil: I would say in the Top 10 worldwide. Art Basel Miami is becoming a real reference and if you walk by its streets you understand it´s not a just a marketing gimmick. Wynwood breathes art every single day.
Q: What do you see as the most fascinating aspect of Instagram?
Phil: For me, Instagram has something special. Something addictive and challenging other apps don´t have. It started as a kind of "Twitter with photos" but quickly moved to a place where you can share your life, your feelings and can express it through a new form of social art. But you can also find friends, a girlfriend or even get married!
The app has something magical that can transform our lives. I met my girlfriend through Instagram, lots of my friends did. Others found jobs by using it to showcase their creative work. A friend of mine, who was jobless for quite some time, went to the extent of saying that Instagram gave a meaning to his life. Today he exhibits his work, participates in promotions with brands and of course competes in our daily online photo challenge.
Q: How do you see mobile photography growing and evolving moving forward?
Phil: There is no way back. We will use mobile photography more and more every single day. Just to express feelings, ideas or ask an opinion to a friend. I´m a lucky owner of Google Glass and think that it's the next big thing for Instagram. Instagram shots taken with Google Glass will be the next challenge for Instagram users. I am convinced. At InstagramersGallery.com we are already thinking about Glass as a great opportunity.