There’s no question that Instagram has gone beyond selfies and pet pictures and become an important part of the larger artistic conversation. Photographers, not surprisingly, have found lots of ways to play on this platform – showing work from ongoing projects, introducing personal pictures, note-taking and experimenting. There are many outstanding photographers on Instagram, and in this new column, Andy Adams, who directs @FlakPhoto Projects, will recommend a few of them.
Yannis Davy Guibinga
The great promise of Instagram is the possibility of discovering something new – a new photographer, a new way of seeing, a new way of thinking about the world. That ethos drives Yannis Davy Guibinga’s work. He’s a young image-maker with a big mission: to create a new narrative about African identity in the 21st century. Born in Gabon, Guibinga cites giants like Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta as inspirations. His goal is to explore the diversity of identities on the African continent and its diaspora, and his feed has thousands of followers witnessing a new generation of fashionable young Africans boldly reinventing themselves.
Niki Boon’s IG bio sums up her work succinctly: “Photographer, mother of four wild and free children living in New Zealand.” She’s a former physiotherapist and self-taught photographer raising a young family in a rural place. Boon grew up on a farm, communing with nature and barefoot most of the time. Her photographs draw from these childhood memories and show us the way they transformed her into a parent with a deep connection to the land. These black-and-white images recall Sally Mann’s family pictures – they depict the lives of her children as well as the free-range way she raises them.
“Instagram is a mobile sketchbook that I always have with me, a collection of my visual notes, inspirations, and experiments.” This is how many Instagrammers use the platform – as a space to talk about and show how they do photography. Worsham’s images are intensely personal. Her series Bittersweet on Bostwick Lane deals with her brother’s suicide, her mother’s passing, and her relationship with Margaret Daniel, an elderly neighbor. Her work will be featured in two shows this fall: New Southern Photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, S.C.
Julia Gillard captures the quotidian details of the world around her – whether it’s on a street corner or at a family BBQ, a state fair or a political rally, her goal is to reveal our collective social and emotional identities. Gillard is a New York street photographer with a Midwesterner’s eye for observing open spaces, and her long-term project, American Holidays, considers our culture through the lens of ritual public celebrations. What’s refreshing about her feed is how fluidly she blends her series work with everyday insights. Look for her in Tim Huynh’s film about NYC street photographers later this year.