September 28, 2021

durangobagel

art requires creative

Five local photographers talk about perfect pics, social media and their Instagram-worthy shots | Arts & Culture | Spokane | The Pacific Northwest Inlander

8 min read

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become one of the giants of social media. It’s grown past square photos with the same recycled, preset filters appearing over and over on your timeline. While a lot has changed on the platform in 11 years, it’s still the digital home for visuals of people’s favorite meals, pets, home decor, vacations and selfies.

I’m just a casual user of the popular phone app (a measly 40 posts appear on my “grid”), but I’ve always been interested in viewing artists, photographers and designers who use Instagram frequently to share their work. I hold the belief that social media’s convenient way of posting content has stemmed a new wave of photography enthusiasts. From casual to professional photographers, I think it’s fair to credit Instagram for introducing, or at least propelling the interest in the art form to an entire generation.

For this issue, we wanted to find a handful of the creators who use Instagram to fuel their passion for photography. The simple idea was to highlight local creatives whose skills are mostly adapted to fit the specific appeal of Instagram. Through reaching out to friends and influencers, we discovered five photographers in the area who frequently use the app and have garnered quite the following. They use the site as their main platform for promoting their work, and for most of them, photography is just a side gig or hobby. We asked each of them the same seven questions ranging from their introduction to photography to creative influences to their dream shoots. Their answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

DEREK HARRISON,
Inlander Art Director

What was your introduction to photography?
I can’t recall what exactly drew me to photography. Perhaps it was being immersed in nature — wanting to capture its glory. I remember I was 11 or so and my family took us on a trip in Northern California. My great grandma had rented us a cabin tucked in the woods. In front of the cabin was a small lake, big enough for just us. I pulled out my purple Nokia phone and captured the cabin. Till this day, I remember the joy I had when I took that picture.

What is your “day job?”
I currently work at Roast House Coffee and First Avenue Coffee as a creative director. This involves many things including social media management, photography, videography, copyediting, copywriting, website design, marketing, graphic design, and conceptualizing, creating and editing our podcast. I drink way too much coffee, force my co-workers to be models and take lots of goofy pictures and videos.

What are the advantages of using Instagram to share your work? Disadvantages?
When I first started featuring my work on Instagram back in 2013, it was a wonderful platform to share and engage with many photographers. As algorithms changed, it became difficult to navigate what hashtags to post and what times were best. However, Instagram is still widely used by businesses and freelance photographers and I’ve been lucky to get a few inquiries about photography gigs. I never have enough energy to invest in my freelancing work to truly gain exposure/business, so I primarily use Instagram to post abstract photos.

What are your creative influences?
This is always a difficult question to answer since my work stretches to different mediums. Though I tend to enjoy pictures from Realism Magazine, Organic Magazine, Somewhere Magazine and Magnifico Magazine.

What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
I tend to shoot the human body in nature, in all its tenderness. I love capturing the delicate body with the stillness of nature.

If you could photograph anything or anyone in the world, what/who would it be?
I’d love to spend more time in the mountains of Austria and Switzerland and capture all its beauty.

What was your introduction to photography?
There was a lunar eclipse and my dad wanted me to take some pictures of it for him. I ended up holding onto the camera for a bit and realizing I was pretty good.

What is your “day job?”
I do detailing for Hagadone Marine, which I enjoy, being around boats on and off the clock.

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What are the advantages of using Instagram to share your work? Disadvantages?
It’s good for reaching a younger crowd needing high school and college photos — and even weddings here and there. A disadvantage would be not having an older crowd to mix in.

What are your creative influences?
Music is a huge influence to my art — especially when it comes to making videos, which I do just for fun.

What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
Portraits, mostly. But nighttime shoots with lights and weddings are also probably my favorite.

If you could photograph anything or anyone in the world, what/who would it be?
It would have to be the stars. I’m obsessed with being able to see what the naked eye cannot.

What was your introduction to photography?
I studied film in school, so at first, I wanted to get into filmmaking. But after graduating and moving back to my hometown in Hermiston, Ore., I picked up photography because, honestly, it was just easier. Going out and shooting photos is a lot more doable on your own compared to video and film production.

What is your “day job?”
I’m a sales associate at Office Depot, and a freelance journalist.

What are the advantages of using Instagram to share your work? Disadvantages?
Instagram is a really easy way to get your photos out there into the world and to start promoting your work. At the same time, it’s difficult to gain any kind of attention from anyone too far outside of your social circle. Also, the crop. I can’t stand the crop.

What are your creative influences?
I get a lot of inspiration for the photos I take from movies and music. Movies like Call Me By Your Name, Chungking Express and Burning have inspired me a lot. Same with Frank Ocean, Lorde and Tyler, the Creator.

What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
I shoot portraits most often, but I also like shooting flowers, old cars, city scenery, run-down churches, neon signs and cats. Just to name a few.

If you could photograph anything or anyone in the world, what/who would it be?
I would love to be able to shoot concerts on a consistent basis. As far as people go, I’d probably say Willem Dafoe. He has a great face. Or Billie Joe Armstrong, because, not to brag, but I’ve spent over half of my life being the world’s biggest Green Day fan. I’d also like to live on the coast one day and photograph the ocean.

What was your introduction to photography?
My first introduction to photography was in a high school yearbook class. Oddly enough, I never particularly felt the desire to take photos until I joined the class! I wanted to be more of a graphic editor than anything, but as I was learning all aspects of creating a yearbook, I found that I really enjoyed capturing pieces of art in a moment of time.

What is your “day job?”
Photography has become my “day job.” I work full-time with my own schedule and my own rules. I had a “day job” as a sales associate at a tuxedo shop in Coeur d’Alene, but got laid off due to COVID in 2020. Although I really enjoyed that job, this was a blessing in disguise as it forced me to work harder at my hobby — now making the same money as my “day job.” Going full force was the push I needed to pursue my dreams.

What are the advantages of using Instagram to share your work? Disadvantages?
The main advantage of using Instagram and Facebook as a way to share my work is finding my clique and clientele. Instagram’s algorithm has helped me make friends that are models and photographers. By working with these people I have found my clientele and other hobbies along with it. Through my passion of making connections with people, I have even started a community project called CoeursCollective. Coeur d’Alene’s creative people such as photographers, singers, models, filmmakers, physical artists, graphic designers, small businesses and more are in a group chat together to network. I promote these people on the CoeursCollective Instagram, CoeursCollective.com, as well as the group of people within a Discord chat that reshare others’ work through Instagram.

What are your creative influences?
My creative influences are definitely the people around me. Coeur d’Alene has so many creative photographers to work with. I always feel motivated to try something new with like-minded people. As a portrait photographer, I love capturing the people I work with as the way I see them — everyone is very unique through my lens.

What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
My favorite things to shoot are super odd editorial portraits. As I always say, some of the weirdest poses can make for the coolest compositions.

If you could photograph anything or anyone in the world, what/who would it be?
They would be my best friends. Some of my favorite photos are with my best friends! They are always their true selves around me, so the portrait process is always smooth and fun! Eventually, I would love to photograph some friends for some super unique brands, just like Vogue and Gucci!

What was your introduction to photography?
I wanted to be a photographer starting around age 10, simply because I thought it was fun. Eventually I started to lose interest and changed my career path at the end of high school to graphic design. I only got back into shooting when I started the film program at EWU and met my boyfriend Brett [Kane, also featured in this story], who has taught me a lot about photography and how to work with models.

What is your “day job?”
I work remotely doing production design and formatting work on curriculums, and I recently finished animating a music video for my friend Carl Christensen.

What are the advantages of using Instagram to share your work? Disadvantages?
In my opinion, there are more cons to sharing art on Instagram than there are pros. It’s hard for photos to get very far without comments, shares, and saves, and while I don’t rely on photography for an income, the ever-changing algorithm on Instagram can be frustrating and heavily discouraging. However, I am thankful that Instagram has allowed me to find other creatives, build friendships, and continuously find opportunities for shoots that I may not know about otherwise.

What are your creative influences?
Most of my inspiration comes from my favorite films, especially if they’re quirky, deadpan, and feature a lot of pastels. The Royal Tenenbaums, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Phantom Thread are some of those. I also love to find inspiration in vintage fashion and magazines.

What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
Most of my experience is in portraits and behind the scenes on film sets, and while I absolutely love those kinds of shoots, I would love to be working concerts and fashion shows — including local musicians and pop-ups!

If you could photograph anything or anyone in the world, what/who would it be?
I would probably pass out if I ever had enough credit to shoot a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. I feel like this needs no explanation. I love them. I love photography, but I’m hoping to find a career in visual development for animated films and TV shows!

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