The other side of Instagram

Let me introduce you to the other side of Instagram. A few months ago, I met an amazing bunch of people: the igerscapetown community. We connected over a common interest: Instagram. So here’s the deal:

There are two types of Instagram users:

  1. igers – People who take amazing photos, create amazing edits and showcase them on Instagram as an artist gallery. These are the members who form the “official” Instagramers communities across the globe.
  2. everyone else – people who Instagram their food. Or people who use Instagram to update their status (like on Facebook.)

When I joined the igerscapetown crew I was part of the latter. I posted fluff. I didn’t quite get the purpose of Instagram..until I met the guys on the other side of the lens. It was then when I quickly learnt that I had to delete my shameful meal pictures and downward fashion shots and get my act together if I wanted the igers to start taking me seriously. At the time of writing this post, I’ve been to only a couple of instameets (which is a meet-up organised by the manIger [the manager] of your city’s Instagram community, where igers [Instagramers] get together, talk photography and do jumpstagrams [a group shot featuring the igers in a jump] – did you get that?)

I still can’t quite describe to an outsider what exactly goes down in these meets, and what exactly makes this community so niche and creative. That’s not because I don’t think we’re special, because we are… very special. And not in the slow brain function kinda way. But I promised you guys I’d do a proper post on the other side of Instagram, so I’ll try my best.

These communities across the globe are about a group of ordinary people who are passionate about photography; who get  to meet-up at various locations around their cities and spend an hour or two taking photos, sharing tips, editing and uploading… and of course, doing group jumpstagrams.

A big part of what helped me to get rid of my fluff photos and build up a nice gallery was participating in IG challenges. Challenges on Instagram can become quite viral as most challenger accounts request that the igers tag their friends to participate in the challenges. My first challenge was by @charlesmlouw for the #5shotchallenge. I’m tempted to tell you to go to @5shotchallenge for rules if you’re keen but.. in a nutshell, you’re basically challenged to upload 5 shots in 5 days (or less) based on the theme that your challenger sets out for you. Charles chose “shadows” for me – a theme I really enjoyed. This is one of my shadow shots I submitted for the challenge. The tricky part about this challenge is that you cannot post any other photo in between your designated 5 shots. Bear in mind that it’s my first challenge shot, so it might not be my best shot:

i love NY

I started participating in challenges by myself without waiting to be tagged, by following accounts like @the_masters @sg_sf and @shotaward to name a few. And then I scored my first feature on the @sg_sf account: Scrooch and Gareth’s Sunday feature. Getting recognised by two igers [@unclescrooch and @garethpon] whose work I really absolutely admired was a big deal for me. Gareth (@garethpon) is the founder of the Instagramers South Africa community and even though he stays in Jozi, he is actively involved in all of the communities in South Africa. I scored a couple of other features after that, which you can check out here if you want:

Now, I am a little better at choosing which images get uploaded to Instagram and which stays on Facebook. I still find it hard to explain to other people what an iger is and what we do, but then the igersjozi crew made this awesome video about a recent meet. And it sums up everything we do – because a picture really does speak a thousand words. By now I’ve already met Gareth, and was privileged enough to have him doing jumpstagrams in my shots (that got featured as the CRAZY FOR SHOT by @Shotaward) and this video reminded me of why I admire his work – it inspires me. It makes me feel proud and grateful to be part of such an amazing community, and to have made such great friends in the igers.. the usual suspects and the random new faces, in both Cape Town and Jozi.

As a group, we also got featured on the global Instagramers account as part of their #worldwidephotowalk feature. They said “..Strong South African participation with @igerscapetown @igersJozi and @IgersPretoria teams..”

Later, we also got a feature on the official Instagram account, featuring our hashtag for the day #igcthashtag..