Once upon a time, I used to spend hours and hours inside of a dark room. If I think about it long enough, I begin to smell the chemicals on my hands, in my clothes. Photography was a passion in what seemed like a long lost life of mine.
At first, I began using it more as a social platform, not really for photography. I didn’t think it was for real photography. It seemed as if Instagram was more about the pre-teen selfie, or the monthly themes that included, well, different color selfies. “Here is me in pink!” “Here is me in red!” Course, I never participated in those. You see, I’m not a pre-teen or anywhere close to that quite frankly. In fact, my daughter was a little embarrassed when I first joined Instagram thinking that’s what I was about to do. I never did like myself on camera though, so her fear was definitely unfounded.
It just seemed Instagram wasn’t for me. I checked the “popular page” day after day, and other than a few very nice photos, it was mostly made up of, well, selfies. I just didn’t get it… that is of course, until I did.
This takes me to the day I first found an account run by some guy I never met across the country, Josh Johnson (@joshjohnson). It was about a year ago in fact. There was something different going on here. He had a HUGE amount of followers, which a lot of accounts (including many “selfie” ones) had, but it wasn’t all his own photos, and for the most part, not duck lips, unless they were actual ducks. It was indeed beautiful photography… but many different wonderful photographers. Some amateur, some not. Some beginners, some not. Some with thousands of followers, some with a couple hundred. Wow I thought… so this Instagram thing may just be for me! This was a community of people. People who admired one another’s work, admired one another’s spirit, became friends across countries and oceans through this passion I once had.
This community re-ignited it all for me. The smells of those chemicals on my hands came back. The thrill of the Enlarger was back once again in the front of my brain. Course, it’s different now. I don’t have a fancy camera. I don’t live in a dark room (or have access to one for that matter.) I have a phone. I have, now, editing apps on my phone that I find myself playing with hours on end. I’m seeing this world again like I used to, in different angels, in different light, in all it’s simplicity and intricacy, the moods, the beauty. I woke up. I remembered the thrill again. The passion had returned. I made a lot of new friends that share this same passion. All online. All on Instagram. Who knew? All this because of one single creative community of people, run by what turned out to be one pretty cool guy with some pretty cool team members including the wonderful Kevin Kuster, former Playboy Senior Photo Editor! (@kevinkuster) #jj was about to become a household word, at least in this house.
I tell you this story because I know there are so many of us out there that just haven’t found the outlet yet, and I want you to come join me! I want you to come check out @JoshJohnson on Instagram and join in the community. I tell you this now because at this moment, the @JoshJohnson has a contest going on that could win you, with your photo taken with that brand new state of art camera, or your little phone, a trip to Costa Rica to hang in a gorgeous place taking photos with people like you. I tell you this because if you have ever had this passion, you will not regret reigniting that flame.
To learn more about Josh Johnson, this community and the current contest, there is a wonderful interview with Josh Johnson and his comrade Kevin Kuster on The Trip Tribe Blog worth reading. Not only do you get a glimpse behind the man and his team that run this wonderful community, but it also explains how to participate and become a part of it all. (Including the trip contest of course.) Click the link above to read all about it!
Once you’re done, I expect to see you Instagram! Be sure to follow me and say hi! @TheKdd