Could Instagram produce the next Ansel Adams?
Some Indianapolis residents certainly seem to think so.
Indianapolis group Igers Indy, short for Instagrammers Indy, is hosting an opening night reception for their first gallery show at Primary Colours in Fountain Square this Friday from 6-10 p.m.
The exhibit, Circle City Squared, will be on display at the Primary Colours gallery at 1043 Virginia Ave.,Studio 217 throughout October, and will consist entirely of photos submitted by Indianapolis-area Instagrammers. Igers Indy co-founder Troy Carpenter said the gallery will showcase the work of more than 50 photographers and will include a total of 81 images.
Igers Indy began soliciting photos for Circle City Squared on Instagram at the beginning of the summer from Indianapolis-area Instagrammers who tagged their photos with one of seven hashtags. Igers Indy then narrowed the photos down to a group of finalists for each hashtag before sending them on to the Primary Colours board to make the final decisions.
Igers Indy has been capturing Indianapolis-area scenes for more than two years. Carpenter (@redblueox) said it all started in 2013 when the five Igers Indy co-founders (Carpenter, Andy Cassler (@mightytomany), Andrew Griswold (@the_gris), Joe Magers (@joemagers), and Shannon Joyce (@smjoyceindy) met on Instagram and then began getting together for monthly InstaMeets at locations around Indianapolis.
Carpenter said InstaMeets are “really just a bunch of people who are into taking pictures, exploring around and hanging out.” He said the gatherings can draw anywhere from 30 to 40 people and take place in a variety of locations, from the canal to downtown to last week’s meet-up at Anderson Apple Orchard.
As spectacular as the Igers Indy shots look, it might be surprising to know that the majority of the photos on the account were taken with phone cameras. One Instagrammer showcasing work in “Circle City Squared,” Indy blogger Anna Shirley (@ohhbetsy), said she took her exhibit photos with a Galaxy III phone.
“Occasionally, I’ll have a DSLR (digital camera) photo [on Instagram], but it’s very rare and usually in conjunction with a blog post,” she said.
Brandon Shirley (@brandons_lens), Anna Shirley’s husband and fellow Instagrammer whose work will appear in the gallery, said he primarily uses his phone camera to take photos. “I’m busy, so my schedule is unpredictable,” he said. “I need a camera on the go.”
Shirley said his favorite Instagram shot to date is one he took of “a tree with red autumn leaves shot through my car windshield during a downpour. The water blurred the vibrant colors, giving it sort of an Impressionist painting feel.”
“That’s why I shoot with my phone,” he said. “You never know when that shot will present itself.”
Both Anna and Brandon said they are inexperienced with photo editing software and use phone apps to edit their photos. Anna Shirley said she uses either the VSCO or Snapseed app because she “can’t use Photoshop.” Brandon Shirley also said he relies on phone apps because, “I’m a dummy when it comes to advanced editing software.”
Even if you can’t attend the show, you can still join the nearly 8,500 people following Instagrammers like Anna and Brandon Shirley on Instagram at @igersindy.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly inspired, you might even jump in and join them.