Early this week, an international team of photographers launched the Everyday Everywhere visual storytelling platform, documenting daily life around the world. Featuring almost exclusively mobile phone photography, the project uses social media to disseminate their work and engage with the global community. We caught up with a few “everyday” members, all working photographers, to find out how mobile phone cameras and social media has changed their photographic practice:
Allison Shelley/ @allisonshelley:
All photographers sometimes get stuck in ruts with their work, so Instagram offered a refreshing change to my practice.
I started using it back in 2011 while on an NGO assignment in Mongolia. In this incredibly spectacular place, I got increasingly frustrated because I couldn’t find a way to capture it the way I was experiencing it. I started using the camera on my phone just to try a new tool to experiment with and found the experience very liberating! It also gave me an excuse to shoot pictures that didn’t fit into the story, but were important for me. I came back with images that really represented what Mongolia felt like, which I was then able to translate into my professional work.
I also spend a lot of time looking at other people’s work and find the uncurated feed that comes straight from the photographer’s mind very exciting! The “now” aspect of Instagram is very important, as this immediacy keeps people more connected: “I’m here right now, this is what’s happening and this is how I experience it”.
Danielle Villasana/ @davillasana
Initially, I used Instagram to document my day-to-day life, but quickly realised its potential for becoming another tool for documentary storytelling. This discovery affected both my creative vision and the way I connect with the photographic community.
Swapping professional equipment for a mobile phone camera and shooting for fun, rather than big assignments definitely takes away the pressure and encourages me to push boundaries and experiment more.
I also love the social aspect of platforms like Instagram because it allows me to connect with other photographers on a day-to-day basis. I find the concept of the “stream” very important, since it creates an ongoing visual diary that allows to put things in perspective and reminds us that beautiful images and spectacular successes don’t come over night. They take time and come step by step, most of which you can trace back on instagram.
Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist / @iantom
Instagram made mobile phone photography more legitimate. I had a camera for a long time, but had no reason to use it until Instagram came along and provided a platform to share what I’m seeing. Now I often find myself taking pictures with my phone before I even think of pulling out a DSLR. Sharing them instantly allows me to stay connected with my friends and family, while living and working abroad. Moreover, small details and casual snapshots that will never make it into the final edit of a story now appear on my Instagram feed instead. They put my photojournalistic work into the context of a daily life and build a background in front of which the humanitarian issues I’m documenting will unfold.
Tinne van Loon/ : @tinnevl
Instagram was the first platform that allowed me to be continuously inspired by other photographers. I love that it’s very informal, immediate and direct – it shows how a photographer works and thinks.
Nana Kofi Acquah/ @africashowboy
I love that Instagram is casual and isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. It lessens the burden of having to be professional – you don’t have to wait for the best light and stick to the “rule of thirds” – all the things pro photographers pride themselves on, often forgetting that the main reason they are taking the photo is because there is a story. Instagram takes you back to basics and makes you focus on what the story is and why you are even interested in documenting a particular moment. The kind of photography that appears on Instagram gives credibility to every second of every minute of every day in a person’s life, whereas traditional photojournalism only chooses to highlights the key moments.
In my opinion, when humanity decides to go back and look at the history 100 years from now, they will be more interested in what has been uploaded on Instagram than what has been preserved in the archives of major publications because it will be a more accurate documentation of human life as we experience it.