I might push the importance of Instagram each week, but it's for good reason. It has seriously changed my life by introducing me to a hobby and career in photography and I know I am not alone. Thanks to a few talented photographers and Instagrammers including Eric Ward, Craig Hensel, and Ricky Staub, along with the Instagram community, set out on an eight day journey across the country to meet and collaborate with individuals they had met entirely on the social platform. Check out the incredible story here in this short documentary film!
I can't stress enough the importance Instagram and social media has played in my career as a photographer, but these guys have done something pretty special with the chances they have been given. Setting out on an eight day adventure across the country together, having not even met in real life to represent true community they brought back stories anyone could relate to. Check out the write-up below from the guys on how this journey began, and how it culminated in a fantastic short documentary film above.
"The creation of this film was completely organic. I met Eric on Instagram a couple years ago. New to the platform, I randomly came across his profile. At first I didn't understand how the platform really worked - I'd merely taken it on because I thought it'd be good for the company. We had a commercial shoot in this beautiful part of Virginia, so I invited Eric to come on as a BTS photographer. We'd never had anyone document our company shooting and figured he could do that and then post about us and help jump start my feed.
Much later after this we stayed in touch and continued to work together. I was passing through his hometown and he invited me to stay at his house with his family. It felt weird at first because he was my "Instagram" friend but I figured what the heck. I had a great time with Eric and his family, and it was amazing to me that this little app of pictures had actually turned into a real friendship. Eric began to share about some of the other amazing friends he had on Instagram.
I was headed to Chicago, so Eric encouraged me to reach out to anyone there that I followed. To meet up and shoot. I told him I loved Craig's work so I sent Craig a note on one of his pictures. About fifteen minutes later Craig responded that he'd love to meet up and shoot. We grabbed dinner and beers and shot around Chicago for hours. We had a really deep conversation about life and faith and everything you can imagine. Again, I was just floored by how real these friends felt.
From there the three of us started tossing around the idea of visiting others we'd never met in real life. So we put together this trip - I figured a kick ass road trip documentary would make for good marketing, and could justify spending some money from the company to make it happen. From there we just began to plan where we wanted to go and who we wanted to meet... and hoped they'd give us a bed!
What I never anticipated was how this adventure would become one filled with people sharing their heart and struggle through addiction, homelessness, or depression. A trip filled with stories on how people’s Instagram communities were becoming agents of true healing and hope for people. This film certainly represents the adventure of Instagram but more so I feel it represents the broader spirit of this new community that we all love uniquely and the same."