How Instagram Is Helping Photographer Communities Meet Up Offline

The mini documentary “From Followers To Friends” reveals Instagram’s real-world creative networking.

Social media networks have enabled the world’s population to connect and communicate in a way no one could have predicted. Direct messages, chats, video and image sharing platforms that can reach millions of people across the globe are now considered the norm. A new project highlights this phenomenon in an entirely new way, showing how Instagram has lead to its users connecting in real life, and not just through likes and comments on the social network.

Created by Oscar Nilsson, “From Followers To Friends” is a mini documentary that explores the communities who have consciously connected, followed and built relationships with each other via Instagram because of their shared passion for photography. The community members meet up in person in and around San Francisco and take part in photography walks, visiting iconic or idyllic locations and sharing their ideas, tips and techniques and inspirations along the way.

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The film portrays how social networks such as Instagram can bring people with common interests and passions together, in turn creating a new type of networking through social media. The concept is all about merging digital and physical worlds; as we become more reliant on our digital networks, it’s imperative to seek out opportunities that enable us to maintain personal, human connections.

Nilsson first became involved with the Instagram photography walk community when he moved to San Francisco a year and a half ago. Instead of relying on friends of friends or sites like Yelp to learn about the city, Nilsson took to his Instagram and started to research interesting feeds of people who lived in the area. As he continues to develop his strategy practice in the city, Nilsson wanted to dive deep into the culture of these photo walk communities to gain a better understanding of what they’re all about.

I would say that Instagram has helped to open people’s eyes,” Nilsson explains to PSFK. “What I mean by that is that when you’re looking to find a perfect shot to post, it means you’re looking. You’re more open to what’s around you and what is going on. It’s very interesting to think about how an app in a phone can inspire to explore the world.

Watch the short documentary below:

From Followers To Friends

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