Most people I know hold a special place in their heart for Instagram – if they're using it for business it's one of the more enjoyable elements of the social media machine; if it doesn't overlap with work at ALL it's an amazing way to keep up with your friends (sans the FB-style Buzzfeed lists) and to stay visually inspired. My interest lies in watching what's happening in between those two points – a feed has become as valid a platform as a personal website or blog, but here's why we're talking about this in the context of A Creative DC: it's also become as valid a creative community (albeit a much newer one) as any of the others covered in this series to date. And since the Instagram component of the A Creative DC project is as important as the online element, I'm doubly excited to rep members of that particular community in this space.
I met Jarrett Hendrix towards the end of last year – we both took part in a Lonely Planet Instawalk through Eastern Market/Barracks Row with Destination DC, with Jarrett leading the way as local Instagrammer of note. I've followed him since, and between his massively popular @BrilliantArtistry account, his @Jarrett.Hendrix feed, and @ToolWords (all quirk/so fun), he's prolific to say the least, and his visual content is never lacking. Born and raised in the city, he's been documenting it since he was a kid, and his perspective is important. @brilliantartistry captures classic Washington – monuments and statues, museums and sunrises on the Potomac – and @jarrett.hendrix is all DC – street scenes and candids, portraits and personalities – shot black + white and with a much grittier feel. Together, they tell one story.
"I have been taking photos long before the Instagram days. I have loved photography for a very long time, but I never really had anyone to share it with. Instagram has provided the opportunity to find people who share that same love.
I LOVE @toolwords! How did you get started with that project? @Toolwords is a result of installing brakes on my vehicle and becoming frustrated. I started stacking tools, and the idea sparked in me to build a word, and take a photo of that word. From that moment on I have been building things with tools. What are the logistics of shooting a @toolwords post? I purchased two white piece of wood from the "as is" section in IKEA for the stage, and I sometimes change the background using items around my house. The setup is pretty basic, but the wood reduces the glare. I sometimes like to take the tools and put them in different places.
Which of your feeds came first? I started on Instagram a very long time ago, but my feed was much different back in those days. There were a lot more selfies, and filters. The idea to start the @brilliantartistry account was my wife's idea, and that was my first photography account on Instagram. And @jarrett.hendrix? The main reason these two accounts exist is because I believe that a gallery should have a sense of structure. It is also good for a gallery to follow a theme. I really hate breaking the feed and the @jarrett.hendrix account is strictly 16x9 black and whites, and the @brilliantartistry account sticks to the square format.
If I could share one thing it would be to get out and shoot with other photographers. That is where creativity really shines. It's hard to expand and grow when you shoot by yourself, and it's extremely difficult to learn from yourself. Instagram gives people to the ability to connect on a level that is simply amazing, and that tool should be utilized often."
How often are you shooting? I shoot every single day. I know that it sounds crazy, but it is true. I sometimes plan photos days in advance and then I choose the right day to shoot. I sometimes write a photo down before I venture out to find it. I do very little editing work to my photos besides maybe a brighten up or some contrast work. I try to edit it according to how I saw it when I took the photo.
You shoot with both DSLR and iPhone and make incredible visuals with both. What's your #1 iPhone photography tip? The iPhone has an amazing camera that stands up to many point and shoot cameras today. If I could share one iPhoneography tip, it would be to download a slow shutter app. Doing long exposures on a DSLR requires many extra tools and lens filters that are very expensive. With the iPhone being all digital, the slow shutter apps give you the ability to do long exposures without worrying about light.