On Broadway is a new weekly segment where we feature a NYC Instagrammer to discuss all things iPhoneography and the Big Apple.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing this week’s Instagrammer, @johndeguzman, for just under a year now and one thing I can say is he keeps it real. When it comes to his Instagram feed, what you see is what he just saw and that’s what we love about it. Keeping the Insta in Instagram, John de Guzman gives you first hand insight into a day in the life of a Manhattanite as it happens.
First things first, are you native to NYC?
Nope. I grew up in Madrid, Spain, but I’ve lived in NYC long enough to consider myself a New Yorker. Also, this tawdry love affair I have with the city AT LEAST makes us married under common law.
The world is dying to know, what iPhone are you working with?
How long have you been taking pictures with the iPhone?
I started getting into it a year ago February when I discovered Instagram. I was a pixel queen, so trying to capture something with the iPhone when I had a 40D or an s90 seemed silly at the time. Well… IG changed all of that.
Talk to Me
Your photos are 98% real time, are you primarily shooting in Instagram?
Yeah, my pics are pretty much all realtime. That’s the glory of IG for me. If someone sees a pic from me, I’m no more than a couple of blocks away and I’ve been staring at my phone since taking it, getting it ready for upload – usually fighting AT&T’s reception.I shoot for IG more than anything else. For rare occasions, like a trip to the Top of the Rock or Chinese New Year, I’ll break out the big guns… but I’ll still leave the DSLR on my shoulder and I try to get the shot with my iPhone. (All of my IG pics are iPhone only.)I went to Peru in November, and because the photos were as real time as I could make them, I think people felt they were on the trip with me. They moved through the Valle Sagrado with me to Cusco, Pisaq, Machu Picchu, etc. The response when I was in the hospital was overwhelming, because people were sending me messages while I stared at the IV in my arm… not to get too cheesy, but it works both ways. I benefit from the realtime, too. I try to provide a window into my life, so the comments that come back are that much more relevant and powerful.One of my favorite things to do is ask people for suggestions for pics when I’m walking across Manhattan… “I’m walking home to Hell’s Kitchen from the Brooklyn Bridge, what do you guys want to see? Let’s take a walk together.”
How many photos are in your camera roll?
I’m laughing at this question because I have an insane 7,289 photos and videos on my phone right now, BUT THERE IS A GOOD REASON! I use Adobe Lightroom to manage my photo library, and Lightroom 3 doesn’t hold on to geotag information. I really, really want to have as much as my library tagged as possible. Now, Lightroom 4 does, and I’m waiting for it to be released… but my phone is choking on the insane number of media assets I have on it. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Tell us one thing everyone using an iPhone for photos should know?
Never. Stop. Shooting. The iPhone’s like any other camera, and you have to use it to learn how it works in different lighting, what the HDR setting does, how much can the phone move when clicking… Now, please don’t post everything you shoot, but keep shooting. Get to know your instrument.Second thing, if I may? Compose a good shot. There is no amount of apps that will make up for a poorly composed shot. Even in the city where things are constantly moving, make sure to compose a good shot.Third thing, if I may totally ignore the question? Give us a caption. Let us know what we’re looking at. Sometimes the caption makes the photo.
Your New York City
Best hole-in-the-wall restaurant?
Tulcingo del Valle is on 47th and 10th Ave. Incredible Mexican food. Cash only.
Favorite part of NYC?
That’s like picking a favorite child – which I have none of, so it’s impossible. But, here are some places and times that get me most giddy for photos: Times Square on a rainy night, Central Park in snow, Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day, financial district always, anytime I’m on the water near the city and my office with insane views from the west side rail yards. Oh, and any time I’m on the top of a building looking down.
We’ve seen great landscapes from you, the occasional street photography, and my personal favorite “god’s hand.” What do you think keeps these shots fresh?
I think my photos are most interesting because they are realtime. I try to provide a window into NYC/my life. What you see is what’s happening. Whether it’s a playful God’s Hand or a sunrise, it’s what’s happening. In fact, sunsets get a lot of likes in my feed, and I think it’s because people feel like they are there with me, looking out. They aren’t particularly incredible photos, but they are access to this great city.That can be said for all social networks, actually, not just on IG. I took a shot of Occupy Wall Street when it was in Times Square from above. I loaded an IG pic right away and it went viral, being seen almost 100,000 times in 24 hours on flickr, RT’d by Think Progress, Michael Moore and others. What excited people was the access. When I posted my SLR pics a couple of hours later, no one cared. None of them exploded, though they were much better quality.
If you could be any inanimate object?
It’d have to be an NYC building. (It’s unhealthy how much I like this city and its towers.) I think one with incredible views is 500 5th ave. But then I’d barely see the Chrysler, so… maybe the Madison Belvedere. But the I wouldn’t see the General Electric on Lex. 9 W 57th… but then I wouldn’t see Woolworth or the Chanin. Empire State Building… but then I with wouldn’t see myself. Navarre, but then I wouldn’t be able to see the Carlyle. Wait. Buildings don’t have eyes.Scratch all of that. I’d be a news channel’s traffic copter. Which has cameras. And flies.
Inspiration comes when…
I look. It’s everywhere.
Inspiration comes from…
NYC. It’s cliche, but it’s true.
The best part of Instagram is…
the community. You people are incredible, as generous as you are talented.
You can find more from John starting at www.johndeguzman.com and @johndeguzman all over the social networks including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Scribd.
Got a favorite Instagrammer in NYC you’d like to see On Broadway? Send us an email at email@example.com!