On Broadway is a weekly segment where we feature a NYC Instagrammer to discuss all things iPhoneography and the Big Apple.
I’ll never forget the moment I met Instagrammer Tina Berg (@Iamakittehcouch) at the Worldwide Instameet in March, 2011. When she realized what my Instagram name was…she yelled it out loud for all to hear! We then enjoyed a “mutual admiration society” type of conversation as we were big fans of each others’ work. Her personality is much like her Instagram photos: vibrant and unforgettable…
Tell us a little about yourself…where you’re from, what you do, hidden talents, etc..
I’m from the DC/Maryland area. I moved to NYC in January 1990. I’ve been fortunate to have lived in some pretty cool neighborhoods. First at Bleecker & MacDougal Streets in the Village, then Ludlow Street in LES and now Park Slope, Brooklyn. I’ve had a wide variety of jobs in my lifetime from picture framer, grocery store cashier, clothing store manager to visual merchandiser for a dept. store. In NYC I was a bartender for many years, then later a hotel concierge. Presently I prepare theater & sightseeing packages for the same concierge company. I have 2 cats.Hidden Talent: I’m told I’m a miraculous Google searcher, though I’m not quite sure what that means. People in my office come to my desk to request I search subjects for them because they can’t find them on their own…
The world wants to know: what’s the origin behind your unique IG username?
::blushes:: For those of you who thought it was some exotic difficult to pronounce surname, I’m afraid it is literally: I. Am. A. Kitteh. Couch. Did I mention I have 2 cats?
Gotcha. How long have you been on Instagram?
Statigr.am says since December 24, 2010, but I actually used IG before that, only I would delete the pictures off the stream right away because I was too shy to post. I liked IG for the camera and filters and remember being frustrated that the picture would automatically post to the public. Now I’m a little posty-freak!
How do you describe your style?
I don’t think I’ve developed a signature style yet. I’m a “filter-holic” and I also like the starkness and simplicity of Black & White. I just edit each picture until it tells me it’s done. I suppose street photography applies here: I capture what I see in front of me everyday. I work in Times Square. I take the subway. I don’t really have time to set-up a shot so I click as I go. I imagine my pictures convey this. Sometimes I glance at my feed and see a space cluttered with people and I think I really need to get away! (laughs). But seriously, for me photographs convey emotion. I try to capture the essence of a particular moment and encapsulate it. I prefer my subjects to be real people and situations. My desire is to look closely and see the beauty in the everyday and mundane.
Has Instagram changed your life in any way? If so, how?
Yes. IG has given me a constructive creative outlet. It has also allowed me to meet people and see places I might never have had the opportunity to. It’s gotten me out of the house on more than one occasion and refreshed my self-confidence.
What’s your best or funniest experience shooting an Instagram photo?
It was Fleet Week and I came running out of work to capture sailors in the last evening light. But every time I’d take a snap this other guy would move into my field of vision. We soon realized we were both going for the same shots and started laughing. When I asked if I could take his picture he exclaimed, “But I’m the photographer!” It was too late, I’d already got him. The funny thing is he exemplified what I’d been seeking all along. A sailor in whites taking in the sights of Times Square, very retro 1940’s looking. I think his was the best image I’d taken that entire week.The best moments I’ve experienced with IG are those rare times when you’ve snapped your photo and feel that funny tickle in your belly saying “Yes! You’ve got it!” You’ve captured that one serendipitous moment, whether it be the angle of light, an exchanged glance or some significant event. The hope is that someone someday might see it and share that instance. The finest IG moments are when you’ve posted your image and someone, maybe on the other side of the world, double-taps & leaves a comment on your feed saying “Hey, I really like this.”
Any advice to those new to Instagram?
Something that’s been bouncing around the feeds lately. If you comment on someone’s feed “Follow Me” it really has quite the opposite effect. Especially if you haven’t taken the time to look at that person’s pictures. IG isn’t Twitter. It really doesn’t matter how many followers you have unless they interact with you. The way to gain followers is to post the best pictures that you can. Be true to yourself. Visit other people’s feeds and really look at their posts, make legitimate comments. Pretty soon they’ll be curious and check your feed and if they like your style they will follow. Most important of all is to connect with people. Answer questions, thank them for their comments. It’s hard because it takes a lot of time to do right. IG is about sharing your images, not how many followers you can gain. Take advantage of the hash tags so folks can find you. Take part in the challenges. Oh, and don’t be hating on the cats. They’ve probably been on the Internet longer than you! (laughs)