InstaFocus is a weekly Q+A curated by @astrodub.
I was introduced to Lee Ekstrom’s (@Jeepwriter) stream this past spring and have been hooked ever since. We both share a common affinity for textures, weathered objects and symmetry. Lee is from Michigan and below we find out a few things about him and his Instagram experience.
How long have you been on Instagram? What made you join?
Just over 7 months, I posted my first pic on Christmas Eve of 2011. I bought my iPhone 4S for the camera. Instagram was the first app on my phone.
Cropping an image to fit the app’s square format. Blessing or a curse?
Blessing. Reminds me of shooting my Rollei.
A common question that our audience has about other Instagrammers is if they are pros or hobbyists. Tell us a bit about how you got into photography.
Good question Angeliki. Definitely a hobbyist. When I think of a professional, I think of someone making a living on photography. That’s not me. Closest I came to that was living at home (and in my car) on a ramen noodle diet as the chief photographer / photo editor at Wayne State University’s daily newspaper. Some kudos came my way from the NPPA College Photographer of the Year awards. That helped me get internships as a medical photographer and photojournalist at a large metro newspaper. Freelanced a ton at newspapers, got married, got a regular job, and moved on to shooting weddings on the weekends. Did that for 13 years until breaking in to the advertising business as a copywriter. The new position paid enough and we had our weekends back. That was about 12 years ago. So, what you’re seeing on my feed is about 12 years of pent up creativity waiting to burst out.
Lucky for us that creativity is not bottled up anymore. What cameras and apps do you use to edit your photos?
iPhone4S exclusively. All images are shot and edited in-camera. I’m a big fan of @TonyDetroit. Tony was interviewed by Ryan Coleman of the Juxt Team, and he shared what apps he used. Up until that point, I was edit free. Needless to say, I picked up every app he mentioned: DynamicLight, Qbro, Cameramatic (use less and less), and PicGrunger (don’t really use any more). Since then I’ve added PS Express to straighten the images, occasionally add the Vibrant Effect and crop photos for my #texturextreme weekly winners post. Paint FX is one of my favorites for applying “finger painting” effects. Picked up picfx for the Plastic Wood texture (dug and dug to find this app – the talented @civilking uses it a lot in his feed), but have grown to like the other filters as well. Phonto for adding text, and TurboCollage for creating collages. Just picked up Pictwo for double exposures and layering, but haven’t used it much yet. Can’t add any more since my memory is full. LoL.
You created the hashtags #texturextreme (my personal favourite) and #headlampart. Last I checked they have amassed over 8200 and 1500 respectively. How does it feel to see this great response?
Very satisfying, and very humbling. (So glad you like them btw). Neither of the tags would be anything without talented IG’ers submitting awesome images and a great group of friends spreading the word.
#texturextreme is my baby. I’ve nurtured that one the most and I really enjoy choosing andspotlighting weekly winners. The #headlampart tag really took off when I had an IGLA-style contest. My IG friends @eusenties and @molomosh helped me pick the finalists, but other IG’ers picked the winners.
Some of the other tags I’ve started, but don’t list in my profile: #simpleandpure, #photowhileshopping, #curiousclub, #mastersoflight, #geometraholic, and I share #opendoorsproject and #split5050 with @juliegeb. Creating and nurturing interesting tags is part of the whole IG experience for me.
What inspires you to share your photos with your followers on Instagram?
The community is key. It’s amazing the talent out there on Instagram. I feed off of the photos posted by talented IG’ers, and it fuels my desire to post at least one decent pic a day. The interplay is everything.
Whose posts do you look forward in seeing in your feed? Name your top 5 IGers.
Thank you Lee for taking the time and sharing your experience with Instagram NYC.