Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation.
“Photography is more than just an image. It’s [a] community, connecting with others, and finding unique moments to capture.”
That”s Dallas-based portrait and lifestyle photographer Jeyson Paez, one of the men behind Dallas’ first Instagram curated art show. His thoughts encompass a movement that many of us are probably involved in. I’ll bite the bullet and admit this: more often than not, I find myself thinking of moments to capture using my handy iPhone and have spent more time than necessary choosing just the right filter to make an instant permanent. I might be slightly addicted to Instagram, but so are 100 million other people (according to Instagram’s own blog).
It’s just like Paez says: It’s a community. We log in, open the camera and share our memories. We feel connected to one another through a small touch screen, and for many of us that’s enough. But some people, like Paez, want to use Instagram to further their artistic endeavors and education. Instagram provides a way to practice and exhibit photography. I know that many photographers would disagree, but it’s hard to deny the accessibility and impact that this application has had. It has opened the doors for people to show their work, and it is speaking to the contemporization of art. In an article in the , writer Olivier Laurent interviewed some of the most prolific photojournalists about the impact of Instagram. He found that the application, more than any other social network, has allowed for a deeper connection to the general public.
James Estrin, a photographer for The New York Times and co-editor of the paper’s Lens blog, agreed:
“In photography, the key is to build an audience of people who have some relationship with what you’re doing—either with you personally or via the issues you’re covering. These are people who may, one day, buy your book, or support you on Kickstarter … The question is: What does Instagram mean to a photographer? I think it means strengthening the relationship between you and your potential audience. Everything that strengthens your relationship with your audience, especially in this day and age, can strengthen your reach and ability to monetise your work.”
I find myself agreeing with Estrin, as I know many photographers who are using Instagram as a way to get their names out there. And I follow numerous magazines, department stores, fashion designers and dance companies who are also using it as way to promote their work. They are making art out of a simple application. They are connecting to an audience previously unknown, or unreachable, to them.
Paez is joining in this conversation with his show “One by One.” It”s hosted by his group, InstaDFW—a group he started to connect Instagramers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And it”s curated by Trey Hill, a Dallas-based photographer and filmmaker, and sponsored by WELD. “One By One” features the work of 36 of the top Instagramers in North Texas.
I spoke with Paez about the development of “One By One,” and what it took to put this show together.
Danielle Georgiou: When did you first come up with the idea for “One By One?”
Jeyson Paez: I noticed that people were having shows like this one in other cities, in New York City, Chicago, San Diego, etc. I thought that it would be a great idea to have one here in DFW. My goal with InstaDFW has always been to connect people, and I thought that this was a great way to do that.
D.G.: Why did you think Dallas would be the best place to host a show similar to the ones you had seen?
J.P.: Everyone thinks that all of the good Instagrammers are in New York or the West Coast, but I know of the talented Instagrammers that we have here. That’s why I felt it was important to have this show here … and why I feel that it”s time for the world to see how much talent we have in our cities.
D.G.: What sort of obstacles have you faced getting this show together?
J.P.: Obstacles? Oh, you bet, we had obstacles to face! Every time you tell someone that you’re having an art show curated via Instagram, they give you a funny look, and say, ‘Instagram? My granddaughter has that.’ They think that Instagram is just for ‘selfies’ or pictures of your food, but I know that it is more than that. It’s about a community and the amazing people who are part of it. … Along the way, I found a lot of people who didn’t believe in me or the project, but I also found a lot of support. People like Trey Hill, who is the curator of the show, and the people from WELD, where we are having the show, and dozens of local Instagrammers and business owners who believe in the project and want to be part of it.
Just a year ago, Paez was one of the millions of users of Instagram. But with this new endeavor, he hopes that the InstaDFW community will grow, and Dallas with put a new face on the map of Instagram.
“One By One” will also feature a screening of the documentary Instagram Is by local filmmaker Paul Tellefsen, and Lyft will launch its community-powered transportation service.
“One By One” opens Friday at 7 p.m. at WELD. The show is free and open to the public.