Richmond was made for Instagram

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram has had about 400 billion of them posted on their beautiful iPhone app–and Richmond’s iPhone toting populace have posted their fair share of beautiful photos.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram has had about 400 billion of them posted on their beautiful iPhone app since its inception in the fall of 2010.

For those of you who are unaware, Instagram is an iPhone-only app for photo sharing and editing. To date the app has about 15 million users posting photos. Instagram has grown immensely in its brief existence, and its popularity is not surprising: you can create some pretty fantastic imagery.

When uploading a photo to the app you are able to apply one of a range of filters. Each filter has a vintage feel to it that softens the image, brightens or darkens the edges, or changes the visual tone of the photo in one way or another. Additionally, you can bring parts of the image in and out of focus, leaving other bits with a fuzzy brilliance that just feels good. While the filters and editing capabilities are more appealing than most other photo apps, it is not just the editing that makes Instagram super popular; where the app really comes alive is in the sharing.

Certainly, the design of Instagram makes sharing superior to other photo apps, and its simplicity is a winning feature. Yet, the mere act of sharing through a photo adds a completely different energy to the experience of communicating information. And Richmonders have a lot of that information to communicate.

Richmond was made for Instagram.

RVA is a beautiful place. Not only are we a town with young, tattooed VCU students and exquisite weather in the heart of winter, but we also have some really beautiful things to see in this city. From the monuments scattered throughout town to the beautiful architecture of Church Hill or The Fan, just moving through Richmond offers us plenty of photographic fodder wherever we turn.

One of the reasons I find myself turning towards Instagram more than any other social media is its ability to connect me to my city. Most of the folks I follow are local, and through their content I can engage more fully with the community around me. When I see a delicious plate of food a friend just posted, I may learn about a new restaurant that just opened. When a group of friends snap a few pics while biking, I might be reminded of a place I love to go or one I’ve always been meaning to visit. Without the clutter and noise, Instagram makes it far more enjoyable to see what’s going on around town from the comfort of my phone.

Creativity has always been a cornerstone of RVA, but recently the city seems to be experiencing a surge in excitement about the creative process. RVA creates, and i.e.* are good examples of how the city itself is getting involved in this movement. The thriving creative community is ever present throughout the city; everywhere you turn there’s a Trask mural or a knitted light post. New galleries open up consistently, and initiatives to support the creative among us are finding success.

Here, we find yet another reason Richmond is so ‘gram-able.

When you take a photo and begin to play with it on Instagram, you get an actual sense that you are creating something. The filters you apply, the focus you adjust, the finishing touches you add with a clever caption, all amount to a creative moment. The time spent crafting this photographic brilliance is far from exhaustive, but the pay off is fantastic.

What Instagram enables us to do is take brief moments in our lives, capture them beautifully, and share them with our friends. Yet, furthermore, it allows us to find these lovely little moments to step away and create something unique. Obviously, Richmond is heavy with creators, but there are a ton of us creating everyday with little contributions that add to the whole.

It might just be me, but engaging in an easy to use, quick creative act has something in it that makes my day better. In a city as beautiful as Richmond, with as much as we have to offer, that creative experience is made all the more enjoyable.

Maybe I’m just someone who likes his phone too much? Maybe Instagram is just another blip on the landscape of mobile apps? But maybe, there’s some value in having these moments of creativity in such a creative town; perhaps, like Instagram, we’ll continue to see growth through sharing in the creative process.

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Oh hey! If you love Instragram and would like to submit some of your awesome shots to our Photo of the Day feature, just tag your ‘grams with #rvanews.

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Josh Epperson

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