When Darrel Kolsky became a member of Instagrammers Canberra (@igerscanberra) and started sharing images three years ago, he never expected it would lead to his work hanging on a gallery wall.
Mr Kolsky’s macro image of aphids is one of 20 Instagram snaps showcased in the Feathers, Fur and Fins exhibition at Tuggeranong Arts Centre in Canberra’s south.
“To see it up on the wall printed in that size and part of an exhibition, I was quite honoured,” he said.
“You can spend more time looking at the image and taking in the detail; on the phone it is compact and you don’t get all the detail that’s in the image.”
Instagram has given the office equipment technician an avenue to share his passion for photography.
“Otherwise I’d probably just take the photos and they’d sit at home on my computer and no-one would ever see them.”
Instagram has also offered a creative outlet for retiree Robyn McPherson to share her photography.
The nearly 70-year-old took to Instagram 12 months ago after learning how to use social media as part of a Canberra Institute of Technology course.
“I’m a very shy person, very quiet, but just sharing images with a whole range of people that is not a face-to-face experience is really good, I enjoy that,” she said.
Ms McPherson was “blown away” to see her image of a gang gang cockatoo in the exhibition.
“I didn’t think that my photographs were good enough to be included in the exhibition … but all the pictures look like calendar images — they look really professional,” she said.
Virtual connections become real-life friendships
@igerscanberra has more than 5,000 followers with about 1,000 members regularly sharing images.
It was started six years ago and is the Canberra arm of a global network of community-based photography social media groups on Instagram under the @igers umbrella.
“Instagram is a little square on a phone, but it connects people,” Instagrammers Canberra moderator Fran Tapia said.
“You can comment on pictures, you form relationships, you form friendships and sometimes you actually meet these people in real life.”
The group has regular Instameets where members get together to share photography advice and snap images of a particular location together.
“I went along to my first Instameet and found a community that I really fitted in well with,” Mr Kolsky said.
“Everyone is accepting of each other and helpful and friendly and I’ve made so many new friends through the local Instagram community and learnt so much.
“Because you are in a group, you can feel safe meeting people from the virtual world of Instagram in a non-threatening environment.”
Showcasing Canberra’s diverse photographers
Instagrammers Canberra regularly runs photography projects to challenge and inspire its members.
Ms Tapia and co-moderator Natalie Dorey decided to curate the exhibition to showcase the Instagrammer Canberra community.
“You have this diversity of people within Canberra that take really amazing pictures, and the only format that they actually share them through is Instagram,” Ms Tapia said.
“They don’t have big websites, they’re not well-known photographers, but they’re actually quite good at what they do, so it’s a nice way to showcase them to people that have perhaps never heard of them.”
All of the 350-plus images submitted for the exhibition can be viewed by searching the #IgersCanberraFFF hashtag on Instagram.
The Feathers, Fur and Fins exhibition is on show at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre until October 28.