Many Birminghamians have become hooked on the popular photo-sharing social network Instagram, but one user has initiated a group-look through the lens of the Magic City.
Blaine Prickett started @instagrambham to bring together the many professional and amateur photographers in the area – many using smartphones — around their common interest: Birmingham.
Prickett, a graphic designer and social media marketing manager from Hoover, operates @instagrambham as a collective of creative efforts either about Birmingham, or geographically located here. Prickett started @instagrambham after learning that many other major cities across the world had similar groups.
If you haven’t heard of Instagram, the app was launched in October 2010, allowing users to take and share square photos and select from 15 digital filters to mirror effects from analog methods of old. Last April the company was acquired by Facebook for a reported $1 billion. As the deal closed in September the service reached over 100 million users.
And if some are tempted to knock Instagram as a fad or only for nostalgic hipsters and their snapshots of dogs and food, Prickett said there is more to it than that.
“I love seeing people unleash their creative side,” said Prickett, an Instagramer himself, who noticed that the app has been giving people the chance to do just that. “I wanted to connect local Instagramers, create a way for them to discover new places they’ve never seen in our city, and show off how beautiful Birmingham truly is,” he said. “I decided I would build a platform to show off their work.”
Prickett created the hashtag #instagrambham for followers to apply to their own photographs, making them easily shareable to other users and providing an outlet to feature other artists’ work through his primary page.
At presstime, the @instagrambham page has nearly 6,000 followers, and features more than 13,000 photos, growing by the hundreds weekly. The top three Birmingham-related hashtags totaled more than 155,500 photos, although many in #birmingham are related to the original Birmingham in England.
“We are going to have the first official instagrambham photo walk very soon,” he said. “A couple of followers are going to help me organize the walk, coinciding with upcoming public Birmingham events. The walks will not be limited to just our Instagram followers, but photography professionals and enthusiasts alike. The information on our first walk will be made available on all of our social network pages soon.”
Prickett also expects @instagrambham will one day feature contests with prizes from local establishments and smart phone accessory retailers. And there is also a website in development to allow people without access to the social apps to view images of Birmingham submitted by users.
Several local Birmingham businesses have also started Instagram accounts to promote themselves through photography, like @bhammuseum, @avondalebrewing, @goodpeoplebrewingco, @thejclyde, @faithskate, and others.
Instagram has proven to be a fun, effective, and successful online social network for individuals, brands, and creative professionals,” Prickett said. Despite various controversies which have caused some to abandon the app — related to Instagram’s use of participants’ photos for other purposes, or disconnecting from users’ Twitter feeds – Prickett is confident Instagram remains a good bet. “I plan on continuing @instagrambham as long as the app is around,” he said. “Instagram is only two years old, growing exponentially by the minute, and I don’t think it will be going anywhere anytime soon.”