Instagram is a fun, especially if you love cars. It became widespread initially from the social aspect of sharing photos with friends, but I think it's maintained momentum because, along the way, it's become a legitimately creative medium. A few months back, Chris Perkins wrote a post about automotive Instagram accounts, but it left me wanting. I fired out an angry comment and Chris took it graciously and actually cheerfully suggested I improve it, and so here we are.
A lot of his list was made up of well-known photographers posting retouched, high-production photos. I get it — putting your portfolio on Instagram for exposure is fine. There are tons of other places on the web that are great for posting portfolio pieces, but I'm not sitting here saying 'you're doing it wrong' or anything. I'm just telling you why I made my own list.
Here's how I prefer to use Instagram:
- Shot and edited with a phone.
- That's basically it.
No wait, I actually have a million more dumb rules! No text overlays, only post your own photos. Obvious, right? If I can tell it's from car show, it's probably not appealing to me, artistically, and convention center Auto Shows are even worse.
Huseyin is really good at this. He shoots in California and captures motion, colors and moods. You need to follow.
Greg finds lonely and iconic cars, usually shrouded in early-morning fog. It's enough to make me want to wake up early. The images are timeless: this could have been taken in 1975 or 2015.
Timo loves BMWs from The Good Years, and finds amazing locations in Europe. Then he sets up brilliant compositions.
Oliver is from Montreal and has a brilliant eye. I could go on but I think the photo below says more than I ever could.
Edward lives in Austin and knows how to make the most of the available Texas sunlight. Weirdly, he and I have photographed the exact same car, randomly, in Marfa and then again in Austin. I guess the state isn't actually that big?
I think Golden Hour just follows Jonathan around. His stuff is epic.
Rob aims to shoot autominimalism and has an eye for details. His consistent processing style has the effect of making any car look more interesting than it might otherwise be, and forces you to look closer.
Do you see how rich this image is? Everything is perfect. All of his Brian's images are this rich.
Scott is among the very best at this, and I think his style has influenced many, many people. His Pacific Northwest settings and subjects show a sense of haunting isolation — a huge contrast to Scott himself, who is one of the nicest and most genuine people in the community.
It's not a numbered list, but if it were, my entry would be non-classified, like the DeltaWing at Le Mans. It's still kind of a douche move, but what can you do. Now you can see that I practice what I preach.
Admittedly, I definitely have a particular aesthetic I like, and that's what shaped this list – feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. I've traditionally never really been an 'American car guy', but since I've increasingly been on the hunt for visually interesting metal, I've noticed the vintage American iron has so much to offer the eyes. Give me a 60s Buick Riviera over a dime-a-dozen Gallardo. The Mercedes-Benz tanks of the 1970s and 80s react to light like no other cars, before or since. They're chiseled, complex and still incredibly clean.
Instagram is a different thing, separate from high-production, DSLR photography, and that's why I chose to create this list. I think there's beauty in the lo-fi, and something fun and satisfying about using limited tools to create the best image you possibly can. Based on the jaded comments I see on here whenever heavily-retouched and CGI manufacturer press photos drop, there are people craving something real. Maybe this is that something.
Main image photo credit: @une_olive