Instagram has become an integral part of how I share my work and engage with those who are interested in the issues that I cover. I first began using the platform in 2012 and it has become a key medium for me to share new and old work, keeping my audience updated with where I am in the world and what projects I am working on.
A few months into using the app, the British Journal of Photography approached me for my thoughts on using it. It’s interesting to look back on that and my initial approach:
Much like most professional photographers on Instagram, Gallagher started sharing “behind-the-scenes snapshots” that show how he works as a photojournalist. “But I quickly realised that people were more interested in seeing good pictures. My aim now is to post images that relate to my work on environmental issues in Asia and pique my audience’s interest, hopefully encouraging them to explore the subjects that I cover.” Gallagher also found it helped to post detailed captions with his images, just like he would do if submitting to a magazine or agency. “I think it encourages people to find out more.”
Fast-forward 4 years to 2016 and there is no escaping the fact that the way people consume news and information has changed. So much of this consumption comes in the form of photos and video delivered via mobile devices such as the smartphone and tablets. Instagram has become the go-to app for many photographers who want to share their work. I don’t believe that this new delivery method detracts in any way from the work or the issues that I try to cover. Sharing my work on Instagram has allowed me to create an audience that is diverse, eclectic and is genuinely engaged in the work I am creating. The work I create reaches more people as a result of this platform.
It has also allowed me to collaborate and connect with other like-minded photographers and filmmakers working on similar issues, such as though on the excellent Everyday Climate Change IG feed.
As followers of my work will know, my projects focus almost exclusively on environmental issues. I feel that a commitment to these issues has allowed me to understand them more and give greater depth to my coverage as a result. It was flattering to be included in the Guardian’s article this week, “The environment photographers you should be following on Instagram”.
How long will Instagram be around for? Who knows. For the time being, it is arguably the best social media platform for photographers and filmmakers to share our work. Will that change? Well, “there is nothing more constant than change”, said a wise man once. All we can do is change with the times and keep trying to highlight issues that matter, whatever platform that may be on.