The increasing popularity of instagram has led to a democratisation of high-end photography; everybody can be a photographer now, allowing us a unique look at this distinctive corner of the world through many different sets of eyes.
By Frances Grant
The Northern Territory is one of the most photogenic parts of Australia with its waterfalls, tropical plants, desert ranges, beautiful art and of course, crocodiles. There’s a long history of photographers documenting the beauty of the region from the anthropologists and colonial settlers of the early 1900s, through to contemporary storm chasers and international photojournalists.
Recognising the rise of Instagram – and the uniquely Territorian application of this platform – the Northern Territory Library (NTL) has curated iNsTagrammers, a celebration of contemporary Territory photography as shared on social media. This is its biggest exhibition to date featuring more than 70 images from over 15 contributors.
NTL Director Patrick Gregory says Territory Instagrammers post some of the most popular content in Australia.
“Territorians are passionate and prolific photographers – their images paint a diverse picture of life in this unique part of Australia,” he said.
Gregory says the library is very interested in social media as a medium for storytelling and creative production.
“As the Territory’s major research library, that’s all about telling Territory stories, social media is a key focus for us, as it’s the place where Territorians are documenting social life and commenting on issues important to them. We want to explore that and celebrate it.”
Featuring landscape, wildlife, lifestyle and tourism photography, as well as some powerful photojournalism, you may have already seen some of these images on your own phone screen. Despite the comparatively small population of the Northern Territory, NT Instagrammers have some of the largest followings in the country.
NTL has always supported Territorian photojournalism, with more than 100,000 images in its collections and iNsTagrammers represents an exciting new entry into the increasingly important digital space. In many ways social media is in itself a type of archive, and the exhibition draws together key social media postings to create a picture of the NT in 2017.
It’s an exciting time for the library. As well as this innovative new exhibition, a new inaugural Creative in Residence program was recently launched by Arts NT to host a creative practitioner for up to six months. The program supports the production of new work using the gigantic and varied collections available at the library.
Contributors to the iNsTagrammers exhibition include Mayor of Alice Springs Damien Ryan, NT News photographers Elise Derwin and Michael Franchi, Naiuyu artist Aaron McTaggart and Karama mother Jett Street. It's a very diverse group with very different takes on Territory living. Inspiring perspectives that may prompt you to share your own on Instagram.
Image: Neda Vanovac (@bookhopper), 'Boy's own rain cloud', Rapid Creek, Darwin.
Q&A with Instagrammer & Journalist Neda Vanovac aka @bookhopper
What do you like about Instagram?
I love the way it gives you a little peek into the windows of other lives all over the world. I follow photographers in countries such as Iceland, Brazil, Ghana and rural England, taking a look through their eyes at the lives they live.
What sort of images do you post?
I post pictures of my life and work – I like sharing the beauty of the Territory, so I post photos from bush trips to remote communities, camping trips to national parks, photos of the wildlife that share my home and street photos from my travels overseas.
How often do you post?
I post very regularly – at least three to four times a week. I’ve made friends with people through Instagram and I have friends interstate and overseas who tell me they like seeing the NT. And it’s so beautiful here – who wouldn’t?
What are some of your favourite accounts to follow?
I love all of the everyday accounts such as @everydayaustralia, @everydayafrica, @everydaylatinamerica. I also love the evocative photography of @dollyand fe, the clean urban streetscapes of @vishalparadigm, the Eastern European daily life photography of @dcim.ru, the birds of @audobonsociety and the hilarious lo- fashions of @tommylenk.