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Expogram: In Search of Everyday (Instagram) Photographers

Finding beauty in São Paulo’s daily landscape is not the easiest of tasks. The city is gray, architecturally fragmented, and plagued by heavy traffic. Despite the city’s desolate visuals, the iPhone app Instagram has become immensely popular since its launch last October. Thousands of people taking pictures with their phones are framing artful snapshots, not only in São Paulo, but around the world. The app’s easy-to-use filters lend all kinds of photographic effects to images with the touch of a button, and the social sharing function makes for a fun way to share your creations with friends or the greater amateur photographer community.

With this in mind, photographers Érika Garrido and Renata Chebel and journalist Luciana Obniski have decided to organize an exhibition of pictures taken with Instagram. The project is called Expogram, and in addition to highlighting pedestrian photographers, the founders hope to promote a meeting between the app users in Brazil.

In the words of Luciana Obniski:

“The project arose from our desire to make Instagram more relevant, to give an ‘art’ status to the portrait of everyday people. We think the pictures taken with Instagram have a natural and effortless poetry within them, and we wanted, through the exhibition, to ‘reward’ that special vision that people have and maybe did not know they had in the first place, because there was no such exercise of shooting pics daily.”

Over 2 million people have already downloaded Instagram from the App Store, and the numbers are rising. The application isn’t just another camera, but a social network where you can interact with other users’ photos. With Instagram, photography becomes further embedded into our virtual communication repertoire.

Obniski advocates to bring images from a digital-only platform for display in a physical space because she seens it as “a way to promote a meeting in which people can see what those who have an iPhone (and Instagram) are ‘tired’ of seeing, and we also want to give visibility to the people who bother to make their daily lives more beautiful. It’s as if we had a mural of the ‘popular’ section [one of the functions that the app offers] permanently.”

For the exhibition, the trio will choose 200 of the photo submissions with the hashtag #expogram. Over 2000 pictures have been tagged already, so the Expogram team decided to expand and create another hashtag: #exponostalgia. “We figured that nostalgia is a recurring sentiment in most of the photos included, so let’s create the ‘corner of nostalgia,’ only with pictures that relate to that theme,” says Obniski.

The photos will be printed on boards and displayed on iPads on the opening day of the exhibition. Expogram will be on display from April 9 to 23 at Tag and Juice in São Paulo. Anyone with the app can participate.

The application deadline is March 31. To register, comment #expogram or #exponostalgia on your Instagram photos.

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