St. Petersburg, FL & Tampa, FL
This past weekend was Instagram's 13th World Wide Instameet, and as always, Jimmy and I attempted to go to as many meets as possible. All together we were able to attend 3 of the 5 meets that were being held in our area. If you have never been to an intameet, or are unfamiliar with an instameet, it's a chance to get to know people you interact with on instagram. My first instameet was (approximately) 2012 in Tampa. Some of the people I met at that meet are still in my life today, and we have been mutually supportive of each others photography. I talk about these meets with people that are not involved in Instagram, and I always seem to get the same reaction. I get a weird look, or a question about if it's weird hanging out with people I only know online. My answer is always no, I have never felt unsafe or unwelcomed. Yes, a bit awkward at my first meets, but as my friendships grew over time, these meets felt more like home. A space where I can share ideas, meet people with the same passion, be inspired, and ultimately create some really cool photographs.
Instagram has changed my life, it has opened doors, it has given me the power to share my work across states and countries. The most valuable things I have obtained from this app are the relationships I have gained. I can tell you countless stories about the amount of love and kindness people have shown me in Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Pete and Gainesville. All of this kindness from people I have discovered through Instagram. Not to mention Jimmy made his first appearance into my life at an Instameet.