I’m often asked how did I start IGDC. What was my goal in creating this community? And to be completely honest, the beginning was pretty simple and lacked much of a goal. What the community has become is beyond my wildest imagination and is truly the result of passionate photographers who, like me, wanted a reason to get out and shoot.
I signed up for Instagram three weeks after it launched and, like many, was immediately hooked. The experience was very different in the early days of the app and consisted of many incredible fine art photographers. Back then, the people I followed around the globe posted beautiful landscape and nature photography, amazing images of famous landmarks and photographs that showcased the skill and techniques that a DSLR could capture. You didn’t see many photos of people being social; the social aspect was more the simple act of sharing your work with an audience and friends. It didn’t take long, however for people to search out photographers near them and, with Instagram’s encouragement through the worldwide instameet initiative, people began meeting and organizing photowalks to explore their cities and create together. Once I was comfortable with the mechanics of the app, I turned my attention to finding people in DC who were also as obsessed as I. When I heard about Instagram’s second Worldwide Instameet event during the fall of 2011, I was discouraged to find that no one had planned anything in DC. With some trepidation and excitement, I decided to plan something myself. Not knowing what response I’d have, I kept it low-key and planned a happy hour in the city. To my surprise about 15 people showed up and we had a wonderful time.
As people started to leave happy hour, I kept hearing the same question: what are we going to do next? I knew then that if I wanted to see these fine people again, I needed to plan another event.
Fast forward four and a half years and IGDC has organized over 50 events all over the area. We have collaborated with many organizations and businesses, such as REI, the National Portrait Gallery, Jrink, The Yards, West Elm, Capital Food Bank, the National Aquarium, Embassy Row Hotel, Dupont Underground, Kit and Ace, Mount Vernon, Washington Auto Show, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, DC Murals, Sweetlife Festival and Freer/Sackler. We have also had the distinct pleasure of teaming up with Instagram to create and publish a map of important African American sites around DC for Black History Month. Our community is 20,600+ strong and our #igdc tag has over 332,000 posts. Happily, we frequently host out-of-town visitors and take great joy showing them our town. Most recently, we’ve expanded our community footprint to include a Facebook page and this website.
To say the group has flourished is an understatement. I am in awe of what we have accomplished and I am honored in the pride we display for our city every day. This community blows me away and I am grateful for the incredible photographers I’ve met over the years. Each one of you inspires me every day and I am humbled to share this journey with you. I look forward to the next adventure.