Igers413 helped me push my artistic boundaries, meet other artists

  • Portrait of my mom. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I became involved with Igers413 in 2014, after meeting Northampon resident Jeff Kelley, the social media community’s founder.

On Instagram, he’s known as @postaljeff, hailing to his job as a postman.

From the get go, Kelley was incredibly enthusiastic about all-things social art. That enthusiasm brought the community to where it is now, with 1,800 active followers and 15 successful “instameet” meet ups.

Three years later, Kelley is still facilitating community-driven events like “Free art Friday,” a scavenger hunt for free art with hints posted on social media, and #chasingart, an ongoing art show featuring work by the Igers413 community.

Artistically speaking, Kelley’s personal work is incredible. It’s raw, experimental, unique and therefore inspiring — as is the work of many, many other artists in the group.

Since getting involved, I’ve explored new locations, pushed my artistic boundaries, interacted with other local photographers, and rediscovered familiar places during Igers413 instameets and through the eyes of others.

Last Saturday, I attended the group’s film camera only meet up in downtown Northampton and, once again, met a few other local photographers who I didn’t know prior.

It was also a chance to shoot with a 35 millimeter film camera — I hadn’t used one in years. In today’s fast-paced world, where the most important event is the next one, it was nice to slow down and immerse fully in the present, knowing I wouldn’t see the resulting images for at least a week.

Igers413 invites introverted photographers, who might be otherwise inclined to hole up elsewhere for hours on end, to engage in their art-making with fellow artists in community. In that sense, Igers413 challenges the stereotypical artist archetype.

But even if one never meets anyone else in the group, it’s nice to know there are like-minded people out there who care about photography enough to engage.

For those interested in finding the group, search @Igers413 on Instagram or Facebook.