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How do I even try to explain what #communityfirst means to me? I'll start by saying the @igersindy community is so incredibly supportive, genuine, and inspiring. Through their support, I know I've become a better photographer and have grown creatively. The off-line friendships I've made are so wonderful and I'm so thankful to have met so many lovely people through Instagram around the world. What does #communityfirst mean to you?
For years now, I’ve had preservation friends from social media; but, it was only about two years ago that I started to meet my “social media” friends in “real life”. I love making the world smaller and meeting friends who are doing inspiring work. Enter a new series to Preservation in Pink: Five Questions With. In this series, I’ll be talking with colleagues, social media friends, and others I admire to learn some tricks of the trade, hear their stories, and introduce you to more preservationists.
First up, Raina Regan!
Raina is one of my dear preservation pals and we finally met at the Society for Industrial Archeology Conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul in June 2013 after talking for years through our blogs and twitter. We both love our cats, Taylor Swift, photography, preservation, and conferences!
You might know Raina Regan from her work with Indiana Landmarks, Steller stories, Twitter, or more likely, her incredible Instagram account. Beautifully composed photographs filled with architectural layers and a mission to show viewers the world through her preservationist eyes,
Raina’s Instagram feed is always one of my favorites. Thinking we could all learn a few tips from Raina, I asked if she’d answer a few questions for Preservation in Pink readers. Read the interview below!
1. How long have you been on Instagram? Why did you start, and what do you love about it?
I joined instagram in January 2012. I joined Instagram almost immediately after purchasing my first iPhone. I had seen a few friends on the app and really loved the way it was being used to call attention to historic homes, details, and little known places.
Interesting story, my first Instagram photo is a Modern home which is now on our Indiana Landmarks 10 Most Endangered list. I feel like that speaks to what my account has been and continues to be about: historic places (with some other fun stuff sprinkled in).
There are so many things I love about Instagram today, from the friendships I’ve made both in Indianapolis and around the globe. Instagram has opened my eyes and made me more observant of my surroundings.
2. You’re quite well known on Instagram (especially for a preservationist)! Taylor Swift has you beat at 50 million, but you have 23K. That is impressive! And, I’m so proud of you. How did you rise to instagram fame?
At the end of March, I was surprised by a message from instagram informing me I had been selected as a suggested user. Every two weeks, Instagram selects a handful (around 200) of users around the globe to highlight. How they select these users is relatively unknown. I like to think it is because I am actively involved with in my local Instagram community (@igersindy) and I provide a unique point of view that highlights architecture. Being selected a suggested user, instagram encourages you to be a “model instagrammer.” I try to stay active by posting daily, commenting and liking photos, attending instameets, participating in the weekend hashtag project, and trying new things with my photography.
3. Your photos are beautiful. Can you share your top tips for insta-worthy photos?
The grid is your friend! I always have the grid on my camera app turned on and I use it as a guide when taking my shots. There’s a photography trick called the “rule of thirds” (google it for tutorials) which I try to follow when composing my photos and is particularly helpful for instagram. Both of these tips have really helped me increase the quality of my photos.
I primarily use the native iPhone camera for the majority of my Instagram photos. But, I do edit them in a few iPhone apps. My favorites are Snapseed for original editing (such as brightness), VSCO to add a touch of filter, and SKRWT to straighten or fix any skew. I also really enjoy GeotagMyPic which allows you to add the geotag information back into a photo.
4. How do you see instagram playing a role in historic preservation?
Imagery and storytelling is such an important part of saving historic places. Connecting people to places, increasing awareness, or even reawakening someone’s memories of a place all can be done through instagram. I love getting comments from someone with a favorite memory of a historic place I’ve posted, or comments such as “I hope they preserve that place.” I find that most people I interact with on Instagram are preservationists at heart — even if they aren’t one professionally. We need to do a better job mobilizing these people to get them engaged in the preservation movement more directly.
5. What is your favorite instagram photo?
That’s a hard one, but I would say this photo of the Indiana War Memorial (see below). The War Memorial is one of my favorite historic places in Indianapolis and I love the composition of this photo and the play of textures.
Thank you, Raina! Keep up the great work!
p.s. Raina and I are collaborating for a fun (soon-to-be-announced) event during this year’s #pastforward conference. Stay tuned!
p.p.s. You can follow Raina’s cat Quincy on Instagram, too. You know you want to.