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The New Yorker magazine has commenced an experiment, handing over its Instagram account to staff photographers.
Talking to The Journalism Foundation about the experiment, The New Yorker’s senior PR director Alexa Cassanos said “we wanted to use Instagram to highlight the great photography that runs in our magazine and on our website.
“We were founded in 1925, but photography in the magazine has been a relatively new thing. With the advent of Instagram, we felt it was important for us to be on this new platform.”
The first photographer to take part in the project was staff snapper Martin Schoeller whose Instagram pictures for The New Yorker documented life in New York and a trip to Ohio. Schoeller’s subjects included strangers he encountered on the street, landscapes and still lives, and images of his own son. Subsequent photographers who have taken the reins of the account, Jesse Burke and Ed Kashi, have experimented with similarly diverse subject matter.
“We really didn’t give our photographers much direction,” says Cassanos. “We gave them carte blanche to do what they wanted. Our first photographer Martin Schoeller is generally used to doing complicated set ups, and using professional lighting rigs when shooting for The New Yorker, so this was a very different way of doing things for him.”
The magazine hopes that the experiment will help attract Instagram followers. According to Cassanos “We have already seen a good lift in engagement through the experiment,” with an increase of over 260% since the photographers first got involved.
Other publications have experimented with photography in different ways. The Sunday Times publishes weekly updates on its Facebook page of the best news pictures of the week. The Guardian’s picture desk runs a live blog of the latest photography. Mashable notes that commercial outlets have been doing similar experiments including London-based fashion house Burberry which has “brought on popular Instagram users to take photographs for the @burberry account during its last few runway shows” and “others, like eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker, have hired popular photographers to shoot events.”
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