Top 10 Most Liked Instagram Photos – 2013

Here are the top 10 photos that I shot and posted to Instagram in 2013, according to how many likes each received. The list does not reflect what I think are my best photos. Still, it is interesting and surprising to see what people like. Perhaps I’ll create a list of my favorites in another post.



The list is very skewed. After an Instagram event in late summer, I became a suggested user on the service. That ballooned my number of followers from about 200 to over 20,000. The photos posted closest to that time have the most likes. Slowly the number fell off, although new viewers tend to keep the number high.

Of course, although the photos were all posted to Instagram, they were all edited with PicTapGo.

Interesting People on Instagram – jelloet

Pattern, line, and color. Minimalism. Minimalism is a trend I’ve found on Instagram by following a few others, who dabbled in it. This led me to @jelloet. Primarily taking photos in Los Angeles, Carolina Inés looks at familiar scenes, but in a way to bring out the color in a soft, brilliant way.


These photos appear to be simple. But as with many other media, simple is harder than it looks. Our world is complex, so it can be hard to boil it down to a simple idea.


Many of Carolina Inés’ photos show subjects that I enjoy photographing as well. Her vision is very different than mine though, which is part of the thrill. My own work tends more to the complex and the nuances of the details. Perhaps that is why @jelloet’s vision mesmerizes me so.


Interesting Stuff Last Month – November 2013

Far Out on A Limb — Nadav Kander
Portraits of people with their limbs made by Sophie de Oliveira Barata. These prosthetics are incredible and call attention to their amazing design. Perhaps the singularity is not far off. A different view of the photos is here.

Surreal Photo Manipulations by Caras Ionut
Another person doing wonderful photo-illustrations that detour into fantasy. Is there a resurgence of this happening? Or am I just noticing it more? The legacy of Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor continues to grow.

Just the Two of Us
Portraits of Cosplay Enthusiasts in their Homes by Klaus Pichler. I’m so glad that the digital photography and photo sharing has led to the explosion of cosplay. Everyone has leveled up. Everyone gets to share in the fun.

Guinevere Van Seenus by Erik Madigan Heck
More of the colorful formalism from this amazing photographer of fashion beauty.

Vanishing Tribes Before They Pass Away
Portraits from around the world that show the dignity and differences between various cultures. These color photos compliment and contrast those by Sebastiao Selagado shown in “Genesis”.

A Record Store Rises
As one of my mentors in New York, Stephen Mallon sparked my interest in time lapse photography. He continues to explore this technique for the New York Times magazine. Someday I’ll finish my NYC film and post it.

Act Naturally – The Photographs of Ringo Starr
He was the Beatle in “A Hard Days Night” that went off by himself to take photos. It turns out that he did that in real life, too. Here are a few of his photos.

7 Questions with Tony Corbell
“I was raised inside an apartment in the base of a drive-in movie theater from the time I was born until I was seven years old and somehow it influenced me to watch movies all the time. I see a lot of movies and study the work of great cinematographers and pay close attention, not to see how they did something, but how a scene makes me feel.”

Norman Reedus – Photographer
One of the stars of The Walking Dead is a photographer releasing a book soon. He has an eye for the macabre, but also just some of the strange situations he finds on the set and in real life.

Skate Photography Portfolio by Brian Fick
Skateboard photography captures the surfers of concrete and other textures of suburban life.

Behold the Face of Harassment
Photographer Hannah Price turns the tables of the men catcalling her as she walks down the streets of Philadelphia by asking to take their portraits. The results are surprising and insightful.

Why I Tried and Failed at Instagram
Fine art photographer Brook Shaden explains what happened when she tried to use Instagram. What is important is that she tried and evaluated and made a decision that was correct for her. Not all tools work for everyone.

Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense
“As someone paid to be creative, I sometimes feel kaleidoscopic in my views or opinions, and that “multitude” of expressions sometimes confuses those around me. Why does that happen? My thoughts make cohesive sense to me, yet others sometimes feel that I am contradicting myself or switching positions. What is wrong with me?”

The First Instagram Ad “Worked”, But What Do Brands Do Now?
“While brands have been on the social photo network almost since the beginning, until now their accounts were the same as yours. Take photo, filter photo, type caption, post for followers, repeat. Starting with that first Michael Kors sponsored post, brands are now able to pay for the luxury of having their posts pushed out to targeted users who may be interested”

The Great Compositions of Alfred Eisenstaedt
A technical exploration of composition using some famous photos. These provide a way to think about why some photos are more successful than others.

Joe McNally on Gregory Heisler New Book
One master looks up to another. These two are friends. Both have great lessons to teach us about being a working photographer and treating great portraits.

SVA Masters in Digital Photography App for iPad – Free
The photo book from the thesis show for the graduating class from the School of Visual Arts master’s degree program in digital photography.

The Photobook Format Is Up for Grabs
“There are 20 books in the Paris-Photo/Aperture First Book shortlist and 14 of them are self-published. Increasingly, these self-pub books are very sophisticated in their construction and the materials they use.”

The Reluctant Father by Phillip Toledano
Toledano explorers his fresh life as a father, echoing his earlier work of the last days of his father.

Hopper Meditations by Richard Tuschman
This photographer uses the famous painter’s work as a stepping stone to his own work, making for an interpretation that adds nuance to the bleakness and still retain the sadness.

The Challenge of Photography
“None of the non-photo-world people I have talked to over the past years has ever even entertained the idea that their photographs on Instagram, say, would be comparable to photographs produced by professionals. People know the difference between apples and oranges very well. Yet in the world of photography, we seem stuck worrying about how since they’re both round and fruits, they must be the same, right?”

November 22, 1963
A short Errol Morris film on the photo evidence of the Kennedy Assassination

Saul Leiter – Dec. 23, 1923 – Nov. 26, 2013
7 Lessons Saul Leiter Has Taught Me About Street Photography
Stella Kramer on Saul Leiter
Photographers Speak – Saul Leiter
“I didn’t try to communicate any kind of philosophy since I am not a philosopher. I am a photographer. That’s it.”

Interesting Stuff Last Month – October 2013

House of Turds – Cover of New York Daily News at the Start of the Government Shutdown
The one image that captured the most political act of the year. A sly reference to the Netflix TV series House of Cards, which was itself a reference to the famous photo of Vladmimir Putin by Platon. Iconic.

Hurricane Sandy-Damaged Photographs of Ground Zero
Hurricane Sandy – Self-Portraits by Communities in Distress
Rising Waters show in NYC
Hurricane Sandy hit the city where many of the world’s best photographers live. Here are a few things to show how they hit back a year later.

The Moment a Photographer Became a Historian – Bill Eppridge
“I just turned to my left and there was the senator lying there and at that point my profession changed. I became a historian.”

The Impact of the Eddie Adams Workshop – 20 Years Later
This incredible workshop has been helping train photo journalist for 20 years. Here’s a few personal stories looking back at the first class.

Passenger Seat
More from Passenger Seat
A few images from Julieanne Kost’s personal project.

Advertising and the End of Instagram’s Sincerity
An analysis of Instagram’s evolution into a platform for advertising. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. The line to walk is fine and yet undefined.

One Hour, One Camera, One Setting, One Dollar per Person
How a change in plans can lead to a wonderful photo project.

Things I Have Learned About Nature Photography
A friend I met at the Platon workshop traveled to Africa with two other friends from that same workshop. Along the way, she started becoming a nature photographer.

Women on the Front Lines and Behind the Lens
Profiles of some fantastic, National Geographic photographers providing different perspectives and access to stories that make that magazine an institution.

An Open Letter from a Photographer’s Agent
“I write this letter in the hopes of starting a conversation between agents and photographers that will remind us that we are in this together; each of us trying to make the other a better photographer, agent, partner, therapist and friend.”

Traditional 40’s Pinup Photos with Models Wearing High Speed Milk
Yes, you can do amazing work by being very technical and geeky and willing to put in the time planning. The results can stun the world.

Bill Atkinson’s new mission: Save the Postcard
This living legend in the Macintosh world and an accomplished photographer has built a digital tool to help revive an old form of communication. “Nobody sends hate mail on a postcard.”

Moleskin and Paper Collaborate to Bring You Custom Books
I am a fan of good notebooks and Moleskin makes some of the best. That a classy app like Paper teamed up with them should not be a surprise, but is certainly a pleasant one. It has led me to get back to sketching on my iPad so I can buy one of these books.

The Drones of Burning Man
Drone photography fascinates me. There are so many things I’d love to photograph using an aerial camera. This articles talks about the wonder and the practicality and the possible future of how drone photography will become part of our everyday.

These Time-Lapses Fit Into a Single Photo
Photographs capture a slice of time. One artist found a telling way to use slices to capture more than a single instance in one image.

Incredible Self-Portraits by 14 Year Old
A fantastic series of adventure.

Young Photographer Discovered by Band Creates Album Cover – Rosie Hardy
Digital tools can be liberating and life changing. Personal expression sometimes leads to rewards beyond expectations.

Why Make Prints?
Return to the Same Well
Two articles by John Paul Caponigro that answer a few questions about theory and practice as an artist.

David Maisel Interview
“I’m looking at landscape from a conceptual point of view. Politics and environment enter into it, but I’m primarily a visual artist, and I’m not making these pictures in order to change policy. If I was, I’d need to make very different kinds of pictures, and I’d position them very differently than I do.”

Angelo Merendino Photographed Every Stage of His Wife’s Cancer
As my cousin wrote, “Heart check. I passed.”

Spectacle Within an Argentine Limousine
Important Things are Said Softley by Myriam Meloni
There can be the image we project to others, the image we project to ourself, and the image of ourself we usually don’t see. This project captures all of those. The follow up story goes deeper and more personal into one of the subjects.

Creepy and Disturbing Vintage Halloween Photos
Anything can be used to make a costume and any costume can be creepy. Halloween photography should become its own genre. Here are some examples from the past.

Side By Side – The Science, Art, and Impact of Digital Cinema

Side by Side is a documentary movie in which Keanu Reeves interviews a bunch of directors and cinematographers and other people involved in the making of movies. He asked them what they think of film vs digital in the world of cinema. Explained along the way are the history of digital video cameras used in movies, as well as digital efex. All are expected topics that are well covered. What was a pleasent surprise was the survey of how digital cameras have changed the aesthetics of cinema and storytelling and the type of scenes you can create. This goes beyond the efex heavy ideas of Hollywood and starts with the ultra pure Dogme 95 movement.

That technology influences the movies is no surprise. It always has from its invention. Rotoscoping, soundtracks, talkies, color, wide screen. Like still photography, the technology of cinema is linked to film history. Changes in technology bring changes in storytelling. When digital video was first introduced, the cameras were much smaller than the film counterparts. This allowed for more handheld shooting and freewheeling scenes. It also allowed for angles that are harder to get with film cameras because of the weights of the cameras.

Digital cameras for longer takes, so scenes could be longer between cuts. The battery and storage has limitations, but they are usually an hour. Film is limited to about 10 minutes because of the physical nature of the film stock itself. This difference not only affects the editing process, but also the acting process. More takes can be done more quickly. Scenes can go longer, requiring more lines spoken and characterizations be maintained for longer. How stories get told can be influenced by the choice of the tool used to tell it.

There is also the matter of the movie’s budget. Digital can be a lot cheaper to shoot. It does not require the expensive cameras and film and development fees. On the other hand, it does require more work on the backend. Sound familiar? The result is that anyone can make a movie now. You do not have to have a Hollywood budget to make a film, or to disturibute it.

The documentary explains the entire filmmaking process from capture to storage. The details of the resolutions of the different videos cameras are shown. Mentioned, but not shown are the differences in color and latitude between film and the various video formats. The differences in quality are part of how the various filmmakers make their choice.

Reeves interviews with the filmmakers is interesting but a bit distracting. He doesn’t always ask insightful questions, and yet he still gets some insightful answers. Better still, the examples the filmmakers are talking about are shown. You can see for yourself the nuances of the different techniques.

In some senses, the debate can break down to one of nostalgia vs progress. But there is more to it than that. There is definitely a transition happening right now. Film is not dead. It is a viable choice with some benefits. But it is also obvious to even the diehard film advocates like Christopher Nolan that the choice is not going to be there in five to ten years.

The debate really starts coming down to the individual artists themselves and what they are hoping to accomplish. What do they need to tell the stories they want in the way they want to do so. All of this debate has been happening in the still world for just as long. All of the problems with stills exist for movies, too. The technological siblings are experiencing similar growing pains. In a way it is telling to see John Knoll interviewed in this film. He works for ILM, but is also co-creator, with his brother Thomas, of Photoshop.

As with some many other areas, digital tools are changing things. What is not changing is the desire to use tools to get the job done. In the end it is the result that is important, not how the result was achieved. How the work is done is the decision of the person doing it. The rest is just debate.