Ansel Adams, the photographer and environmentalist whose black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West are highly regarded, once said, ‘A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.’
Even more beautiful are the words of Yann Arthus-Bertrand who said, ‘The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.’
Whilst Cape Town’s instagrammers capture the beauty of the landscape – mountains, seas, skies; Johannesburg Instagrammers are having a love affair with the inner city; the grunge of Jozi’s Maboneng, Braamfontein, and Berea. Their pictures, like their city, are intense, introspective, frank and bold.
Here are 15 artists on Instagram that paint a picture of Johannesburg that cannot be contained in words…
Gareth Pon has a large following. The first thing he does on waking in the morning is check his Instagram feed, and the second thing is to post a picture.
He’s considered the leader of the SA pack of instagrammers having won Best Instagrammer in Africa in the first annual African Blogger Awards. He’s also behind the Johannesburg Instagram community Igers Jozi.
Levon is one of those photographers who transforms the ordinary into something extraordinary. The young photographer uses only his iPhone when recognising the beautiful in the ordinary.
His city grunge scenes are particularly iconic. He is named after The Band’s drummer, Levon Helm and is happiest when playing, or writing, music.
Named one of the 30 top instagrammers in the world, Uncle Scrooch, or Ofentse Mwase, started to take Instagram seriously only when a friend of his told him his Instagram photos were crap (he’s a cinematographer by profession).
He uses only his iPhone. Instagram has made him more aware of the beauty of the world around us.
Roy Potterill describes himself as a man about town and a motorcycle enthusiast. He’s also proudly South African and his pictures bear testimony to the fact, as do his 134 000 followers.
His day job is as co-founder of Mobile Media Mob – a mobile content agency. Best known for turning bits of daily city life into art.
Tim says he’ll do almost anything. Almost. His more than 2 700 followers enjoy his experiential pictures of Johannesburg’s landscape and urban scenes.
He says Instagram is group therapy, a linear timeline of how one grows. He doesn’t post many square images to Instagram.
Alexi Portokallis is in-love with Joburg, and it shows. His pictures have a creative edge that defies his recruitment consultant day job.
He loves the city centre; a great space for compelling shots.
Alessio La Ruffa tells street stories with pictures. His Johannesburg street scenes are epic, even though he lives in Pretoria.
He sees himself as a visual storyteller; mobile photographer, or simply a ‘geek doing stuff’. His name, he says, was hard for the kids to pronounce at school. He’s featured by Instagram on their suggested users list.
Savanah Beechey is a Jo’burg-based graphic design student with over 17 000 followers on her Instagram account. She sees Jozi as her New York; a melting pot of fashion, subcultures and ideas.
She too loves the inner city and sees her style as urban bohemian. She’s been selected for the DKNY MYNY campaign.
Brad Roberts does not see himself as an iphonographer. He just takes photos with his iPhone, which he loves because it is always on you. He sometimes works as long as four hours on an image, when he’s inspired, and he only posts what he’s proud of.
Like many of the Joburg instagrammers, he focuses on the inner city. He shares a name with the lead singer of the folk-rock band Crash Test Dummies.
Angie Batis Durrant loves excellent pretty things. She is a freelance art director, co-owns Father Coffee, runs the blog Lucky Pony, and sees her style as ‘documentative’, but ‘in a very loose and easy way’.
She takes photos of anything that will trigger a memory. She can dance with her eyes closed and hardly ever bump into anything…
Paris Bueller is a fashion photographer based in Johannesburg who has been on Instagram for three years. She has over 2 000 followers and sees her style as documentary-style.
She loves beauty and strangeness in everyday life; colours, architecture, art, people and shapes.
Heather Mason runs a brilliant blog about Johannesburg, called 2summers. She is an American living in Johannesburg, and has over 24 000 followers on Instagram.
She’s been listed as one of 10 Joburgers you have to follow on Twitter, and one of the best travel bloggers to look out for in 2015. Her photos capture the essence of Jo’burg living.
Don’t let the fact that he’s travelling Europe at the moment put you off following Innocent Mukheli (his mom calls him Fhatuwani, the streets call him Steaz).
He is one of the top 19 Instagrammers in SA, according to the Mail & Guardian, and is a third of the photographic collective I See a Different You, from Soweto. But it is his clean, carefree images that dominate.
Meghan Holmes drinks tea, eats good food and climbs trees, once in a while. She also has a brother and a friend she calls the other big brother. She has a refreshing view on the world and her portraits are interesting.
Meghan might not have quite the followings of the former instagrammers, but her pics of Johannesburg are quirky, provocative and refreshing. There is something unusual yet striking about her take on things.
Johannesburg’s hipster sailor is a designer, interior architect, urbanist, activist and photographer. Calvin has a huge following, which isn’t too surprising given his propensity for capturing the angles and solid lines of Jo’burg’s buildings.
Calvin’s monochrome affair with the city’s architecture looks past the dirt and grime of the inner city and inspires.