Lifestyle

My Instagram

An Instagrammer goes back to film, slowing down his process and observations

Jake Belcher

Jake Belcher, 35, has shown his digital photo abilities as a freelance photojournalist and a portrait photographer, but has made taking pictures on film a hobby he’s exploring. The Jamaica Plain resident likes to spend time wandering around Massachusetts, capturing photos of scenes and places people tend to overlook on his Instagram (@jakebphotog).

Q. Why shoot film vs. digital for your Instagram?

A. I shoot film because it’s not as predictable as digital. It’s kind of going back to slower process of photography. When I got into photography I was shooting film, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I now have a clear idea of what I want, and it’s nice to go back to film. It just makes photography feel new again, and I have to work at it more than with digital. Through Instagram I noticed you can use filters to make it look like film, and I realized, by just shooting film you don’t have to do anything to the photo to give it that look.

Q. Is there anything you like to shoot in particular?

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A. I’m always looking for something that looks out of place in the modern world, or things that don’t have a clearly defined time period. Coming from a documentary and photography background, I’m trying to capture those things that may not even be there next week. I just really like to capture things that seem to be from a different time period. I’m not necessarily tricking the viewer, just making them ask questions of when it could have been taken or how. A lot of time what I like to do is raise more questions than answers. I don’t put a lot in my captions or anything like that; I keep things pretty vague. I let the viewers come to their own conclusions.

Q. How do you find the places you shoot those photos?

A. I leave extra time when I’m driving to an assignment to get lost and take mental notes of places I want to go back and revisit. I get the most effective photos from just observing. I’m a strong advocate of just walking around for miles and finding interesting things that people just pass over. Coming from a newspaper background, I was often asked to take photos that would run in the paper but not necessarily with a story. Most of the time it was just something interesting I found from walking around, so taking pictures while I wander comes naturally to me now.

Q. What’s it like being apart of IGBoston?

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A. I got involved with it because I just wanted to get my work out to other Instagrammers living in Boston, I wanted to show how I saw Boston. I know that my style doesn’t necessarily go with IGBoston’s style from what I’ve seen, but I think that’s OK. It’s funny, I was featured for some work I was doing in Holyoke, and most people responded to it pretty well. Photography is just how people interpret things. For example, if people are photographing a beautiful mountain range, I’m looking for something else that’s in the area. I have a shot on Instagram from when I was in the Smoky Mountains, and I found the bathroom more interesting because the pipes were exposed, I got more satisfaction shooting that than beautiful landscape. That’s just how I see things.

Q. Do you have a message you’re trying to portray in your Instagram?

A. My Instagram is to show a different perspective on the everyday, maybe it’s the things people walk by and don’t pay attention to, or take for granted. Just take a little longer to take life in.

Lexi Peery can be reached at lexi.peery@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @LexiFP.
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