Dave Krugman came to Instagram three years ago with old cameras and a mild interest in the platform. It was there, however, that he saw work that energized him creatively, and he sought to meet the people whose work he found inspiring. Over time, his audience grew, and he managed to get on board with major institutions – the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art among them – to help them with their Instagram presence. Now, Krugman is the Social Editor at BBDO, and he’s been experimenting with Hyperlapse, Instagram’s newest creation. He’s partnering with Skillshare to teach a series of classes on it.
Here, he shares a bit his process, his growth alongside Instagram, and his story. Check him out on Instagram.
Phoblographer: How did you get your start in photography, and who’s influenced you along the way?
Dave: Both my father and grandfather were photography enthusiasts. My father would always have a camera in his hand, and as soon as I was old enough to use one, I started shooting alongside him. To this day, I still shoot with lenses and equipment that my grandfather bought back in his time. Old Nikon glass, Leica and Hasselblad as well. It means so much to me to be able to use the same equipment. What has changed my photography more than anything is the people that I’ve met through Instagram. Some names that come to mind are @jnsilva, @samalive, @
samthecobra, and@ravivora, to name a few.
Phoblographer: When did you first join Instagram, and when did you see your audience really take off?
Dave: I first joined Instagram about three years ago- and just used it casually at first. I began to find people on the platform who were doing really incredible work- work I never imagined I could find on the platform. After meeting up with people over and over, and being constantly amazed at the creative energy in the community, I got more and more involved. My audience really took off by just continually meeting and engaging with new people. One of the things that really helped me break into the community was my work for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Phoblographer: Your images have this cinematic aesthetic that could be achieved any number of ways. Do you embrace or eschew Instagram’s filters?
Dave: I generally eschew the filters that are built into Instagram- I just find I have more creative control if I use third party apps like VSCO Cam, Mextures, and Snapseed.
Phoblographer: What’s one of the most difficult things about community building on Instagram?
Dave: I think the most difficult thing about building community on Instagram is that it takes a long time to build up numbers, and people get really caught up in that. The real power of Instagram is in the real world connections you can build by using this incredible communications tool. I can’t even begin to describe what an impact it has had on my life.
Phoblographer: There’s a strong geometrical aspect to many of your images. Is that something you consciously shoot for, or is it something innate?
Dave: I think the strong geometrics in my images are a natural result of the way I see and compose a scene. I love pattern, symmetry, and also breaking those themes- I think these elements add up to produce a geometric style. Also I mainly shoot in New York- which is an incredible geometric city.
Phoblographer: Your cityscapes are marked by good color and careful composition. How do you avoid repetition in your cityscapes, and when is your favorite time to shoot them?
Dave: I shoot whenever I have time- and I enjoy the different forms of light and the various challenges that arise from different times of day. Shooting in the rain is my current favorite method- the entire world transforms. My composition is very planned out- as well as the way I do color treatments.
Phoblographer: When you photograph on the street, what has to happen in the frame in order for you to press the shutter?
Dave: When I walk down the street with my camera, I’m always looking at the world around me, looking for the intersections of subjects, light, composition, perspective, juxtaposition, etc. If enough elements come together in one place- that is the decisive moment.
Phoblographer: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new photographers?
Dave: The best advice I could give to new photographers is to shoot as many photographs as you possibly can. Share your best work with online social communities- to get feedback and to be inspired by the work of others. When you are ready, meet up with other photographers of a similar skill level and help each other push the limits. Experience is the only teacher when it comes to learning the secrets of light.