Five Best January #Chicagogram Photos

Photographer Tyler Curtis picks his favorite pics from around the city tagged #chicagogram

Tyler Curtis is the creator and editorial director of photography company Darkroom Demons, and a notable music and fashion photographer. Here's his favorite #Chicagogram Instagram pictures, chosen from among the curated photos in our January Gallery.

Instagram changed everything. People who never took photos suddenly found their eye, making what used to be mundane minutiae into something magnificent. Communities have formed around hashtags, artists and celebrities found themselves conversing with everyday folk around the world. As photographers, Instagram enables us to constantly be challenged and connected to each other, enabling inspiration at our fingertips every time we check in.

The greatest things about Instagram include the ability to tell a story, the malleability in which we tell the story with filters or post processing, and the social interaction that follows. The worst thing about Instagram? The fear of missing out. With so much happening in real time, we can get a little jealous of all the good times happening without us. Especially when our friends tag us wondering where we are.

GALLERY: January #Chicagogram Photos.

For my selections, I was keen to find "IGers" that only use their smartphones with minimal post process to fit with the theme of the starkness of winter. Instagram has become a wondrous showcase for professional photographers and artists (like @Roachbytes, who I reluctantly left out) who do more than just take a photo. Some upload pictures from DSLRs and others work them over with incredible skill in photoshop or other third-party apps. Other factors included: Composition, mystery and impact. Its easy to take a photo of a familiar place, but to me, the gift lies in creating a dialogue that takes us out of ourselves and, ultimately, leaves us wanting more.

Bertrand Balloons
User: @aglet
Sara V is a moderator for the @IGersChicago community and really knows how to push the envelope with her smart phone. I almost couldn’t believe this was real. The last thing I think of when it comes to a morning visit to a frozen Lake Michigan is bringing balloons of considerable girth.

There’s No Place Like Home
User: @Adoette
"Nurse, Nerd and Dreamer" Courtney Christoff wins for best color in an Instagram in the lot with this surreal fog/cloud cover at dusk over our stunning grid. One of the best "in-the-moment" snaps I’ve seen in a long time on every level as well as a prime example of a non-photographer getting a powerful image thanks solely to serendipity.

Primary Color
User: @614ScottSmith
More often than not people don’t fool or know how to mess with their metering on their smartphone cameras, but plenty of camera and post process apps can help out. This silhouetted capture is a great display of composition, feeling almost like an illustration.

"No Todo Es Que Lo Parece"
User: @Madjorch
Less can always be more. This whimsical and minimalist snap grabbed me quicker than most because I questioned what I saw, it was completely different than everything else, and the caption was brilliant ("Not everyting is what it seems"). @Madjorch has a stream that brings the viewer into little worlds of design and color. A nice change from bad photos of food.

User: @Patrick_Sexton
Train culture is a significant subject matter of choice on #chicagogram. This soft rack focus is a great editorial shot that relieves us from the constant over used grainy HDR techniques we see in our feeds. He claims to be colorblind, but his feed is one of the more inventive and intense explorations of Chicago’s architecture and pedestrian culture all shot on an iPhone with Snapseed and some other post processing apps.
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