Interview with Philippe Gonzalez, Founder of Instagramers


PastBook are big fans of Instagramers, the passionate photo-loving community with representative groups all around the world. Through this network of creatives, you can learn tips to improve your skills, attend Instameets, enter competitions, and discover exciting new users to follow.

We were honoured to be able to interview Philippe Gonzalez (@PhilGonzalez) about his insights into Instagram and looking back over the past couple of years since founding this amazing community in January 2011. Here’s what he had to say:


Q1. How often to you look back over your Instagram photos, and what are your impressions when you do? Are you surprised at how many you have taken, or the places you have been?

I do not really look back over my Instagram pics very often. I do it when I need to send a pic for an interview like this one and want to look for my favorite ones…  What astonishes me is how few pics I uploaded these last months! At the beginning of my Instagram addiction, I used to post one or two pics a day. Now it´s one or two posts a week. The explanation is easy. I spend much more time publishing on my @igers accounts and promoting the Instagramers community development than my own stream contribution. Another thing that surprises me is that I suddenly switched to Hipstamatic Black and White pics a year or so ago, after a long period of HDR… I paint on canvas in black and white for years now, that is probably the reason.

The Christ of Corcovado by @PhilGonzalez


Q2. Can you share with us some of your favourite IG photographs you have taken, and the story or memory behind them?

The most important pics that come to my mind are very different really. One of them is probably The Christ of Corcovado in the top of the hills of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We climbed very late to the hill and the Sky was cloudy. It was complicated to do black and white pics with Hipstamatic (my fav photo app) as it gives a darken effect… And it was already quite late. But suddenly the sun appeared for a few minutes and I took the chance to shoot a few pics of the counterlit image of the Christ and tiny people visiting the monument. A strange atmosphere.

Another one is probably Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 world champion, at McLaren boxes during Monza Grand Prix last year. I was invited by @johniewalker to cover the Grand Prix from the inside, as a professional photographer. And I lived a wonderful experience. One of my favourites is Hamilton´s loneliness when he is about to jump into his car before the race.




Lewis Hamilton by @Philgonzalez

Q3.  Previously you have stated that “one of your favourite things to do is to look at the first pictures posted by some of the most regular and recognised users today.” Certainly the arrival of Instagram presented new creative opportunities and constraints to photographers, and started a new wave of mobile photography.

Yes. I used to do it but now the streams of the users are much too deep and to go to the beginning can take a lot of time. However when they are brand new, I always try to understand their evolution on the app. Most of the time, like me, they switched several times from one style to another. It´s true that my blogger´s editor side drives me to discover new people on Instagram everyday. And it´s really interesting as I open my eyes to new trends… people using Instagram to promote their photographies or their sculptures or their poetry… Instagram gives so many opportunities!

Can you provide some examples of how Instagram has developed or evolved users’ style of photography to this mobile application?

I think Instagram has been the real revolution and birth of Mobile Photography. Even if some “purists” say that Mobile Photography existed well before (and I do agree), Instagram made it to the front pages of main newspapers in the world and TV and really boosted mobile photography to the forefront as a new form of art.
I worked for many years at Orange (France Telecom Mobile company) and used since the beginning mobile photography, videos, and different technologies, but nothing really happened or caught media’s interest until Instagram appeared.
I think all Instagramers have evolved their styles. None of us are protected from new trends, new edition apps and Instagram possibilities… So we all evolve some ways!


Q4.  Some people use Instagram as a way of story telling, like in street photography. At times it can even be a form of photojournalism. In your opinion, who are some of the best story-tellers in the Igers community, or some interesting examples?

It would be unfair to rank who are the best story tellers as we are millions and I haven’t got the possibility to know them all. However I will talk about some people I follow who have a special tooth in the story telling in very different ways.

@cachafaz An Argentinian guy living in Austin who gives an opportunity to homeless people to express themselves on Instagram. @olaquerompe Alessandra writes beautiful poetry, reflection and words below her pics… Usually sea at sunset. Beautiful pictures. @Osnuflaz tells stories… Funny stories of a T-Rex lost in our modern times!

By @cachafaz
By @olaquerompe
By @Osnuflaz












Q5. Finally, have you ever printed your photos from Instagram, for yourself or for someone else? What do you like about seeing a photo in printed format, compared to digital format?

I think quality pics deserve quality printing. I have used many services related to Instagram´s printing services and I think that sharing your pics on an album is much more impressive than a screen shot. I think printed photography will not disappear.
Photo web browsing or through a cellular screen is really cool and facilitates worldwide sharing in few seconds… But for quality and important pictures in your life.. we will go on printing our pics! And PastBook printing is definitely awesome by the way!


Thanks so much Philippe for sharing your insights! Make sure you join your local Instagramers community and get involved to make the most of your Instagram experience!



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