Short Documentary Follows the Real Life Adventures of the Instagram Community

Instagram is a lot of things: a photography app, a social network, a way to express yourself and a cause for headaches for the photographers who aren’t trilled by the concept. For the most adamant of Instagram users, however, Instagram is a community.

And it’s that community that filmmaker Paul Tellefsen sought to connect with when he chose to create the above short documentary Instagram is.

This short film actually started out as an assignment for a class at UT Dallas. A senior, Tellefsen was asked to create a trailer for a fake movie. But in the process of creating the trailer, he decided to turn the fake film into a real film by visiting with and capturing the real lives of some of prolific Instagram users.


The users that Tellefsen featured in the documentary are Allison Anderson (@allistrange), Kyle Steed (@kylesteed) and Brenton Little (@brenton_clarke), and each discusses what Instagram means to them and how it has changed their lives.

Strange, to think that a photography app could have such a significant impact on people, but it seems that each of the three has gotten back from Instagram something more than they’ve put it. For Tellefsen, Instagram is “reviving adventure, face to face community & real relationships,” a digital app that is pulling people back into the real world.

To find out more about the project, check out the video at the top or visit the Instagram is website here.

(via Laughing Squid)

  • Trythe1

    why do these articles keep getting posted on here?! Instagram, for wannabe photographers who are too lazy to learn proper technique and feed off praise for mediocre work

  • D.A.Hudson

    Instagram is what ” is ” right now until something else pops up. Mixed feelings , seems like the youth of today are just sheep whatever is the coolest laziest thing to do is what they want.

  • Mike

    Instagram is a shaky camera

  • Mike

    Also, how inferior must one feel to produce a half hour video, containing attempts to justify and argue for using isntagram specifically?

  • Banan Tarr

    Well this story’s hipster quota has certainly been met :)

  • Sid Ceaser

    Here is the weird thing though everyone likes to feel like they are part of a club. It can be any kind of club; a Leica club. A Hasselblad club. A Nikon Club. A Wet-Plate club. An 8×10 film camera club. And it isn’t just for photography enthusaists either – you can be in an Anime club, or a video game club, or a club about people who love scooters, or books, or music, or films, or thimbles, or butter knives.
    Instagram is simply a club or community. It’s built on groups of people looking to share something together – and what that “something” is can be made up of millions of unique things. It gives people a chance to meet, interact with one another, and, in the case of instagram, it causes creativy. Why are we taking bad about something made for free that drives people to want to communicate with each other by way of creatvity?
    Maybe it’s a fad. But I bet there will be enough people left over when the dust settles and people move on to the Next Popular Thing that the community will thrive. Which will continue to create groups of people who are communicating and brought together by photography and taking and creating pictures. Then posting and talking about them.
    I know it’s great to hate on trendy, popular things, and Instagram is just the latest in a long list of Things To Hate, but I be y’all who read PetaPixel and contribute by leaving comments are members of some kind of club. I bet most of those clubs aren’t even *called* clubs. It’s just something you do with like minded peers that brings you together with a group and lets you express your individuality while at the same time gives you a chance to share that with others.
    Which is what Instagram does. Only it does it on a world wide scale. People being brought together with pictures.
    I have an instagram account; I use it to take pictures when I don’t feel like breaking out my “real” gear. I like the filters. It keeps me creative and thinking about the fundamentals of art (line, tone, texture, shape, color, etc) when I’m standing in line somewhere. Or when I’m having a picnic. Or when I’m just walking down the street to the bank.
    And I’m sure the last thing those two guys in their red union suits think about is being Hipster and using a Trendy Hipster App (because, man, y’all sure like to point that sh*t out at them) because they are spending too much time having fun jumping around in their longjohns having fun and taking pictures. Which is what you all out there should be doing – having fun. Creating pictures. Visually communicating. Creating. Being Inspired.
    Just because some of you might think Instagram is a Flavor Of The Month, the community that supports Instagram is proving you wrong. Don’t think of it negatively and instead think of it as something that exists that help people develop new friendships, to think creatively, and to have fun and share in the process.
    Good for them for making this video to champion what they are passionate about. I wish more people made mini documentaries about what *they* are passionate about and the connections it has made them.

  • donniefitz2

    Was that a commercial or a “documentary”?

  • olafs_osh

    jup. it’s just a big piece of advert. WTF this doing here? unless PP gets his cut, there’s no reason.

  • 3ric15

    Ok seriously who cares about Instagram. I thought this blog was for real photography.

  • Mansgame

    I couldn’t sit through 10 seconds of that garbage. Sorry.

  • Bill E. Lytton

    Most current, least effort. If an ‘instagrammer’ is a good photographer, fair enough. But the modus operandi in about 90% seems to be: picture of anything + filter = good picture.

  • Brixton

    So conflicted. I think people like Instagram so much because your friends are on there and there’s no other site that is so accessible to everyone, no matter what skill level, photography-wise. I like Instagram but all the docs and videos I’ve seen on it are so cliche and hipster filled that I can’t take them seriously.

  • D John Young

    I just ventured here and don’t see that response at all. Photography skills doesn’t seem to be the primary focus, it’s more raw journalistic fun!

  • D John Young

    yeah, convenience is a big part of it- and immediacy! Art should be fun, no?

  • D John Young

    Communication is key, not the photograph. You’re very analytical, there’s a great career for you!

  • D John Young

    Funniest response I’ve seen yet.

  • D John Young

    …the negativism is really necessary, stick to the one liners.

  • D John Young

    …wait, this is the best response! Many negative comments, yours has flair, at the least.

  • D John Young

    Well put, Poncho! People are having fun and connecting. I’m getting tired of Facebook. Great to see there are new alternatives…

  • D John Young

    A commercial documentary… they’re called infomercials, I think.

  • D John Young

    Go for it!

  • D John Young

    We all deal with creative tolerance.

  • D John Young

    I’ll have to check ‘em out. I hope the experience doesn’t leave me with conflict…

  • ISO640

    I know a guy who is a fairly decent photographer, and works all the time to improve his skills. However, his only “camera” is an iPhone. He likes the challenge of trying to take great photos with the tool at hand. Chase Jarvis, a pro photog, shoots daily with his iPhone (or so he claims). Just because you use Instagram doesn’t make you a lazy, wannabe photog without skills. Sometimes it’s about using a different format or medium to expand your creativity.

    Of course, your reply lines up with what “real” artists used to say about photographers when photography was coming into its own.

  • Mansgame

    This is an infomercial by talent-less hipsters. Nothing creative about it.

  • Frank McKenna

    This is actually pretty awesome for a school project. I think the photography they document and the videography is great. I liked it.

  • austin

    it’s not sharing your life, people don’t just go around carrying an american flag, waving it through fields. all I see is a bunch of hip kids sharing what they want you to think their life is like, when in reality their life is “here pose like this so I can get immediate attention for looking cool on the internet.” when it’s cheap & accessable to every single person carrying an iphone, it’s no longer creative – it’s a trend & trends aren’t unique & trends aren’t art.