We’re back with our second episode of PopFollows. This time around, we’ve once again cast a wide net to include a healthy mix of image makers, photography organizations and photo educators. These Instagram accounts not only post great work, but also provide powerful, informative, and educational captions to go along with them.
Do you know a must-have photo account on Instagram? We are always looking for more photographers to feature. To get on our radar and be considered for future lists, tag @PopPhotoMag and use the hashtag #PopFollows on a future post.
Joe McNally Photo, @joemcnallyphoto
One of the many things that makes Joe McNally’s Instagram feed a must-have for almost any photographer is that McNally’s vast body of work – shot over a span of more than 40 years – encompasses so many photographic genres, including portraiture, photojournalism, documentary, sports, landscapes and cityscapes, street photography, etc. Additionally, since McNally is a gifted teacher, having taught wildly popular photography classes on lighting, portraiture, and other subjects, some of those lessons appear in his captions. McNally will also occasionally reveal behind-the-scenes stories about well-known snaps. For example, McNally describes her work with martial artist Dan Anderson in an Instagram post as “going through a precise series of movements analyzed via strobe flash. Combined (with) triple exposure programmed into the camera, coupled (with) wireless guidelines to flashes. Incredible and disciplined athlete, at the top of his game.
Dina Litovsky, @dina_litovsky
Dina Litovsky is an award-winning photographer, who has published work in National geographic, The New York Times magazine, TIME, New Yorker, and many other publications. In 2020 she also won the Nannen Prize, Germany’s top prize for documentary photography. What’s intriguing about the work of this Ukraine-born, New York-based editorial photographer is that she tends to avoid the most obvious or sensational types of subjects. Instead, Litovsky focuses on seemingly more mundane or subtle subjects or moments. His Instagram profile also includes a link to a great resource for documentary photographers: his newsletter, In The Flash—Adventures in the Unseen World of Photography. For example, one of his newsletter entries talks about his “flying off the wall with permission” approach to filming a personal project of the Amish on vacation in Pinecraft, Florida.
Lynsey Addario, @lynseyaddario
One of the many things that makes Lynsey Addario such a compelling photojournalist is her ability to take an issue and portray it in an unforgettable way. Often it’s because she fearlessly focuses on the most vulnerable: victims of assault, breast cancer survivors and refugees, mostly women and children, who have been forced to flee their homes. More recently, it appears she has included Earth among the most vulnerable, as she captured the effects of climate change by photographing the California wildfires and South Sudan floods in 2021. Addario is also posting calls for the action on her feed, as she did when Afghanistan recently fell to the Taliban in August last year. On August 20, 2021, she posted a heartbreaking collection of incredible images of Afghan women studying at school and a graduation photo of several Afghan women, in caps and gowns. In the caption, she writes, “What do Afghan women stand to lose as the Taliban regains control of Afghanistan? Perhaps the right to education, from primary level to university across the country…. It would be devastating to take away the gift of knowledge from Afghan girls and women moving forward if the Taliban fails to fulfill their promise to keep schools open and accessible to girls and women of all ages.
Mark Seliger, @markseliger
Mark Seliger’s Instagram feed captions, which accompany his iconic portraits of musicians and celebrities, are often a few paragraphs long, but they’re always worth reading. Partly because the subtitles have a very casual conversational style, it’s like you just met him in a coffee shop and he really wanted to tell what it was like to meet and work with these iconic characters . For example, Seliger recently posted a beautiful black-and-white double portrait of iconic singers Alison Krauss and Robert Plant that he photographed for vanity lounge. In the caption, he wrote, “Remember when ‘Raising Sand’ came out? The beauty of two worlds collided with the help of @tboneburnettofficial and it was pure magic,” then describes meeting the former Led Zep singer: “Once I landed in Nashville, I miraculously came across @robertplantofficial in the lobby of my hotel. I was a bit shy to say hello, but he was delightfully charming and set the stage for a relaxed session the next day.
Mary Virginia Swanson, @maryvirginiaswanson
If you create fine art photography, you may already know the name Mary Virginia Swanson. But if you don’t, you’ll want to get better acquainted with her and her Instagram feed. That’s because Swanson is one of the most knowledgeable and helpful promoters for aspiring photographers. For example, in the areas of fine art photography licensing and marketing, she has been among the most sought-after consultants and educators. She is also an author, often gives conferences and leads workshops. Additionally, Swanson frequently serves as a judge in contemporary photography and photobook competitions. What’s great about her feed is that she’ll post informative upcoming conferences, call for applications, dates for portfolio reviews, and more.
International Center of Photography (ICP), @icp
In the book of photographs, “Reflections in a Glass Eye”, which is a wonderful anthology of work held by the International Center of Photography (ICP) and published on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, Ellen Handy, curator of the ‘ICP, begins his essay on the organization’s collection by writing: “Above all, photography is the art of seeing, which offers us ways of seeing the world through eyes other than our own. In the next paragraph, she begins: “By their very existence, photographic collections in museums pose the question: ‘What is photography?’ and everyone responds differently. ICP’s Instagram account works the same way, showcasing a variety of posts that further its mission of showcasing exceptional work and educating the public about what great photography is all about. Articles include news on upcoming exhibitions, special offers and discounts on photography workshops, details on conferences, online discussions, and more.
John Keefover, @keefography
John Keefover, who also goes by the nickname “Keef”, is based in Duluth, Minnesota, where most of his subjects are also located. Picture after picture, Keefover’s mission is “to show you what makes the North Shore of Lake Superior and the Arrowhead area so unique.” In doing so, he has created a powerful portfolio of remarkable images from this region, which you can view on his feed.
World Press Photo, @worldpressphoto
Since 1955, this Amsterdam-based, independent, non-profit photographic foundation has annually awarded prizes to the best photojournalism projects. The competition is international, and each year the winning photos are presented in a traveling exhibition. Photojournalists who submit their work compete for the World Press Photo of the Year award, as well as other categories including Spot News, General News, Daily Life, to name a few. The World Press Photo Instagram account often posts photos and photo groups of photographers who have won in previous years.
Julia Fullerton-Batten, @julia_fullertonbatten
Julia Fullerton-Batten is a unique London-based fine art photographer who often creates elaborate, colorful sets with cinematic lighting and populated by figures dressed in period costume. His intricate, highly textured, layered images are also usually created as a series of images used to tell a particular story or, more recently, to solve a particular problem. Her most recent series, “Looking From Within,” addresses the effects of the pandemic on everyday life. Fullerton-Batten’s Instagram feed also includes posts featuring many of her art images themselves, as well as photos from her exhibitions, magazine interviews, behind-the-scenes photos, a few selfies, and more.
Stephen Wilkes, @stephenwilkes
Stephen Wilkes is an editorial, commercial and fine art photographer who has worked in New York City since the early 1980s. He has also worked as a documentary filmmaker and public speaker. In fact, he even has his own Ted Talk. Wilkes’ photographs have appeared in and on the covers of many prominent publications and are in many prominent museum collections. But it’s his personal projects that are among his most impressive, including his most recent series, “Day to Night,” which he began in 2009. In these epic cityscapes and landscapes, Wilkes takes hundreds of images from a fixed camera angle for up to 30 hours to capture the fleeting moments of a scene as light flashes past its lens over the course of a full day. He then blends different parts of these images into a single photograph. (The “Day to Night” book was published by TASCHEN as a monograph in 2019.) You can find a great selection of images from his “Day to Night” series, explained with many captions, on his Instagram feed.