The Art Of Photography Assignment 51

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With more than 100 million U.S. users on Instagram, finding the best accounts to follow can lead you down the rabbit hole. For the second year running, TIME LightBox selects the 51 users you must follow in each and every state, plus D.C.

By Olivier Laurent

Alabama

Alyssa Vaphiades

@alyssarosev

A portrait and wedding photographer, Vaphiades uses Instagram to network and promote her work, but also to express how she feels. “I love to convey color and emotion in my feed,” she says. And colorful it is – from the portraits of friends, artists and models to Alabama’s landscapes.

Alaska

Ash Adams

@ashadamsphoto

Adams’ Instagram feed offers a window into the distant state, away from the clichés. “Alaska and its peoples are often mythologized in one way or another, and I’m interested in visually shaking that up,” she says. “We’re not all out watching the northern lights every night or summiting a peak or shooting guns.” Instead, she’s interested in showing Alaskans’ daily lives as well the state’s quirks.

Arizona

Donjay

@donjay

For many people immersed in the Instagram universe, Donjay is a familiar name. The photographer uses some of the visual tropes that have defined Instagram – a combination of colorful landscapes and beautiful models – while still offering a unique take on the state of Arizona.

Arkansas

Jeff Rose

@thejeffrose

Rose’s creative career started with pencils and brushes, but quickly the camera took precedence. Now, he’s shooting for brands and sharing on Instagram a portfolio of his best images of Arkansas’ wilderness.

California

Jonpaul Douglass

@jonpauldouglass

An established commercial photographer, Douglass has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands – including Instagram and Apple. His feed is a window into his creative mind. “I like to incorporate humor, absurdity and surrealism,” he says. “My images tend to be very minimal and design-driven.”

Colorado

Benjamin Rasmussen

@benjaminras

A photojournalist by trade, Rasmussen was first drawn to Instagram for its ability to create connection with people. “Scrolling through Instagram is a unique experience because you are interacting with your friends’ lives and then with the lives of others vastly different from you,” he says. And for anyone following Rasmussen, his feed offers a look at his assignment work.

Connecticut

Greg Miller

@gregmillerfoto

Miller’s archives are impressive. He has thousand of images all shot on 8×10 film, and since May, he’s been sharing them on a daily basis. “Instagram gets me to think about my images as a larger, never-ending body of work about the human experience: sad, funny, beautiful and solitary,” he says.

Delaware

Nicholas Pritchett

@nicholasjared

Pritchett got his start in photography with Instagram, learning to shoot and edit his photographs by looking at the work of other Instagram users. Now, he shares his “observations of simple things,” he says, “our travels, scenes around our home, our daughter.”

Florida

Brian Ladder

@brianladder

Thanks to cultural touchstones like Miami Vice, Florida is synonymous with pastel colors. Ladder’s feed is no exception to the rule. Pristine beaches and colorful sunsets are plentiful, offering a paradise-like picture of Florida.

Georgia

Kelia Anne MacCluskey

@kelianne

A graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design, MacCluskey quickly realized that her Instagram feed could reach more people than a traditional website. And she’s right. “It’s amazing the amount of exposure you can receive from a simple, well executed iPhone photograph,” she says. Her images, heavily inspired by art and fashion, are carefully crafted and always stunning.

Hawaii

Ha’a Keaulana

@haakeaulana

A self-proclaimed surftographer, Ha’a mixes self-portraits with dazzling views of Hawaii’s beaches and waves. The result is a calling card for the Aloha State – one that has brought brands’ attention to Keaulana.

Idaho

Josh Packer

@packtography

With no formal background in photography, Packer always looks to learn new techniques – and Instagram has been an immense source of inspiration for the Ammon-based photographer. “I use Instagram to share my perspective of Idaho and what makes it great,” he says. “Whether it’s an old barn at sunset, photographing a fresh snowfall, or catching a sunrise on the Tetons, I want others to know that Idaho is much more than just potatoes.”

Illinois

Ellie Pritts

@elliepritts

Pritts likes to bring her backgrounds in technology, photography and design together in everything she does. She’s the creator of a collaborative photo app (@hippoapp), for example. And her Instagram feed reflects that approach, offering a different look at Illinois.

Indiana

Skyler Wagoner

@skylerwagoner

A complete unknown until he made our list last year for the state of Indiana, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight, once again, Wagoner’s work. “Being selected brought more life to my work,” he says. And we can feel it in the photographs he shares of his friends and his home state.

Iowa

Danny Wilcox Frazier

@dannywilcoxfrazier

A renowned photojournalist, Wilcox Frazier has photographed “people struggling to survive the economic shift that has devastated rural communities throughout America,” he says, including in his home state of Iowa. Brought together, his images become an ode to our country through all of its imperfections.

Kansas

Jim Richardson

@jimrichardsonng

For the last 32 years, Richardson has shot for National Geographic and in 2012, he made the bet to start sharing some of his award-winning photographs on Instagram at a time when “a lot of photographers were scratching their heads about why you’d want to give your pictures away for free,” he says. Now, with more than 365,000 followers, it’s safe to say that he made the right bet.

Kentucky

Justin Gilliland

@justin.gilliland

Gilliland’s interest in photography started when his friends in middle school in downtown Louisville didn’t believe him when he said he lived on a farm. Since then, he strives to make photographs that make people curious. On Instagram, the photojournalist shares his vision of Kentucky.

Louisiana

William Widmer

@misterwidmer

Widmer might be photojournalist, but his Instagram feed is not just a collection of images he makes on the job. Instead, he uses his dispatches from the Gulf Coast and the Deep South to talk about environmental issues and the human ecology of the region, he says. The result is a stunning series of images with perspective.

Maine

Mark Fleming

@mfphoto

There’s something about the fall colors coupled with Maine’s stunning coast that make anyone dream of a road trip to the country’s north-easternmost state, and Fleming captures that essence beautifully on his feed. As he says on one of his photos all you need is to “drive slow, breathe deep, and always carry a camera.”

maryland

Noah Scialom

@noahagain

In Scialom’s world, Maryland in general and Baltimore in particular has soul. His photographs are not just snapshots of what he sees around him, they’re as much about himself. “My whole focus is on expressing exactly what I feel in a moment, be it joy or fear or ambiguity itself,” he says. “I like to show people things from places they may never have been, in a way they may never have thought about it. Even if it’s seemingly commonplace, there is always a new way to look at things.”

Massachusetts

Smita Jacob

@hoggerandco

There’s one reason why Boston dominates Jacob’s feed: “The city continues to take my breath away,” she says. Jacob grew up in Botswana, but for the past five years, she calls Boston her home. Through her pictures, there’s no doubt about it, the city has won her over.

Michigan

Brittany Greeson

@brittanygreeson

Greeson might still be new to Michigan, but the photojournalist is, without doubt, committed to the state. “The purpose of my feed is to act as a pair of eyes for people who can’t be physically present. [When I covered] Flint’s water crisis, Instagram was a crucial way to remind people the daily struggles that the residents of Flint were facing. It was a way for me to be like ‘Hey! This is still going on. These people don’t have clean water. Listen!'”

Minnesota

Alec Soth

@littlebrownmushroom

You’re never quite sure what you’ll find on Soth’s Instagram feed. “I use Instagram primarily as something like a photographic sketchbook – a place to play informally with the medium,” says the famed Magnum photographer. And the results are varied – from selfies to conceptual setups – but always surprising and enlightening.

Mississippi

Ashleigh Coleman

@ashleighcoleman

Coleman’s photographs are as much about herself as they are about Mississippi. Her goal, she says, is to see afresh that which is familiar and commonplace, and through the photos of her and her family, she’s taking us along for the ride.

Missouri

Barrett Emke

@barrettemke

Emke got hooked on photography when, hidden away in a darkroom, he saw the latent image slowly become visible in the developer. On his Instagram he shares a bit of everything from commissioned portraits topersonal projects, and also the spontaneous images that don’t necessarily fit within his larger portfolio. Yet, the photojournalist’s feed remains coherent, offering an original and personal view of Missouri.

Montana

Becca Ralfafara

@ralfafara

When it comes to picturing Montana, you can’t go wrong with someone who lives inside the state’s Glacier National Park. And Ralfafara has the perfect excuse to do so: she’s a park ranger there. The result is a raw and unfiltered look at one of the U.S.’s most stunning states.

nebraska

Sarah Hoffman

@hoffsarah

A staff photographer at the Omaha World-Herald, Hoffman uses Instagram as a visual diary, mixing personal photographs with her work for the newspaper. “Nebraska is a place most people just fly over but there are a lot of stories to be told,” she says. “As a staff photographer, I get to explore stories large and small in my community and across the state.” And sometimes, these little quieter moments, away from international headlines, can make all the difference.

Nevada

Johnny Lace

@johnnylace

From the streets of Las Vegas to the stunning wilderness of Nevada, Lace takes us inside his world through a carefully curated feed where each image is expertly composed.

New Hampshire

John Tully

@jtully

New Hampshire is known for its outsized place on America’s political map but also for its charming little towns, surrounded by stunning forests. On Tully’s feed, all of that is on offer and it just makes you want to take the time to visit the state where you “live free or die.”

New Jersey

Ed Kashi

@edkashi

An established and renowned photojournalist, Kashi sees Instagram as a creative place where “I can play with imagery like never before,” he says. From capturing pure moments of his daily life to sharing his advocacy work, Ed uses Instagram to create dialogue between himself and his audience. “Simply put, it’s a space that does not exist anywhere else in photography today.”

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