You might be thinking, what the hell is the point of creating another hashtag. Or hasn’t Florence been photographed in every possible way already? My answer would be, probably, but there is a reason for that. Just like people sharing cat memes, it just works. Whether it’s someone passing through, or a local capturing a favorite hideaway– it’s no secret that people are using social networks more than ever to plan their Italy trips or even just feel nostalgic for a moment.
The hashtag born this past Sunday is #YourFlorence, love it, use it — it’s for everyone to share what they see in the city and the people they meet. On Saturday, #YourFlorence had four posts, three of which were mine, now after our meetup — there are over 581, not too shabby!
Combine the love of capturing photos in a scenic place with a bunch of like-minded people and a community is born, which is what I believe instagram has always meant to be. If you haven’t yet heard about these meetups — the best answer is the google-generated one “An Instameet is literally an Instagram Meeting. Instameets started out being organised by devoted Instagramers so they could meet in-person, explore a city and of course take photos.” That’s it. It’s not about an exclusive group of people who only take pictures/promote each other in order to rise to the top of the ‘instaranks’ to be showered with golds, lot of themed pins that make little holes in your shirts and sponsorships.
Nope it’s about people meeting, sharing advice on taking photos and just having fun.
When it comes to instameets. I’m particular inspired by an American guy living in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Dave Krugman, who has helped attract a new audience to cultural institutions that need a little help with their social media, he was part of the #EmptyDuomoFi museo instameet. Quoted in the NyTimes “I just have a belief in the platform,” Mr. Krugman has said. “So as smartphones democratized photography, I was able to quickly see the opportunity for institutions to connect with a whole new generation of creative minds and was excited to help them harness the power.” Dave has a real point there and I had a lot of fun looking through their photos from this past Saturday. The shots tend to be quite stylistic in nature, personally I would have loved to have a little more info on the incredible sacred art at the museum mixed in with the creative license that top instagrammers do so well.
You can read all about it thanks to The Florentine, here. Including the #EmptyMuseo Duomo fun, an instameet in the Santa Maria Novella church museum organized by the fine ladies of TuscanyBuzz (more about that in a future post), and our finale on Sunday during a photowalk I cohosted with the Italy Igers community.
The shocker for me, was the mere fact that so many people showed up! We started at 10:30am in front of the Duomo cathedral and made our way through the city to our ending location at 1opm, my beloved piazza santo spirito, where the monthly organic market was taking place. Nico, my lovely husband my right hand man (literally) and kept me caffeinated and sane as we tried to move a group of a 1oo plus throughout the city. More photo walks will definitely be in the cards, hopefully both small and large, as it seems there is plenty of interest for these sorts of initiatives.
The goal for creating a hashtag like #YourFlorence is to see what other’s see about this popular city, to share details other people might have missed, a different angle of a popular place in town (like Santa Croce) or just to see who to follow locally for Florence-related shots.
I should say, Sunday was a lot of fun for me, I got to meet some amazing people who I’ve only ever talked to digitally and I learned a trick or two that hopefully with help my own photo-taking-with-an-iPhone skills. It can be unnerving going up to people and saying hi but since it really bugs me when I go to meetups where the organizers don’t do the main thing they are supposed too– which is to introduce themselves, and get people to mingle and talk, I tried to do this as best as possible.
Obviously it is impossible to do so with so many people around, but you have to make an effort, and this is coming from a newbie here. In honor of all the people who made it to the event, here is a compilation of some of my favorite shots. I was supposed to limit this to 10, but that wasn’t really going to happen.
First off, the mere fact that anyone came from outside of Florence to participate was truly an honor! So when some friends of mine, Diane and Linda told me they were coming, I was over the moon. Diane handles the account of BrowsingItaly and BrowsingRome and is a pure example of how social media should be done. I loved her video montage of the event and here you can check it out above.
I adored this beautiful photo by Brianna Cariola using a classic polaroid shot. It captures the essence of the monthly organic market in Florence quite well, and I like her gold nail polish ;-).
Gero’s photos are so beautiful and really show an artistic side I wish I could do more of myself. I’m not sure how he got this shot but I am really impressed!
It was great to meet Lorenzo and when I saw this photo later on at home, I couldn’t help but think that I have passed by this arch by the Ponte Vecchio a million times, but never have stopped to see quite like this.
Sasha is a sweet darling and a new friend, originally from Hong Kong, she and her lovely husband and child now make Florence their home. She’s always a ready participant for our photowalks and I loved her shot from Santa Croce. While the sky certainly didn’t do us any favors on Sunday, the photos still came out beautiful.
Simone is from Pistoia and takes the coolest street shots, including this one from the market from a vary happy looking individual next to an almost full beer (it is piazza santo spirito after all).
You certainly have to appreciate this extreme level of detail of the sculptures featured in Florence’s ‘loggia dei lanzi’ in piazza della signoria square, one of our stops during the Florence photowalk. Thanks Sara!
Birgitte is an incredible photographer and her pictures always tell a nice story on their own right, without any need to stage anything. I loved her photo from the market and her shot of this very happy dog in piazza della signoria, I had to add them both!
I knew my friend Linda would appreciate the organic market in santo spirito and I was so happy to see that she found something she liked and shared this little tip with us all.
Such a beautiful shot, I had to share this with you all! Marco captures the moment beautifully.
Bet you never see Giotto’s bell tower quite like this! Thanks Manu!
Luca is particularly adept at photographing local life. I loved his presence and shots from our instawalk!
This is truly unique shot taken in piazza della repubblica by Giancarlo, a photographer by trade.
We all were looking at this beautiful palazzo in piazza santa croce, always a favorite for many of us locally, and I really liked Jacopo’s shot which also captures a lot of us chatting in the square too :).
I loved the fact that Alexandra used the tricks she learned from fellow instagrammers to get this cool puddle shot of the Basilica of Santa Croce. That’s what these instameets are all about!
I think that Tommaso being an engineer by trade also helps him notice details like this cool ‘Renaissance graffiti’ by Michelangelo on Palazzo Vecchio.
Claudia took this interesting shot showing the contrast of things you are likely to see in Italy. An ancient work of art in one of the most important squares in Italy and someone’s recent H&M purchase.
There is a reason Cinzia is so followed, she has an incredible eye for even those most simplest of scenes. I pass by these horse and carriages daily, parked in front of the Bigallo museum.
A bridge we cross a million time (ponte santa trinita) yet it always remains such an important focal point in the city. I had to share this gorgeous shot by Andrea.