Once again I am pleased to present this years ’24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas’. It is a series that has been run throughout December for the last couple of years and has always been successfully received. In part, it is to celebrate the forthcoming festive season but also to celebrate another year in the timeline of Mobiography.
In the series I ask 24 hand picked mobile photographers to offer an insight into their work, to reflect on their year gone by or plans for the coming year ahead. Each featured photographer is someone who has inspired or supported me in one way or another during the course of the past year. One photographer will be showcased each day until Christmas Eve in a sort of online advent calendar so to speak.
Today’s featured photographer is Joe Montoya.
Do you have an incredible encounter or story that has been part of your photographic journey this year?
As I go through this journey called life with a camera in my pocket, I am learning the massive influence of photography on our culture. I believe this image illustrates the power of modern photography. I have a personal blog and wanted to post an article about different photographers’ views about one event or location. I happened to live in an area where be a number of Instameets happen throughout the year. I realized that attending an Instameet would give me that opportunity to meet a number photographers in one place and get their various perspectives. I had never attended one before, but because I had connections to photographers on social media, it didn’t take long for me to find an instameet just by asking around. An Instagram friend recommended this one event, and I drove an hour north of Los Angeles into the lower elevations of the mountains to get to it.
This Instameet turned out to be the best experience in my photographic journey. I met about 25 other strangers in a dark gravel parking lot. I remember not seeing anyone’s faces at 5:30 a.m. but because of everyone’s phones glowing in the dark, I could see the condensation coming from their mouths as steam rose from coffee cups. Just before the sun began to illuminate the sky, we walked in a line about a half-mile up to a hill.
As we walked I listened to conversations of people sharing their experiences. Once we arrived at our destination the discussions evolved into strategies and plans to maximize the lighting that is unique to a sunrise on a hazy morning. When the sky turned from black to purple-ish gray, I could feel the anticipation and excitement as I heard the tripods and lighting were getting set up. When sun began to illuminate the ground, the mass movement and noise increased like a crescendo at a symphony. The synergy that resulted from a bunch of creative professionals and enthusiasts who came together was truly amazing. There were a number of outstanding captures that morning as evidenced by all the participants’ Instagram feeds.
Within one event I experienced different stories, different perspectives, different talents, and different personalities. Has just one instameet changed me in the way I approach photography? I can say that one instameet has had an influence on me. More importantly, I made new friendships. The experience enriched my life, and I would do it again. In fact, I was invited to be part of another one coming up, and I am looking forward to taking photos like this one you see.