InstaMeet to Attract Photographers

By BETSY BETHEL

Associate Life Editor

As many as 100 professional and amateur photographers are expected to descend on Heritage Port at 10 a.m. next Sunday to put Wheeling on the Instagram map during the social network’s World Wide InstaMeet.

“InstaMeets happen all the time and at different times during the year. The World Wide InstaMeet is an InstaMeet that is encouraged by Instagram to get different groups, and countries, to host their meets at the same time (and) on the same weekend,” said Andrew Croft, who is co-hosting the event with Jason Foose, both Wheeling photographers.

The purpose is to network with other photographers, learn from and creatively inspire each other and, of course, take photos of Wheeling, “an extremely photogenic city,” according to Croft.

Foose reached out to a few local Instagrammers a few weeks ago to gauge interest and found there to be some, so he and Croft came up with a plan.

“Jason and I have been working to give people a little bit of guidance, if they wish to use it,” Croft wrote on the blog he shares with his artist wife, Patricia Croft at www.croft.gallery/. They devised a photo scavenger hunt that includes items such as rust, a stranger, faded advertisements on building, churches, etc.

“We also asked Hal Gorby, PhD., a friend and local historian, to give us a list of his 10 favorite buildings of Wheeling. We will provide hashtags for each item and will judge the photos after the event. The grand winner will receive a gift card.”

Croft said he has met people who don’t realize Instagram is a social network utilized not only by young people, but also by professional and serious amateur photographers.

“I once asked a new friend if they were on Instagram and she replied, ‘no, because I’m not 13,’ but I assure you if you filter well enough there is a massive, amazing and supportive community of photographers who take their craft very seriously. You will generally find these folks at InstaMeets,” Croft noted.

He has attended two InstaMeets, in Pittsburgh and Weston.

“They were fantastic! InstaMeets have a very warm and welcoming vibe. People are there to socialize and to support each other’s creativity,” he said. He added Rebecca Kiger, local professional photographer and adjunct professor at West Liberty University has switched her photography class meeting from Monday to Sunday so her students can attend.

All are welcome, even non-photographers, whom Croft said can be models, muses or otherwise serve as inspiration.

On Instagram, people can follow Wheeling_Shooters at @wheeling_shooters. To submit a photo for consideration on the hub, use #wheeling_shooters.

For more information, email andrew@croft.gallery/ or call 304-559-9931.