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Slideshow: An Instagram Journey Through Baltimore

Josh Flynn and Bailey
Josh Flynn and Bailey - Steve Ruark
I needed another social networking app about as much as I needed to eat a dozen chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

Just as Odysseus tried to resist the enchanting Sirens, I tried to resist the allure of photography app Instagram. But unlike the hero in Greek mythology, I didn’t have a crew of sailors to tie down my click-happy hands when I joined the app in May — not long after Facebook bought it for $1 billion. I felt powerless against Instagram's 18 filters that allows you to manipulate images so they appear vintage, feature high-contrast color or blurry on the edges.  

I found plenty of other Facebook friends and Twitter followers who couldn’t resist either. I’ve been awestruck at the creativity and imagination among Instagram users who transform everyday buildings and landscapes into captivating visuals, breaking up our daily mundane routines with art, beauty and humor.

“The thing I like most about Instagram is that it gives you a window to the world, literally at your fingertips,” says Fells Point resident and freelance multimedia producer Josh Flynn, who has accumulated 1,802 Instagram followers since he joined one year ago as flynnfinity.

“Being able to see users' photos from Baltimore to Beijing any time I am bored and open up the app is a pretty incredible phenomenon.”

Many of Flynn’s photos feature his dog Bailey. The #baileystraightchillin photo series took off after Flynn was walking in Harbor East one summer day, Flynn says. 

“He has this thing where he kicks one leg out when he sits down. I took a couple more photos like that and people seemed to really like them, and it is something that's easy for me to do when I am already out walking him.”

Though some professional photographers think Instagram threatens their livelihood, not so for Baltimore photographer Justin Nixon.

“Having my phone with me all the time, and having the camera apps, means I have no excuse not to take a picture,” says Nixon, who has 84 Instagram followers as JCNIXONPHOTO. “My eye is constantly composing a scene or detail wherever I am, and it's good practice to be able to capture those scenes. Also, it helps by getting the feedback and instantly publishing your Instagram images to social media sites.”

Instagram photos of Baltimore neighborhoods from Nixon, Flynn and yours truly Julekha Dash  — or Juldash on Instagram —  appear in the slideshow below. The slideshow seemed timely considering that Time magazine’s latest cover featured an Instagram pic of Hurricane Sandy. Rival social media app Twitter recently announced that it will begin offering photo filters.
Along with the slideshow, BmoreMedia photographer Steve Ruark has taken two photos of Josh Flynn at the Patterson Park pagoda  — one with Instagram and one with his Nikon D700. Which one do you think was taken with Instagram and which one was taken with the digital single-lens reflex camera? Which one do you like better? Send us your thoughts at [email protected]

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