Well this is something new for us, yet still rather impressive. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you Alessio La Ruffa. A Pretoria based Instagrammer, with a keen eye for beauty and who is always ready to pull off some “iPhoneography”. Alessio describes himself as a social media and WordPress guy by day but his passion is deeply rooted in Instagram photography. With over 13,000 followers this guy is definitely doing something right.
Gareth Pon – the founder of “Instagrammers South Africa” had the following to say about this talented individual –
“Alessio always takes what he does seriously, he is a incredibly talented individual and manages to express his passion for life, it’s experiences, friendships and opportunities. He is well known among the local Instagramers Community, starting in Pretoria but heavily involved with growing the Johannesburg community too. His team ethic is awesome and this is seen through his dedication and ‘all out’ attitude.”
Alessio took some time away from wondering around the concrete jungle to have a chat with us and help us get to know him a little better. This is how it unfolded…
MA: Please tell us a little bit about your journey to where you are today?
“I started Instagramming way back in October 2010, shortly after the app was released. Like all newbies, my photos were of random things and I didn’t really have a focus. I was one of those people that took photos of my food and my coffee. This all changed when I went to Cape Town in September last year. There is just so much to photograph there, I went a bit wild, but my photos started having more of a focus and I put more effort into it. The day after I got back, the Jozi Instagramers were having an Instawalk, whereby a group of people get together and take photos around the city on foot. We walked around the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg and I was immediately hooked. I’ve pretty much made it to every Instawalk since, driving through from Pretoria on Sunday afternoons. Since then, my photos have been exhibited in the I ART JOBURG exhibition at Area3, I’ve been an Instagram suggested user and have been featured by Instagram as a South African Instagramer to watch. I also head up the Instagramers Pretoria community and have started a small business supplying photography related iPhone accessories.”
MA: What is it about instagram that made you decide to use this medium for photography?
“I would have to say the ease of use. Your phone is always with you, and Instagram makes it really easy just to upload that photo and share it with your followers. The great thing about Instagram is also the sense of community. I’ve met more people through Instagram than any other social network, and most people I’ve met have become my good friends that I speak to every day. There were Instagramers from Berlin here earlier in the year, @jn, @thomas_k, @goldieberlin and @ryanm, and @timothygirard was out here from The States in August.”
MA: What would say is your favourite subject to photograph?
“I love taking photographs of Johannesburg, particularly the streets and the buildings. There’s just something about the rich culture and history of the city that inspires me.”
MA: Who or what do you get your inspiration from?
“I draw a lot of inspiration from the things that we tend to miss on an every day basis. As Instagramers, we’re always looking for that next shot. Your eye picks up little details that you may have never seen before. I also draw a lot of inspiration from overseas Instagramers and my friends in the local community. We’re always looking for a new location and to try something new.”
MA: South Africa is generally never really on top of technologies or social networks, how would you describe the small yet flourishing local instagram community?
“There was a statistic released recently that measured the local Instagram community at 680,000 people. I reckon at least 95% of that number use Instagram casually and aren’t quite as engaged as the remaining 5%. We have Instagramers communities in most major South African cities who dedicate themselves to going on Instameets and taking part in Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Projects on a weekly basis. To us in the 5%, Instagram has become more of an art form. We take time to edit our photos in other apps, so as to create a work of art, rather than to take a photo of a latte.”
MA: Are you busy working on any projects that we might be interested in?
“At the moment, I’m wrapping up on some work that I’m doing with some other great Instagramers for the FNB Joburg Art Fair, which is happening between 27 and 29 September, where 20 Instagramers will have their works exhibited along with the rest of the art work at the fair, which is an exciting initiative. I’m also involved with a digital marketing company, iMod Digital, whereby I post photos for them on a weekly basis. The great thing is that they let me take the reigns and use my art to interpret digital marketing concepts. On a personal note, I try find interesting cars in Johannesburg, and I’ve created a ‘Cars of Jozi’ series, which is great fun”
MA: Where can people follow you and get the latest news about u?
There you have it folks, this just goes to show that when talent and passion are combined, anything is possible, Art is everywhere and we love to see people embrace it!