Photography / Features

Thoughts on Instagram, from the Mind of Chris Buck


Chris Buck is a photographer known mostly for his portraiture, in which he brings a unique and distinctive style to each of his images, and unsurprisingly, he’s brought this sense of invention to Instagram. Buck was kind enough to share his thoughts with us on what he once referred to as a “mix of photos of lunch, ironic landscapes, and Holga-filtered observations of everyday life.”


Joaquin Phoenix, 1995, Shot in Florida for Premiere Magazine, with a Hasselblad 500CM

“I joined Instagram, as a lot of my friends and colleagues are on there. They seemed to be having fun, so I wanted to see what it was all about. I’ve never been the kind of photographer to carry around a camera everywhere—I’m not a documentary or street shooter, so I wasn’t sure what my Instagram might actually be.”

Chris Buck photographing William F. Buckley Jr., 2004, Stamford, CT, for The New York Times Magazine, shooting with a Mamiya RZ67. Photo by Paul Draine.

“I had recently sorted my back archive and had found a lot of curious images that weren’t really known by people (photos that weren’t on my website or blog), so that became my Instagram feed. I’ve committed to one picture per day for a year. One will see a mix of older portrait sittings, out-takes, odd one-off images, even shots of me that have accumulated over the years. And, of course, I’ll show bits from my most recent shoots as well, as I’m most excited about those.”

Mike Greenberg, 2006, Shot in Bristol, CT, for ESPN Magazine, shooting with a Mamiya RZ67.

"One of the keys to Instagram’s success is the setting of modest expectations… ‘I saw this and took a picture of it with my phone, hey, have a look.’ I think that it actually frees people up to make some fantastic images. In some cases, it’s just the happy accident of an amazing snapshot, but often I’m seeing a consistent photographic vision and a strong batting average. These are talented photographers being freed up to shine by this low-expectations platform.”

Dog Office, 2000, Shot in Brookline, MA, for Fast Company, shooting with a Mamiya RZ67.

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Buzz Aldrin, 2002, Shot at The Standard Hotel Downtown, Los Angeles, CA, for Esquire, shooting with a Mamiya RZ67.