Last Thursday a Photographer called Daniel Arnold had only $90.03 in his bank account, nothing unusual there and something most of us can relate to, but in a moment of genius or desperation (you decide), he had a simple thought, “why not sell some photos on Instagram?”
He then posted the following on his Instagram Account “Hello, I just turned 34 this second. For one day only I am selling 4×6 prints of whatever you want from my Instagram archive for $150 each. I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again. If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org (one d) and I will send a PayPal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy peasy. Happy my birthday. I love you truly.”
Forbes reported that the response overwhelmed him. Orders poured in. A day later, he’d received nearly $15,000 worth of requests, and collected some $5,000. One buyer offered him $1,000 up front for prints of any photo that had received more than 1,000 likes; Arnold still hasn’t tallied how many that is.
Daniel has made quite a name for himself by wandering the streets of New York armed with an iPhone and a 35mm camera he effortlessly captures candid shots of street life in the big apple.
With over 30,000 followers, the man that Gawker described as “The Best Photographer on Instagram” has stumbled on how to monetise Instagram by accident, which should make for an interesting future for the photo sharing site.
I am a massive fan of both Street Photography and Daniel’s work and for me it is the most purest and beautiful aspect of photography, but anyone following the Google+ saga will know that street photography frequently gets a bad rap from the press, the public and sometimes even other photographers claiming it’s wrong to photograph strangers without permission.
In these 24 hour news channel times, paranoia about privacy and terrorism, have conspired to make the art of street photography a somewhat difficult hobby, which is ironic considering how we are all filmed by the ever present eye in the sky everywhere we go.
For me personally street photography is about capturing that special moment that nobody else can see and being able to show in some small way the world through your eyes. Little moments, like when the person opposite receives a text message on their phone and find themselves smiling uncontrollably. To be able to capture genuine emotion in its raw form is something quite beautiful.
Hopefully the publicity gained by Daniel Arnold on Instagram will help a few more people appreciate the art of street photography.