The Art of Instagram

All images courtesy of Minh T

It isn’t by accident that Los Angeles based photographer Minh T has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. A continuous visual narrative runs through his images, inspired by architecture, nature and geometry; they are thought provoking and romantic, as if each image is part of a prevailing fairytale.

With a background in graphic design and structural engineering, his work nevertheless eschews an overly technical approach and instead runs with feeling, fantasy and emotion. Through Instagram he has managed to enchant audiences from across the globe, including notable publications, fashion houses and fellow photographers, translating his social media profile from casual hobby to an internationally acclaimed aesthetic.

Starting out as a graphic designer in LA, Minh searched for an alternative creative output. He set up his Instagram page independently as a way of creating something for himself. “I already had my own Instagram profile and website but I wanted to start posting artistic imagery that was my own – but I thought people might think it was a little pretentious – so I set up another account”. Wanting to reflect emotion, and capture the energy and feeling of a place, his Instagram is a journey through landscapes, shapes and colours. What he thought seemed pretentious actually turned out to really appeal to the Instagram world, little by little attracting an audience of followers and high profile brand interest. Minh’s fantasy and escapist vision has to date fascinated the likes of Larsson and Jennings, Aman Hotels and Issey Miyake, for which he has worked on a number of publicity campaigns, with many more brand projects on the horizon.

With an academic background in engineering – he has a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, pursing further studies in architecture – it is a surprise to learn that Minh isn’t just a ‘fresh out of college’ kind of guy; he’s actually a seasoned professional who has observed the internet marketplace for many years and worked out what works best, albeit with natural talent for photography and capturing moments in time. When talking about his audience he tells me, “the instant feedback [from Instagram] fuelled my passion for photography and for image making”, and so he spent the next 2-3 years uploading memorable yet minimalist images, building a network of fellow fantasists.

When I asked him what he thinks is the key to his success, he says, “You have to be differentiating. Everyone is a photographer these days, and anyone can take an amazing photo, but my goal is to take iconic imagery. My benchmark is always the same: is this image memorable.” Memorable they indeed are, his images are also supported by his genuine interest in growing, what he calls his ‘community’. He is skilled at bringing people of the social world together – 115,000 followers at time of writing – they are the audience of his personal film. He tells me that his work is like a story, “probably because I am in LA, here everything is like that”. Well whatever the reason, it’s a captivating story and the audience just keeps growing. | @thismintymoment

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