Have you ever spotted someone you know solely from his or her online presence around town? It’s kind of bizarre, like when you were a little kid and would sometimes bump into your teacher at the grocery store or the car wash. You’d think, “What are you doing here, infiltrating my everyday life?”
That’s how I felt when I spotted Brian Schindler at Not Just Coffee inside 7th Street Public Market one Sunday morning. I’ve admired Brian’s photography for quite some time and have been following him on Instagram for well over a year. I’m constantly inspired by the way he manages to capture every day life in the Queen City so simply and beautifully.
Maybe NJC’s caramel latte gave me some liquid courage (what do they put in that thing, anyway?), but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to compliment his talent. Somewhat starstruck, I ended up introducing myself.
As it turns out, Brian is incredibly friendly, down to earth and easy to talk to. Here’s what he had to say when we chatted about Charlotte’s community of creatives – particularly on Instagram – and his social media fame.
First and most importantly, what did you have for breakfast this morning?
I had bacon and eggs this morning, like I do most mornings, with some fresh coffee. Gotta fuel up right. And if you’re in the South, that means that you fry your eggs in the bacon grease. No other way to do it.
Describe yourself in two sentences or less. Who are you? What do you do? What are you passionate about?
I’m storyteller who seeks to be included in people’s lives and have the trust of those around me and those that I work with. I am passionate about authenticity and grace; without those two things as a considerable foundation then selfish gain has too much room to build up walls around me.
Chased an uptown sunrise this morning. Totally worth it. | #iloveparkingdecks A photo posted by Brian Schindler (@brianschindler) on
You have a ton of Instagram followers – 19.1k to be exact. How did that happen?
To be honest, I’m still dumbfounded by it, but I’m so grateful for the support it’s brought me. Instagram has a list of users that they continually cycle called the Suggested User list. A friend of mine was placed on it a while back and gave them my name to keep an eye out for in the coming months. I had no idea he’d done that.
So in January of 2014, I was placed on the list and my profile was pushed out to people for two weeks who are either signing up for Instagram or looking for new people to follow within the app. The core idea of the list is that it highlights those who are using the app best or that they want to support. Users on the list are usually active in the Instagram community, posting quality and inspiring content, and have overall aesthetically pleasing feeds but still use it to connect.
It seems like there’s a super creative Charlotte community that’s active on Instagram. What insight can you give us into that community?
The creative community in Charlotte is something that I still am blown away by day in and day out. I’d say that we’ve all wanted something like it, so when the opportunities came for this kind of community, we jumped at the chance to take advantage of it.
As a whole, Charlotte is a very authentic city. Some of the kindest and most genuine people reside within the QC! When you add something like creativity to that authenticity, which allows us all to connect with each other at a deeper personal level, you begin weaving together a great net of support. Which, at the end of the day, is really what we seek to gain from whatever community we’re in.
I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my fellow photographers and creatives here in Charlotte. These people have become some of my greatest friends, both in and out of the industry.
Tell us a little bit about #queencityinstameet. What is it? How did it get started? Who can participate?
The thought behind Instagram as a whole is that you’d connect instantly with people through photographs and in your community. Essentially, that’s what the #queencityinstameet is; an opportunity to connect with people face to face and not just feed to feed.
It got started by a friend of mine, @thedudejunior, bringing a sense of drive to grow that community in Charlotte. The first meet up had less than 20 people, which was huge, and then about 25 people at the next one (again huge), to where we’ve seen upwards of 85+ people at one time connecting with one another. And the beauty of it is that anyone can participate.
So many times I hear, “Well I’m just not cool enough” or “I don’t know how to take photos” or “I’ve got my kids with me.” Seriously, anyone is welcome. Our biggest desire out of Instameet is that you’d connect with people. Because people matter, and it’s that simple.
Agenda note: If you’re interested in participating, simply search the #queencityinstameet tag on Instagram for the date, time and location of the next meet up.
Care to share your top five favorite local CLT Instagram accounts?
Oh man. I can’t choose just five so I’ll split it up for you:
- Food: @organiceater (great for recipes and local farm food recommendations), @cleanjuicebar, @kingofpopsclt (gotta know where I can get my pops), @ameliesfrenchbakery, and many others.
Connect with Brian: