Escape into exotic images captured by Instagram photographers from every continent.
Everyone can agree that social media platforms like Instagram have changed everything, expanding what we can see and experience. Culture can meet culture in a variety of ways online through the visual inspiration of an Instagram photographer. Following Instagrammers from around the world can take us out of the familiar, introducing us to beliefs, ideas and lives that are so different (but often so similar, too) hundreds and thousands of miles away.
A photo can speak volumes about the shared experiences of humanity, and it’s more important now than ever to be actively engaging global artists who can share our common humanity through their photos, while educating us about the unique differences that exist within other parts of the world.
So here are seven popular people to follow on Instagram — one extraordinary photographer for each of the seven continents. Their photos can open our horizons, ignite the travel bug within us and connect us to the wide world all around us.
1. Australia: Lauren Bath @laurenpbath
Lauren Bath joined Instagram before it exploded in popularity. She was a chef on the Gold Coast of Australia and began taking photos on her phone just for fun. However, she quickly gained followers as Instagram took off, and she’s one of the most popular Instagrammers in all of Australia. She now travels the world as a tourist photographer and social media marketer, and she has worked on over 180 tourism campaigns.
Her heart is always with Australia, though. “Australia is huge, and there are landscapes and destinations here to suit any type of traveler,” she says. Lauren spends around six months of her time traveling, but she never feels that her photography in Australia gets repetitive. “From the sandy beaches of my hometown, to the red gorges of Karijini, to the city chic of Melbourne, I could never be bored shooting in Australia.”
2. Antartica: John Bozinov @johnbozinov
Based out of New Zealand, John Bozinov began experimenting with an old analog camera as a teenager, and he gradually got into digital photography as he went pro. While he shoots for various international brands and magazines, he is very well known for his photography of Antarctica and other polar regions of the world.
John feels a deep commitment to shooting this unique part of the world. “Antarctica is perhaps the last great wilderness on our planet, and this is largely because of its hostility and its isolation from the rest of the world,” says John. “Antarctica is a place worth protecting. My hope is that my photography will make people feel a little closer to Antarctica and that they will see the extremities of our planet as something valuable that we need to fight for.”
3. Africa: Joel Lukhovi & Sarah Waiswa @africancityzens
Joel Lukhovi and Sarah Waiswa run the Instagram account African Cityzens, and many more photographers contribute. Joel first got into photography while in engineering school at the University of Nairobi and studying surveying and mapping. He met Sarah in 2013. Joel had already narrated a round trip across five East African countries on his own Instagram, and a conversation about moving across the continent ensued between them. They started planning a trip together, and that’s how the shared account began.
“African Cityzens has been interested in creating work that contributes to the African narrative of cities in movement that has for a long time been untold or, rather, misrepresented,” Joel explains. “African Cityzens as a trans-African project works not to break the perception or please the expectations of the audience, but rather to push the audience to learn to study, appreciate and constantly view the continent with an open, contemporary look. Our images wish to convey inter-city movement.”
4. Asia: Vivien Liu @vdubl
Vivien Lui, an architect in Hong Kong, downloaded Instagram in 2013 to find a way to distract herself from the long hours of work. She found it to be a refreshing way to connect with people and share photography. “Since then, photography has been my creative outlet and an opportunity to express myself freely,” she explains.
Architectural elements often show up in her photography. “Growing up in Hong Kong, I never appreciated the cookie-cutter, high-density buildings and crowded streets,” she says. “After taking up photography, I see things differently as people began to react to what I thought were utilitarian cityscapes in a way I never expected.”
5. South America: Paulo del Valle @paulodelvalle
“My love for photography actually started thanks to Instagram,” says Paulo del Valle. “Before the app came into my life, I was just a design student with no interest in photography.” Paulo began taking pictures of his home city, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. He now travels the world as an Instagrammer capturing amazing places, but his photography always comes back to Brazil.
“I love that photography makes it possible for me to show the world through my lens, the way I see it, and also with my own artistic look,” he says. “I also love that through social media I’m able to showcase my beautiful Rio de Janeiro to hundreds of thousands of people and make them want to visit one day.”
6. North America: Corey Arnold @arni_coraldo
Corey Arnold, who lives in Portland, Oregon, has worked as a fisherman in Alaska since 1995. He is the captain of his own boat, harvesting wild and sustainable sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay. He has a book called Fish-Work as well as ongoing photography series that documents the life of fishermen and the terrain of Alaska.
Looking at his photography, people are often struck by the cold and unforgiving sea. This is a photographer who documents the visceral grittiness of a life many will never experience.
7. Europe: Uwa Scholz @uwa2000
Uwa Scholz grew up in Berlin, Germany. After finishing high school, she spent some years abroad before returning to her beloved Berlin. “When I was a child, about seven or eight years old, my parents gave me a small camera,” she says. “And from then on I just loved taking photos.”
As for her popularity as an Instagrammer depicting Berlin — as well as other parts of Europe, on occasion — she mainly uses photography as a means of documentation. “Berlin is mostly reduced to the TV Tower, Brandenburg Gate and young and beautiful people,” she says. “But the city has more to offer, such as the cultural variety and people of all ages, all backgrounds, etc. I try to cover all aspects.”
As these Instagrammers from around the world can attest, the platform of Instagram has been beneficial in elevating other parts of the world and little-known photographers as well as connecting humans in ways that were inconceivable before this present moment. Social media has its pitfalls, but when used to educate and connect people all across the world, it can truly be an artistic and cultural gift.