My Instagram

An Instagrammer goes back to film, slowing down his process and observations

Jake Belcher

Jake Belcher, 35, has shown his digital photo abilities as a freelance photojournalist and a portrait photographer, but has made taking pictures on film a hobby he’s exploring. The Jamaica Plain resident likes to spend time wandering around Massachusetts, capturing photos of scenes and places people tend to overlook on his Instagram (@jakebphotog).

Q. Why shoot film vs. digital for your Instagram?

A. I shoot film because it’s not as predictable as digital. It’s kind of going back to slower process of photography. When I got into photography I was shooting film, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I now have a clear idea of what I want, and it’s nice to go back to film. It just makes photography feel new again, and I have to work at it more than with digital. Through Instagram I noticed you can use filters to make it look like film, and I realized, by just shooting film you don’t have to do anything to the photo to give it that look.

Q. Is there anything you like to shoot in particular?

A. I’m always looking for something that looks out of place in the modern world, or things that don’t have a clearly defined time period. Coming from a documentary and photography background, I’m trying to capture those things that may not even be there next week. I just really like to capture things that seem to be from a different time period. I’m not necessarily tricking the viewer, just making them ask questions of when it could have been taken or how. A lot of time what I like to do is raise more questions than answers. I don’t put a lot in my captions or anything like that; I keep things pretty vague. I let the viewers come to their own conclusions.

Q. How do you find the places you shoot those photos?


A. I leave extra time when I’m driving to an assignment to get lost and take mental notes of places I want to go back and revisit. I get the most effective photos from just observing. I’m a strong advocate of just walking around for miles and finding interesting things that people just pass over. Coming from a newspaper background, I was often asked to take photos that would run in the paper but not necessarily with a story. Most of the time it was just something interesting I found from walking around, so taking pictures while I wander comes naturally to me now.

Q. What’s it like being apart of IGBoston?

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A. I got involved with it because I just wanted to get my work out to other Instagrammers living in Boston, I wanted to show how I saw Boston. I know that my style doesn’t necessarily go with IGBoston’s style from what I’ve seen, but I think that’s OK. It’s funny, I was featured for some work I was doing in Holyoke, and most people responded to it pretty well. Photography is just how people interpret things. For example, if people are photographing a beautiful mountain range, I’m looking for something else that’s in the area. I have a shot on Instagram from when I was in the Smoky Mountains, and I found the bathroom more interesting because the pipes were exposed, I got more satisfaction shooting that than beautiful landscape. That’s just how I see things.

Q. Do you have a message you’re trying to portray in your Instagram?

A. My Instagram is to show a different perspective on the everyday, maybe it’s the things people walk by and don’t pay attention to, or take for granted. Just take a little longer to take life in.

Lexi Peery can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LexiFP.