Aziz @instamood: Emotions and Moods through Photo Sharing
When @bradpuet suggested we interview Aziz, @instamood, I knew right away that I’d totally be up for it. He’s one of the first photographers I followed after joining IG last year and I thoroughly enjoy his gallery. His feed is full of positive energy and gorgeous photos. If you like intense colors, silhouettes and sunsets, then he’s one to follow!
So, here we go…
Aziz in his own words:
I’m in my 30’s, born and raised in an unknown rural area in the northern part of Morocco. A magical location surrounded by beautiful landscapes. My illiterate parents’ priority was finishing my educations. This was a great challenge for me since the only so called school in that area was located about an hour walk and of course there was no such real roads, but tiny paths through the mountains. and there was no electricity but candles and old rusted lanterns. Donkeys and horses were the main mass of transportations and I was lucky enough that my parents had such a lovely Donkey.
My childhood was amazing. My cousins and I had fun creating our own toys cars and playing football (soccer) with soda cans and enjoying the outdoors. Despite this very simple life, I found power and strength in my daily struggle. At the age of 15, I left with my oldest brother to continue my school in the city. After years of studies and moving from one
city to another, I learned so many languages and dialects then I joined the college where I studied the Economics sciences. Then I moved to the States and joined a technical school in Philadelphia. Currently, I’m working in a telecommunication company. Not much to say about work, job is job.
My passion for photography started when my brother used to take a lot of family photos with his Kodak Single Camera and instant camera. In the beginning, I was more obsessed with people and self-portraits with a great background. It wasn’t until after I replaced my HTC with an IPhone4 that I discovered how beautiful the sky looks through this magic apple.
B: Bridgette A: Aziz
B: Aziz, tell us about Instamood and why you chose this username? I recall you having another username at first (which I can’t remember) and then changed it sometime last year. Why did you feel the need to do so and how does Instamood represent the real you?
A: I joined IG in the very beginning as @aziiz and through this username I met some great people in this community. Some of them left, others discontinued to follow me and few of them are still among my best IG friends. I still remember we used to post so many pics and it was so much fun. A basic IG wasn’t good enough to me since it wasn’t offering no control over what others were saying and no option for blocking or deleting negative comments so I decided to leave the community for few weeks. It didn’t take long before IG made a big jump in its history by offering more options to users, which brought me back.
It was a great restart, the community started to expand, a new generation knocked on the door so I thought about being more involved in it. I started with hosting contests without sacrificing my passion to share pics with my great followers. The first one was about Sunset (#sunsetlovers) – the participation was beyond my expectations.
By the end of July 2011,I thought about taking another step by being more public so I replaced @aziiz with @instamood. I lost so many good followers during this transition, it made me sad for an instant, but then I did what I’m always good at: Move on.
@instamood came from my strong believe that most of us share photos according to our emotion and mood. There’s no better way to improve your mood than sharing it with good friends through photos. It’s amazing how a few clicks could make a difference in someone else’s feelings.
B: Do you live near a beach? Is there a special location where you like to watch all the beautiful sunsets?
A: Being in a beautiful location doesn’t make you a better photographer; it’s all about how you interpret what your eyes see. Many of my sunset shots are taken without stepping out of my house. The beauty surrounds us; you can find it in unexpected places. You are pumping gas at the gas station and suddenly you look up and you see a beautiful sunset …the magic apple is right in your hand ready to fuel your passion… tap… tap… et Voila! For an instant, you forget the highly priced gas.
Philadelphia doesn’t have a beach but it surely offers what the beach can’t: diversity! It enhanced my love and passion for photography, watching a sun setting on the river is like living in instadream. I also captured many sunsets during my business visit to areas in DE & MD.
B: You mentioned you use an iPhone and a Canon D60 – which do you use when and why? Have you taken any photography courses?
A: As of now, photography is nothing but an enjoyable hobby. I have spent a good amount of time learning the art of photography and digital world. I’m working on taking a great move in this field. Most of my IG pictures are taken with the iphone4 lens. There are three things you would always find in my pockets: wallet, keys and iPhone …probably few pennies from time to time.
I have recently owned a Canon D60, Lens (EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM), standard lens and I plan to add a macro lens to the collection. To be honest, I haven’t gotten a chance to put my Canon to work but spring is knocking on the door and I expect to have a lot of fun.
I found iPhone is more convenient for every day shooting and a time saver. DSLR is time consuming and very challenging but it’s worth the effort and challenges are what make life worth living.
B: When editing your DSLR pics, do you edit using a computer program such as Photoshop or do you edit on your iPhone?
A: I own Paintshop prox4, but I haven’t practiced on it; not sure how good it is but I will find out soon. As for my DSLR pictures, I usually use the IPhoto software as primary edits then I add final touches using iPhone apps.
B: Speaking of sunsets, how do you get those vibrant, intense colors? What apps do you like to use? Any tricks up your sleeve you’d like to share?
Sunset time is a breathtaking moment, it’s unbelievable when you think about it this way: this powerful sun is setting right in front of your eyes while somewhere else?in the world it’s rising. I prefer my sunset pictures to be powerfully spoken with heavy tones.
In my early time on IG, Procamera was my number one editing app., it had a potential to add great contrast and vibrant colors to any image. Suddenly, two new updates ruined everything in my opinion.
These days, I usually use Snapseed, Camera+, Phototoaster, Filterstorm?and hoping for a new app with better output quality.
I’m far from being perfect, I’m learning new tricks every day. If I have to put out a suggestion then I would say always go with an app that supports high resolution, don’t just go with reviews and stars. Run your pic through different apps until you get what you’re looking for. if you have enough time, try working with masks, it’s very rewarding.
B: Tell us about your tags (such as #instamood, #instabird, etc.). Please list each one and tell us which is most popular?
#instamood: Aren’t you one of the great supporter of this tag? I sure am!
Well, I created it right after I changed my username to @instamood and now, 6 months later; it’s getting closer to having 2,000,000 pictures on it. It’s currently ranked among the top 15. I’m confident it will jump to top 5 by the end of 2012! Keep tagging guys!
#sunsetlovers: the tag I created for my first contest on IG…Still in use by many sunset lovers.
#instasky: mainly for sky photos lovers
#instabird: I m a bird lover, if you like birds then that’s their only warm home.
#instatasty: that’s @instamood’s official kitchen, if you ever go there, please help yourself.
#implus and #Implus_daily are growing very fast.
I also have other minor tags like: #instamirror, #azizflowers and?#instaimagination (ruined by hashtag crashers).
B: You recently formed the implus group. What is the purpose of this group and why did you start it? Can anyone join and how would an IGer go about doing so since it’s private? How does it compare to other groups on IG?
A: I actually posted the initial idea 6 months ago (check #implus_birth for my second post about group guidelines, the initial one deleted). At that time, talking about groups within the IG community was not welcomed. I had so many negative reactions but that didn’t stop me from keeping the dream alive.
Instamood plus or implus was part of my many contributions to enhance the IG community. Formed mainly to gather IG users in a small group to not just share a passion of photography but to interact and build bridges of friendships between members. It’s about making their time on IG more memorable. Did I reach my goal? The answer is NO.
Although I don’t like to look for excuses but I have to admit that I have chosen the hardest way for implus. I could use my powerful community and form a public group to just send members pics to popular page but that’s not what I’m here for. I let other groups handle these things while I m moving slowly to have a great base of great art lovers with the help of my great members & management leaders @lacyrich and @delawer. I plan to boost the team with more members to help move the group forward. More focus on creativity, forums, interviews and less focus on classic challenges which all other groups are doing … I want implus to be a relaxing place for members.
Private group because I only want talented but active members to be part of it. Today’s IG is nothing but an open race to popularity by any means. Creativity is secondary but I’m hoping this view changes as we move forward. We are giving a lot of our daily time to this app – so why waste it on drama?
To join the group, IGers have to apply only at
www.instamood.net. Currently the site is under reconstruction and membership is closed until I get the website running again.
B: I noticed a link to Instamood.net; when is your site expected to go live and what is your focus? Will it be a blog with your photos?
A: I originally created it as a blog for my work and to have some kind of open discussions with my followers. Well, at this moment the time isn’t on my side and I will probably use it more for implus related info and photo features.
B: What do you like to do in your spare time? How do you keep the creative juices flowing?
A: It seems I’m always hanging on IG? But the truth is my time is well measured. I work 4 long days and get 3 days off… enough time to take care of my daily life and my interests. I have so many hobbies including jogging, cooking, collecting watches (slowly moving), watching documentaries, reading tech books, staying updated with what’s going on in today’s world, and going to a movie once in a while.
My iPhone camera is always ready to snap, I take pics every time I see something moving me. I always make room in my daily life to keep the mood alive.
B: What advice would you give to a person just starting out on IG?
A: IG is for fun, don’t make it your first priority, live your real life to the fullest. Use your time here to build understanding bridges through photography and be positive, comment only when you have something nice to say.
B: And lastly, what’s the goal for Instamood?
A: Not sure how long I will be on IG but as for now I would say the possibilities are endless. I sent few suggestions to the IG team and I’m always positive about the future. I recently started two new profiles one to feature sky lovers photos @skysnappers and other personnel for my own negative space photos @lovehub. I will continue to host more challenges as I get offers to sponsor them.
On the other hand I’m thinking about the idea of having other special public profiles like @skysnappers for sky enthusiasts and maybe two other specialty profiles with the help of some loyal IG friends running them. This should help in having great galleries for each category and help others meet new people.
The dreams are big and they only come true when you turn them into reality.
Special thanks to everyone who has supported me! I won’t mention any names to avoid missing some of you, but you guys have helped me a lot to improve my photo sharing experience. I’m thankful for your great friendship and for making @instamood part of this friendly community. Much love to all of you.
Juxt thanks you Aziz for your words and your art.
About Bridgette S.
Three words that describe me are simple, social and creative – all of
which have played a part in strengthening my passion for iPhoneography. What you
see is my vision of the ordinary and not so ordinary, most of which are captured
whilst I’m out and about with my son. As a mom to a toddler, it’s important I
catch all those milestones and have a record of our daily adventures. Having an
iPhone means I don’t miss a snap and it also means the world gets to see what I
see – at all times. Mobile photography has also given me the chance to meet
like-minded enthusiasts both in person and on the web. It’s truly remarkable to
see the community grow and be amongst those who offer support and inspiration.
It has opened new doors and reawakened my imagination; I embrace it and will
continue to learn in the process.