With over 200k followers, Gareth Pon has an Instagram feed worth following. If you want to know more about having photographic passions, first person traveling lessons, great influences, and advice to people who are looking for social media success, this is the man to hear it from.
When/How did you first get started playing with photography? How did it morph into a passion of yours?
“It’s interesting actually, before I started using Instagram I was way more interested in motion video rather than stills (I am traditionally a filmmaker). I had a small interest in photography, but never really pursued it as a medium. I had a the right gear and equipment but used it to shoot video and never actually took a photo. When I got my first iPhone I downloaded Instagram and the ease of use compelled me to start shooting again in my city, Johannesburg. The passion really started growing from there and the more I did it the more I loved it. I began organizing insta-meets in Johannesburg and in 2013 ended up starting South Africa’s Instagrammers Community (www.instagramers.co.za), this community now grows daily and people all over South Africa are discovering their passion for photography.”
Are most of your photos taken with an Iphone, DSLR, etc?
“I use a mix of devices, it really depends on what I have on me. I try to keep my photos to mobile only, but sometimes I shoot with something different so I can get the shot I want. I will however always edit my photos on a mobile device so I can get the grade that I want.”
So I see that you travel a lot. Has that always been a passion for you, or has photography opened up those doors for you?
“To be honest I never cared much for traveling until I started using Instagram. Seeing the world through the photos of other instagrammers made me realize how much I love traveling! The biggest draw card for me is being able to meet and greet fellow photographers from around the world. It’s also great knowing people who have explored their cities because they know all the best spots to take photos.
“My success with photography has definitely opened up a lot of doors for travel and I’ve gotten loads of opportunities, but I’ve also been way more intentional about traveling. Almost every decision I make is based on my next trip and where I’ll be.”
Who would you say are some of your influences, whether it be towards your photography or filmography?
How did you first get started with Instagram?
“It started with seeing “posted from Instagram” on Facebook and having serious fomo.”
Have you gotten any cool jobs or gigs from your Instagram work?
“Yup, the majority of my connections and business leads have come from Instagram. I’ve done a few tourism trips, created a short film for Apple South Africa, worked with Nike Global, as well as various tourism companies.”
What do you have to say to any aspiring photographers who want to use the social media tool for success?
“Social media is such a great way to discover and be discovered. Get personal, be genuine and remember you have a unique story to tell.”