Ed Kashi took The New Yorker’s Instagram

Last week, Ed Kashi took The New Yorker’s Instagram feed with him to Aspen, where he spent the week at a photography workshop at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. “Usually when I teach I don’t get the opportunity to create new work, so it was especially exciting to be looking for images and constantly creating, reviewing, and then being able to post the work in real time,” Kashi told me. “Photography has dominated my life for more than thirty-five years, so the ability to make images anywhere without the cumbersome equipment that I normally work with is liberating.”

I asked him how shooting with an iPhone differed from the way he usually makes photographs. “Of the many aspects I love about the photographic life, the heightened acts of ‘noticing’ and ‘seeing’ make my experiences that much richer. But being Instagram, of course it led to the inevitable neurotic tallying of ‘likes’ and discussions amongst my assistants and some of the students about what makes a successful Instagram image.” What kinds of photos are successful? 

His assistants on the workshop, photographers Jessica Van Fleteren and Emily Lane, decided that patterns and the color yellow attract the most approval, while images of people or characters, “unless graphic, weird, or dramatic in some way,” are less popular. “My approach to this week was, in keeping with how I think and work, more narrative,” Kashi said. “I tried to bring the ‘followers’ along with me on my journey from home in New Jersey to Colorado, and then with my students in the small towns, rodeo, Aspen bike race, the children at the ranch, and finally going back home to spend a day or so with my family before I had to let go of the reins of the New Yorker feed.”

Kashi says he’ll continue to use Instagram in his travels as a kind of visual journal, and “to add a twist to my main work, which tends to be very serious and issue-oriented.” Here’s a selection from his trip to Aspen.