Instagram Gets a Museum: Curating Our Digital Heritage


By Sally O’Dowd and Annie Granatstein of OpenCommunications

When Hassan Kinley first heard about Instagramers Gallery, a new digital collection of global photography and contest, he knew his arty readers would want to know about it. He posted an article on his publication’s website, Karin + Raoul, to reach its “broad community of entrepreneurs, artists, and photographers.”

And then, as an avid photographer himself, Kinley couldn’t help but create his own account. He posted a photo of the word “love” as it was written on a steamy window by the musician Bouboulena. To his surprise it won the $ 1,000 daily prize.

Kinley, who lives in New York, is part of a global group of professional and amateur photographers who have been using Instagram to share their photos with their followers; and who are now taking their work to Instagramers Gallery to showcase it to a worldwide audience.

The “IG” — launched in December by two Spanish advertising and media executives — is the world’s first museum to grow from a social network. Dedicated entirely to Instagram, it’s already the largest digital collection of photography across the globe. It is also spawning physical presences, with a Madrid museum opening in February, plus a Miami installation recently launched in December.

The co-founders, Philippe Gonzalez and Jorge Martinez, have been at the forefront of artistic and social innovation throughout their careers. The idea for Instagramers Gallery, a unifying force for visual storytelling, was the next logical step for them.

In 2011, Gonzalez, whose creative work and techie lifestyle has been featured on CNN and Mashable, launched, the largest network of Instagram fans in the world with 350 groups in over 60 countries. Both a painter and photographer working in black and white, he is the director of new media at Chello Multicanal (part of AMC Networks).

Martinez is the founding partner of Germinal Communication, one of the most-awarded creative and design firms in Spain. No doubt he brings international and societal awareness to the IG, for he has led creative campaigns for the United Nations and Save the Children. For Doctors without Borders Spain, he conceptualized and developed the interactive Pills Against Other People’s Pain project featuring Xavier Bardem.

Instagramers Gallery: Daily and Global Prizes

What’s more, IG is part of a global trend worth noting: the curation of our generation’s digital heritage. The Library of Congress is also in the game. It’s curating all American tweets as a means to capture the “story of America.” Meanwhile, two Dutch creatives last month launched a digital-only Internet museum.

But the IG goes a step further, awarding serious prizes to the best photos in the gallery. Prizes of $ 1,000 are awarded daily to the most-liked photos, which will be exhibited in the Miami museum. The daily winners will then be judged by a global panel of well-known personalities, who will award a whopping $ 100,000 to the best photo of the year on April 30. This is the largest photography prize ever granted.

As for Kinley, the magazine editor who won the daily IG prize, Instagramers Gallery has given him a global platform to visually capture the issue he cares about most: love. “For a long time, I’ve been on a mission to spread love and to try to figure out how to visually capture the essence of love,” Kinley said. “The Instagramers Galley is another way to motivate people to capture the same energy.”

Sally O’Dowd is chief of strategy and Annie Granatstein is director of content at New York-based OpenCommunications, a multimedia content-creation and communications company. Find the company on Instagram @opencommsomni. Find them on Twitter @opencommsomni  @sallyodowd and @anniegranat.

Hassan Kinley is a creative director, photographer, and editor of Karin + Raoul. Find him on and Instagram @hassankinleycreative.

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