Instagram & the Photo Series

Esquire Art Director Stravinksi Pierre shares his Instagram S-Series and a few thoughts photographers may want to keep in mind.

When your first name is Stravinski, you have a lot to work with, creatively-speaking. Particularly if you were named after the Russian composer, you went to school for graphic design at FIT and you work for an iconic mens' magazine.

For Stravinski Pierre, an art director at Esquire, finding S's during his daily routine in New York City was the perfect graphic extension of his identity. "It started because I needed a cool cover photo for Facebook," Pierre says.  But within the past year, he had collected so many worthy photos of rouge S's, that he decided to share them with a wider audience using his Instagram account.  


Always found at his feet, Pierre has snapped his first initial stenciled on pavement, cemented as part of tile-work and embossed on manhole covers. "Sometimes I get lucky and find an S and P together," says Pierre, who's not above using his shoe to artfully cover non-S letters (it's all about sticking to a theme afterall).

The S-Series allows Pierre to look at seemingly mundane objects more artistically, and constantly be thinking about creative captures. "I have hundreds of shots that I've never posted—if it's not a good photo, why bother?" he says. "It's all about finding ancillary stuff, not obvious stuff."

Pierre picks up creative inspiration from other visual artists, following the feeds of design master Stefan Sagmeister and photographers Sebastian Erra's @parisianfloors.  


"Everyday I look forward to what he's going to post." Pierre says of Erras. "His floors are as cool as anything I've ever seen, so even if he were to shoot a car or other object, I want to see his angle and how he can pull it off."

It's that kind of continuity of a series that impresses Pierre more than anything.  "It shows that you can hold an idea," he says. "Also, when it's well done personal work—not a celebrity shot that's glossy or has high-quality magazine finish—I want to see that."

Images that pop up in Pierre's feed have also led to a collaboration at Esquire--one example is with artist and designer James Victore who the magazine has a history with, but hadn't tapped for anything recently. "Two weeks ago he posted something on Instagram and I thought, 'Whoa, he'd be perfect for something we have coming up,'" Pierre explains.  "It was natural because I had seen his work so recently."

And that's pretty much the magic of an app that's as current as it is graphic, providing endless possibilities for photographers to reveal their personalities and get noticed in real time.  


"It's really cool to see what photographers are doing—you can get past the agency bullshit and don't have to wait forever for them to update their websites," Pierre says. "It's just a photographer saying, 'Here's what I can do' or 'I have a personality that would be perfect for you.'  And you can see it immediately with nine shots on your phone. It's like, 'Alright, I need to work with that person.'"

Photos © Stravinski Pierre