Stacey Baker, an Associate Editor at the New York Times Magazine, has an Instagram feed full of ladies legs, which she photographs on the streets of New York City in what she calls an "impromptu creative exchange"
Aug. 13, 2013. 53rd and 8th @lahvsen
Welcome to this week’s edition of TIME LightBox Follow Friday, a series where we feature the work of photographers using Instagram in new, interesting and engaging ways. Each week we will introduce you to the person behind the feed through his or her pictures and an interview with the photographer.
This week on #LightBoxFF, TIME speaks to New York Times Magazine Associate Photo Editor Stacey Baker (@stace_a_lace) whose Citilegs project shows various women’s legs standing against New York City’s walls and fences. Despite her demanding career, she continually adds to the body of work, allowing both her project and her users’ perceptions of it to grow.
LightBox: What is the Citilegs project, and what influences you to do it?
SB: They’re pictures of women’s legs. I approach women, mostly on the streets of New York, and ask permission to photograph their legs usually against a nearby wall. The most successful pictures are portraits of the women, I think. How they stand, the shape of their legs, what they wear — all of that is a reflection of who they are even if you can’t see their faces. I’ve always paid attention to other women’s legs because I always wanted longer, thinner legs. But the more legs I photograph, the more I realize that it’s legs with curves that make the most beautiful pictures. Some of them look like sculptures. I meet the nicest women. I’m usually not with them longer than 10 minutes, but it’s a kind of wonderful impromptu creative exchange.
Aug. 3, 2014.69th & Madison @iamtabithaw
LightBox: What does Instagram provide for you, that other platforms don’t?
SB: What I love about Instagram is the immediate feedback. The number of likes don’t necessarily tell me much. The sexiest legs are going to get the most number of likes–that I know! But some of the comments have been insightful and have helped me understand the project. Early on, some followers wrote that they saw the project as empowering. That they show confidence and strength. I didn’t see that before.
Jun 22, 2013. 29th & 7th
LightBox: Both you and (New York Times Director of Photography) Kathy Ryan (@kathyryan1) have highly active Instagram accounts. How do you two interact creatively in regards to Instagram? How does it play into your relationship?
SB: We both love our extracurricular photo projects on Instagram. I think it’s been yet another way for us to fall in love with photography. Instagram is a wonderful resource for us as photo editors. Kathy has given assignments to two photographers she found on Instagram. It’s a great source of inspiration, allows us to keep tabs on where photographers are in the world and to discover new talent. I think Instagram is the absolute best way that a photographer can get their work in front of a photo editor.
LightBox: What role do you think Instagram plays in photography, and in people’s everyday lives?
SB: Instagram is an exciting new medium. It’s an opportunity for young photographers to quickly develop an audience and for established photographs to experiment or reinvent themselves. Look at what photographers like David Guttenfelder and Alec Soth are doing on it. I wish more photographers would embrace iPhone photography and Instagram. I would love to see images by Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin and Lars Tunbjork show up in my feed. I wonder what they would do with this medium.
Stacey Baker is an Associate Photo Editor at the New York Times Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @stace_a_lace.
Josh Raab is a contributor to TIME LightBox
See more from TIME’s #LightBoxFF series here