With more than 100 million U.S. users on Instagram, finding the best accounts to follow can lead you down the rabbit hole. For the second year running, TIME LightBox selects the 51 users you must follow in each and every state, plus D.C.
A portrait and wedding photographer, Vaphiades uses Instagram to network and promote her work, but also to express how she feels. “I love to convey color and emotion in my feed,” she says. And colorful it is – from the portraits of friends, artists and models to Alabama’s landscapes.
Adams’ Instagram feed offers a window into the distant state, away from the clichés. “Alaska and its peoples are often mythologized in one way or another, and I’m interested in visually shaking that up,” she says. “We’re not all out watching the northern lights every night or summiting a peak or shooting guns.” Instead, she’s interested in showing Alaskans’ daily lives as well the state’s quirks.
For many people immersed in the Instagram universe, Donjay is a familiar name. The photographer uses some of the visual tropes that have defined Instagram – a combination of colorful landscapes and beautiful models – while still offering a unique take on the state of Arizona.
Rose’s creative career started with pencils and brushes, but quickly the camera took precedence. Now, he’s shooting for brands and sharing on Instagram a portfolio of his best images of Arkansas’ wilderness.
An established commercial photographer, Douglass has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands – including Instagram and Apple. His feed is a window into his creative mind. “I like to incorporate humor, absurdity and surrealism,” he says. “My images tend to be very minimal and design-driven.”
A photojournalist by trade, Rasmussen was first drawn to Instagram for its ability to create connection with people. “Scrolling through Instagram is a unique experience because you are interacting with your friends’ lives and then with the lives of others vastly different from you,” he says. And for anyone following Rasmussen, his feed offers a look at his assignment work.
Miller’s archives are impressive. He has thousand of images all shot on 8×10 film, and since May, he’s been sharing them on a daily basis. “Instagram gets me to think about my images as a larger, never-ending body of work about the human experience: sad, funny, beautiful and solitary,” he says.
Pritchett got his start in photography with Instagram, learning to shoot and edit his photographs by looking at the work of other Instagram users. Now, he shares his “observations of simple things,” he says, “our travels, scenes around our home, our daughter.”
Thanks to cultural touchstones like Miami Vice, Florida is synonymous with pastel colors. Ladder’s feed is no exception to the rule. Pristine beaches and colorful sunsets are plentiful, offering a paradise-like picture of Florida.
Kelia Anne MacCluskey
A graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design, MacCluskey quickly realized that her Instagram feed could reach more people than a traditional website. And she’s right. “It’s amazing the amount of exposure you can receive from a simple, well executed iPhone photograph,” she says. Her images, heavily inspired by art and fashion, are carefully crafted and always stunning.
A self-proclaimed surftographer, Ha’a mixes self-portraits with dazzling views of Hawaii’s beaches and waves. The result is a calling card for the Aloha State – one that has brought brands’ attention to Keaulana.
With no formal background in photography, Packer always looks to learn new techniques – and Instagram has been an immense source of inspiration for the Ammon-based photographer. “I use Instagram to share my perspective of Idaho and what makes it great,” he says. “Whether it’s an old barn at sunset, photographing a fresh snowfall, or catching a sunrise on the Tetons, I want others to know that Idaho is much more than just potatoes.”
Pritts likes to bring her backgrounds in technology, photography and design together in everything she does. She’s the creator of a collaborative photo app (@hippoapp), for example. And her Instagram feed reflects that approach, offering a different look at Illinois.
A complete unknown until he made our list last year for the state of Indiana, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight, once again, Wagoner’s work. “Being selected brought more life to my work,” he says. And we can feel it in the photographs he shares of his friends and his home state.
Danny Wilcox Frazier
A renowned photojournalist, Wilcox Frazier has photographed “people struggling to survive the economic shift that has devastated rural communities throughout America,” he says, including in his home state of Iowa. Brought together, his images become an ode to our country through all of its imperfections.
For the last 32 years, Richardson has shot for National Geographic and in 2012, he made the bet to start sharing some of his award-winning photographs on Instagram at a time when “a lot of photographers were scratching their heads about why you’d want to give your pictures away for free,” he says. Now, with more than 365,000 followers, it’s safe to say that he made the right bet.
Gilliland’s interest in photography started when his friends in middle school in downtown Louisville didn’t believe him when he said he lived on a farm. Since then, he strives to make photographs that make people curious. On Instagram, the photojournalist shares his vision of Kentucky.
Widmer might be photojournalist, but his Instagram feed is not just a collection of images he makes on the job. Instead, he uses his dispatches from the Gulf Coast and the Deep South to talk about environmental issues and the human ecology of the region, he says. The result is a stunning series of images with perspective.
There’s something about the fall colors coupled with Maine’s stunning coast that make anyone dream of a road trip to the country’s north-easternmost state, and Fleming captures that essence beautifully on his feed. As he says on one of his photos all you need is to “drive slow, breathe deep, and always carry a camera.”
In Scialom’s world, Maryland in general and Baltimore in particular has soul. His photographs are not just snapshots of what he sees around him, they’re as much about himself. “My whole focus is on expressing exactly what I feel in a moment, be it joy or fear or ambiguity itself,” he says. “I like to show people things from places they may never have been, in a way they may never have thought about it. Even if it’s seemingly commonplace, there is always a new way to look at things.”
There’s one reason why Boston dominates Jacob’s feed: “The city continues to take my breath away,” she says. Jacob grew up in Botswana, but for the past five years, she calls Boston her home. Through her pictures, there’s no doubt about it, the city has won her over.
Greeson might still be new to Michigan, but the photojournalist is, without doubt, committed to the state. “The purpose of my feed is to act as a pair of eyes for people who can’t be physically present. [When I covered] Flint’s water crisis, Instagram was a crucial way to remind people the daily struggles that the residents of Flint were facing. It was a way for me to be like ‘Hey! This is still going on. These people don’t have clean water. Listen!'”
You’re never quite sure what you’ll find on Soth’s Instagram feed. “I use Instagram primarily as something like a photographic sketchbook – a place to play informally with the medium,” says the famed Magnum photographer. And the results are varied – from selfies to conceptual setups – but always surprising and enlightening.
Coleman’s photographs are as much about herself as they are about Mississippi. Her goal, she says, is to see afresh that which is familiar and commonplace, and through the photos of her and her family, she’s taking us along for the ride.
Emke got hooked on photography when, hidden away in a darkroom, he saw the latent image slowly become visible in the developer. On his Instagram he shares a bit of everything from commissioned portraits topersonal projects, and also the spontaneous images that don’t necessarily fit within his larger portfolio. Yet, the photojournalist’s feed remains coherent, offering an original and personal view of Missouri.
When it comes to picturing Montana, you can’t go wrong with someone who lives inside the state’s Glacier National Park. And Ralfafara has the perfect excuse to do so: she’s a park ranger there. The result is a raw and unfiltered look at one of the U.S.’s most stunning states.
A staff photographer at the Omaha World-Herald, Hoffman uses Instagram as a visual diary, mixing personal photographs with her work for the newspaper. “Nebraska is a place most people just fly over but there are a lot of stories to be told,” she says. “As a staff photographer, I get to explore stories large and small in my community and across the state.” And sometimes, these little quieter moments, away from international headlines, can make all the difference.
From the streets of Las Vegas to the stunning wilderness of Nevada, Lace takes us inside his world through a carefully curated feed where each image is expertly composed.
New Hampshire is known for its outsized place on America’s political map but also for its charming little towns, surrounded by stunning forests. On Tully’s feed, all of that is on offer and it just makes you want to take the time to visit the state where you “live free or die.”
An established and renowned photojournalist, Kashi sees Instagram as a creative place where “I can play with imagery like never before,” he says. From capturing pure moments of his daily life to sharing his advocacy work, Ed uses Instagram to create dialogue between himself and his audience. “Simply put, it’s a space that does not exist anywhere else in photography today.”
One look at Fuentes’ feed and you’re transported into her life in New Mexico – portraits, landscapes and still-life images, each of them shot with the same care for color and composition, offer a refreshing look at a state that has become synonymous with Breaking Bad.
Raquel’s feed is all about girl power and happy vibes. “My work is heavily influenced by the essence of femininity, beauty, nature, and most importantly, color,” she says. “Color plays an extremely important role in our everyday lives — it influences our moods, our emotions, and how we perceive the world around us. [I want] to open my viewers’ eyes to the world of color, and I want people to feel the same bright, positive energy that I feel when I create.”
Boyette brings her experience in styling, interior and graphic design to her photographs to connect with “kindred spirits and find a community of people with common interests,” she says. Her beautifully composed images of interiors and landscapes are also mixed with real moments of family life in North Carolina.
A portrait and wedding photographer, Gumeringer uses North Dakota’s magnificent landscapes – from fields of sunflowers to the Great Plains – as background for his subjects. The results are always stunning, no matter the season.
McGarvey is a photojournalist who often works on assignment for national and international newspaper. On her Instagram feed she shows some of that work, mixing these images with scenes from daily life. On anyone’s account, this might look disjointed, but not with McGarvey’s work. Brought together, her work forms a coherent and visually mesmerizing view of Ohio.
Mudliar’s career in photography started with Instagram. “A friend had shown me several pictures on the app and I was amazed that they were just taken using an iPhone, a tool that so many people have,” he says. Now, he shares portraits and landscapes taken in his home state of Oklahoma, as he continues to be inspired by the app’s growing community.
Allen is a fine-art photographer, and one look at her feed will transport you in her world where personal and instrospective portraits are married with Oregon’s mesmerizing landscapes. For her, Instagram offers more liberties than more traditional publishing avenues. “It grants an ability to move from day to day, project to project,” she says.
For Edlow, Instagram is a public sketchbook. “I was frustrated with the ever changing way of showing off work online,” she says. “I tried blogging. Not for me. I needed to have something that went from brain to camera to the internet quickly. Instagram did that.” Since then, she’s stalking light and shadow in the streets of Philadelphia.
Hulin might live in Rhode Island, but her feed “Hey Harry, Hey Matilda” takes place in a fictional world. It’s the story of twins told in photographs and emails, in which they share the mundane details of their lives and concerns about the future. All of it lives and breathes on Instagram.
Rayford started photography in high school, but he fell in love with the medium all over again when he joined Instagram. With his phone, he was suddenly “exploring the medium in ways I never would have with just a DSLR,” he says. His feed mixes personal images with the work he’s doing as a photojournalist, which sees him covering riots in Charlotte to Hurricane Matthew in Charleston.
Seaman might be based in California but she has spent the last months in South Dakota extensively documenting the protests at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Through a mix of portraits, still lives and reportage images, she’s providing unriveled coverage of the situation on the ground.
Tennessee is music. And on Beaver’s Instagram account, it’s all about music. For the 15 years, she’s been documenting the live music scene in her state and in the last two years, she’s sharing her images – both old and new – mixing portraits with live shots. “I started using Instagram just for fun, but then it took on a life of its own and now gets me photo work.” And that’s music to our ears.
Schutmaat’s photography is artistic in nature, but his message is journalistic. Through his beautiful photographs of Texas’ landscapes, Bryan takes us on a stunning photographic exploration to talk about America’s heritage and its place in the world today.
If you’re thinking about Utah, you’re visualizing limitless salt lakes and bright orange rock formations. Ravindran’s Instagram delivers on those expectations and he doesn’t disappoint. In just five years, Ravindran has traveled more than 58,000 miles around Utah to share its beauty.
Greer got his start in photography when he discovered Instagram. “Being in the digital design space, my friends recommended I get on the app,” he says. “I did and I really got into it.” His style is ecclectic, photographing people, objects and landscapes to capture Vermont’s essence.
Eich is a photojournalist, but his feed is not just about his work. It’s also about his own family life in Charlottesville. With portraits of his wife and kids, he captures life’s reality through smiles and tears alike.
Lamb is a self-taught photographer who’s spent the last four years documenting his state in all of its beauty. But, he says, that’s not his only focus. Now, he wants to “document both the day-to-day and the highlight reel, so to speak, of things that I see and experience in this life.”
“Instagram is my journal and probably the closest thing I will have to a photo album,” says Soares. And like any good photo album, there are a lot of stunning portraits – from politicians to athletes and everyday people. Plus, he says, Instagram “provides a way for me to continue a conversation with the people that I meet on assignment or in the field during personal projects as well as my friends and family.”
As a staff photographer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Owens has seen a lot of West Virginia. On her Instagram feed, she shares a visual record of the people she’s met and the places she’s seen, offering a deeply personal view of a state that’s often forgotten on the national stage.
With more than 800,000 followers, Senatori needs little introduction. The Wisconsin-based aerial photographer shares striking views of his state in all of its colorful beauty.
Charlie Hamilton James
Hamilton James discovered Instagram when his boss at National Geographic, Sarah Leen, showed it to him. “Now, I love it.” The nature photographer and photojournalist uses the platform to make people laugh, he says, but through his images, we get a lot more than just “funny pictures.” We also get a view of rural America that’s refreshing.
Design & Code by Victor Williams & Dave Johnson