May 9, 2014 4:00 AM EDT

Welcome to our Mother’s Day edition of LightBox Follow Friday, a series where we feature the work of photographers who are using Instagram in new and engaging ways. Each week we introduce you to the person behind the feed through his or her pictures, and feature an interview with the photographer.

For this week’s special Mother’s Day edition of #LightBoxFF, TIME speaks to photographer Tierney Gearon (@tierneygearon), whose says she uses Instagram to capture the magic and immediate moments of family life, and visually share a piece of her existence with the world.

LightBox: Your Instagram feed revolves around your family and your personal life. What is it like sharing that part of yourself with so many people?

TG: Instgram is a very special way of sharing. I’m very careful about what I post because I am sharing my life and my family. I want to share images of our life, but at the same time I am careful not to show images in a way that gives you an insight into the life and personality of just one person or child. I share a variety of images that all connect, but I’m not just telling one story.

LightBox: How are you using Instagram now, and how has it become a part of your professional practice.

TG: When I first joined Instagram I only posted what I took from my iPhone, and always something that happened that day. Every now and then I post an image I did not take on my iPhone, but that’s very rare. I treat Instagram the same way I do my personal photo projects: I do it because I love it. I am a perfectionist. I want every post to be something special. Instagram allows people to share personal moments, which is so much more intimate and instant than sending out a portfolio.

May 26, 2013. My beautiful mother, whose spirit keeps me going.
LightBox: What is the purpose of your feed? What does Instagram provide for you that other platforms don’t.

I love sharing my creative moments with the world. It feels good to be able to give a visual gift to people, like I’m giving a piece of myself to the world. I try to inspire and stimulate people’s minds. A year ago Instagram started following me. When that happens, people around the world you would never have access to start following you.

LightBox: Why did you start using Instagram, and how has your use of it changed since your first post?

TG: About two-and-a-half years ago I had six kids in my house from the ages of 14 to 21 and they were all using and talking about Instagram, so I decided to join and start posting. At first it was fun to post moments we could share with each other and our close friends who followed us. When I started having more followers and understanding how Instagram worked I became more careful about what I would post. I want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to share interesting visuals of my life, but not in an offensive way. I don’t want to appear too flashy or sexual. My goal is to inspire and stimulate, not show off or insult.

Dec. 13, 2013. Family Road Trip, Day Two.

LightBox: Which post inspired the most audience feedback and engagement? Why do you think that photo got people’s attention, and do you agree with it?

TG: A few months ago I decided to document a road trip I was on with my kids and friends. Every day I wanted to create an amazing, magical image to share from the trip. It was like people could tune in every day to see what was happening. For months people I didn’t even know were following me, telling me how great the road trip was. It was incredibly inspiring . The only drawback was capturing such incredible images on my iPhone and not my professional camera. But I realized maybe it doesn’t matter, because the moments I captured and shared were almost like moments that should only have been shared in an instantaneous way, rather than printed and put in a book. It was instant, and that’s what made it so special.

Jan. 25, 2013. Almost perfect family photo! Despite the fact I am a photographer I can never get my kids to pose for a family snap shot.

Tierney Gearon is a photographer based in Los Angeles.

Krystal Grow is a writer for TIME LightBox

See more photographers chosen by TIME for #LightBoxFF here


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