More to a ‘Like’ —

The Real World of Instagram with Edward Barnieh


Edward Barnieh is a photographer currently based in Hong Kong who’s originally from the UK. He has been using Instagram since 2013 and has a verified account with 210,000 followers. He had no expectations when he first started using the app, and certainly didn’t think using it would lead to him becoming a well-known photographer. We live in an era where parents send their kids to summer camp for coaching on becoming social media hits, and where people aspire to amass enough of an online presence to merit sponsored holidays abroad. Edward wound up, by accident and not by design, into that life.

“There’s a magical moment with commercial photography on Instagram where you can sometimes be paid for the photo that you love doing anyway. But 50 percent of the time you do have to have some sort of compromise.”

“You definitely need ability to get started. You can have all the luck in the world but if you’re not creating good photos then no one’s going to look at them.”

“I was a very big believer in all of my photos having a somewhat similar aesthetic that I can understand even if others can’t see it. But I would look back at the photos maybe two weeks later, like a two three-week period worth of photos, and there was no relation to any of them. They weren’t making sense. And so I just kind of had to re-evaluate.”

David Kenji Chang talks with the founder in his LA studio and new shop to talk about his life’s work and staying weird in a weird world.