We caught up with Steve (aka Queenscapes) to see what him and his team are up to for 2016, his insights on Instagram, and his favorite grammers at the moment.
I think the hardest part in maintaining such a large following is staying as objective as possible.
After numerous exhibits and IRL events associated with Queenscapes at the end of 2015, I noticed that it was already more than just an Instagram page. With time Queenscapes quickly evolved into a community initiative, and it was time for me to expand on that idea. Today, Queenscapes is a community based organization that creates photography programs for schools, community centers, after school programs and local businesses.
I’ve also enlisted the help of friends and family who play key roles in Queenscapes: Salvador Espinoza is our Director of Photography and Curator, Denise Vazquez is the Creative Director and runs our website, and Daniel Vazquez is the team’s Editorial Director who reviews and revises all written content. There is also a host of volunteers that are helping us reach our goal of becoming incorporated before the end of the year.
We are currently working on four separate programs, our biggest one being a project titled, “Queens (as the world’s) Village: Know your Neighbor” which examines the Queens Village sub-neighborhood covering the area east of Hillside Ave from 215th Street to Springfield Blvd. The project addresses and exposes the issue of cultural indifference by educating and uniting the diverse business owners and residents in this area in a series of workshops, exhibit and panel discussion.This project is at present up for grant funding.
Even though Queenscapes has branched out from Instagram, it is still our pulse. The Queenscapes feed is still run solely by me, and it is where I get the most feedback. It also represents the origin and still most dedicated of our audiences. Yes, I do feel new content must be added daily because it shows our followers that I am still dedicated to them as much as it shows my gratitude for the fact they helped build Queenscapes from a hashtag into a viable brand.
I think the hardest part in maintaining such a large following is staying as objective as possible. While there are some real issues happening in Queens, our fan base especially on Instagram is very diverse and varied and they follow me for very different reasons, by imposing my own viewpoints, I rob the viewer of applying his own perspective, and takes away the connection they have with the areas I photograph. Queenscapes has and will always be about empowering the community, by keeping it involved and inclusive.
It’s tough to pick only 3 favorite Instagrammers, because I have so many accounts that I love, but if I had to narrow it down: