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Five local Instagram users you should follow

Wade Agro.
Wade Agro.
Chandravani Sathiyamurthi.
Chandravani Sathiyamurthi.
Stefanie Hiebert.
Stefanie Hiebert.
Steve St. Louis.
Steve St. Louis.
Wab Kinew.
Wab Kinew.

Listen up, Instagram followers. If you’ve lost all hope that this smartphone-based photo sharing app will ever be good for anything besides showing you pictures of drunk people at Jets games, your pessimism is well-founded.

However, there is another side to Instagram. It’s sophisticated, it’s thought-provoking and it’s happening in this very city. Read on to discover, perhaps to your surprise, that Winnipeg outside of the MTS Centre still exists.

Wade Argo

If you’re a fan of interesting architecture, Wade Argo, 32, is the man to follow. His shots of Winnipeg buildings give a new life to the historic landmarks that most of us walk past every day. He also regularly posts cool shots of flowers and cloud formations. His large arsenal of nifty filters really bring out the side of an old entrance way or sunset that isn’t apparent in the original photo.
“I enjoy playing with a number of different apps for editing my shots and often will just edit and tweak photos until I get something cool and visually pleasing,” Argo says.
He also edits and posts his pre-Instagram photography from various travels outside the city and the country, which keeps things exciting.

Chandravani Sathiyamurthi

Everyone looks at things differently, and sometimes the most exciting image to see is the mundane through someone else’s eyes.
Vani Sathiyamurthi’s photos of Winnipeg will have you convinced that you live in a different city altogether.
Rest assured, though, that these are the same streets and trees and bridges. Unless they are the streets and bridges of Malaysia - where many of her photos are from - mixed in with the local scenery.
The high contrast filters on many of Sathiyamurthi’s photos gives the strong sense that her subjects are slowly fading, which makes browsing her profile an almost urgent activity.
Follow at your own risk - it may lead you to have to admit that social media has value after all.

Stefanie Hiebert

It’s one thing to put a vintage filter on a photo, but quite another to take truly vintage photos.
“I am really inspired by mid-century and atomic-era housewares,” says Stefanie Hiebert, 25, co-owner of the Exchange-based vintage boutique Rhymes with Orange and the Oh So Lovely blog/mobile fashion trailer. “I am very drawn to the unique designs and pretty colours that you don’t normally see in every day modern life.”
She says that many of her photos are actually taken in her own home, which she styles as a vintage time capsule. Lovers of ’50s- and ’60s-style clothing and decor won’t be able to stop browsing Hiebert’s nearly 500 photos. Judging by her more than 20,000 followers, Hiebert is on to something big.

Steve St. Louis

Steve St. Louis is an old-timer in the Instagram world.
With more than 68 weeks and 1,000 photos under his profile’s belt, this is a catalogue of photos worth checking out. St. Louis’s photos of vinyl records are a must see for the vintage artwork enthusiast and his photos from around Winnipeg and around the world, especially Japan, have a little something for everyone.
“I like clean and simple filters and have three or four that I use consistently,” says St. Louis, 39. “I’m not a fan of photos that are over-produced, noisy and super-saturated.”
As a hobby photographer for the past 15 years, St. Louis brings sophistication to the Instagram world that might just make you forget what world you’re in.

Wab Kinew

If you’re into following the stars, Wab Kinew is a home-grown hero who serves as his own paparazzi. Kinew, a Winnipeg-based hip-hop artist, CBC Radio personality and native rights activist, is a busy guy - and it shows.
His profile is a fascinating mix of promos for upcoming shows and events, pictures of the people he meets in his travels and an intimate record of his personal and professional life. One picture shows a letter of congratulations from the CBC for an employment anniversary. Another is a dog impound notice.
At their heart, Kinew’s photos tell a story that will probably be different for each person that sees them, which feels distinctly like Winnipeg.
Kinew writes under one photo: “Please, call me Wab. Mr. Kinew is my father!”

Published in Volume 66, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 21, 2012)

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