Five Instagram accounts that do a top job of curating the best the city has to offer
Six years ago, when online photo-sharing service Instagram launched, few reckoned the possibilities it held. The initial draw of luminous, low-light filters, which made the ordinary look extraordinary, and the beautiful, a photographic masterpiece, gradually fuelled our obsession with selfies and food porn.
A group of Instagram enthusiasts are now trying to clear the clutter by chronicling visual narratives from Mumbai. And with the fan following they enjoy, the project is only getting bigger.
Helming these accounts are photojournalists and curators, fuelled by a common passion — to showcase the city's people and its burgeoning, yet vibrant landscape.
Everyday Mumbai (@everydaymumbai)
Curator: Chirag Wakaskar (35), independent photographer
Joined: June 2014
USP: It follows in the lines of Everyday accounts (like @everydayafrica, @everydayasia), capturing daily happenings. Walaskar enjoys 85,400 followers and has showcased the works of 500 photographers.
The project: "I used to enjoy the @everydayafrica feed, and thought why not do something similar here. During the first four months, people weren't interested in my captures. At one point, I approached fellow photojournalists to share their images on the feed. Somehow, it picked up by the end of 2014. It's good to have so many people hashtag their images to get featured here," says Wakaskar.
My best: "I remember putting up a photo by Manjari Sharma (@manjee), a photo artist, who shared an image of her mother (in pic), a dementia patient, being fed coconut malai by a coconut vendor. It captures the true spirit of Mumbai."
Things to do in Mumbai (@things2doinmumbai)
Curator: Rahul B. Agrawal (20), B.Tech student, VJTI Institute
Joined: March 2015
USP: The page was introduced with the idea of sharing photos of irresistible street food and places to thrift-shop. Agrawal also curates images of things to do and places to go to. Within a year, the page has earned more than 60,500 followers.
The project: "I am crazy about Mumbai. And since I am always on the lookout for something fun to do, I decided to start @things2doinMumbai. It's an amazing feeling when you see people take up your suggestion do the stuff mentioned on the feed," says Agrawal.
My best: "The Ganpati visarjan in Bhandup is a touching moment, and depicts how beloved Lord Ganesha is to Mumbaikars."
Streets of Mumbai (@streets.of.mumbai)
Curators: Rufus Reynolds (33) and (right) Dikshit Mundra (22), freelance photographers
Joined: October 2015
USP: Streets of Mumbai takes off from Streets of India, which was also started by Reynolds and team. And unlike what the handle's name suggests, the photos are not intended at showcasing the streets, but metaphorically speak of places and people that the city's roads lead you to.
The project: "I started it as a fun project, not realising it would become this popular. The idea was to provide a
platform for talent," Reynolds says.
My best: "My favourite is an image I clicked when I moved into a flat on the 17th floor of a Worli building in 2014. I remember getting up one morning, and witnessing a dramatic sky. That day, it felt like the city was changing in front of me," says co-curator Mundra.
My Mumbai (@my_Mumbai)
Curator: Devendra Kantilal (25), hospitality professional
Joined: February 2014
USP: It collates biographies of Mumbai residents and visitors. Kantilal, who is based out of Dubai, has curated over 1061 photos.
The project: "I started @my_mumbai after moving to Dubai. I had begun to miss Mumbai, and wished to fill the void. The feed has now become my home away from home. Each time I miss the city, I go back to my feed, and witness its spectacular vibe, as it plays out in front of me through the images that I share with the world," Kantilal says.
Mumbai Heritage (@mumbaiheritage)
Curator: Kunal Ravishashimani Tripathi (31), engineer with BEST Undertaking
USP: It is currently the only account on Instagram to showcase lesser-known places of historical and local importance, as well as heritage sites, within Mumbai. Along with the photos, Tripathi also mentions the grades that heritage structures enjoy. He has covered over 250 sites.
The project: "My tryst with the city's history began three years ago. Some colleagues introduced me to these places, fuelling my interest in exploring the 'lost' Mumbai," Tripathi says.
My best: "I can't single out a picture. I'm just happy I am doing my bit for heritage."