9 Philadelphians to Follow on Instagram

By John Paul Titlow
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 26 | Posted Aug. 29, 2012

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Unless you’re a news junkie or minor local celebrity—let’s be honest —Twitter is hard to get into. And Facebook? It’s massive, but the vibe changed the minute you got a friend request from one of your grandparents. Now it’s just an inescapable—and occasionally weird—part of everyday life, like it or not.

Instagram, on the other hand, is blowing up faster than either Twitter or Facebook were in their early days. Not even two years old, the trendy photo-sharing app for smartphones is on track to sign up its 100-millionth user any day now. That’s pretty insane.

Unlike most of its social media brethren—including its new parent company, Facebook—Instagram is a distinctly visual medium. Its smartphone-exclusivity and vintage-looking photo filters earned it a hipster reputation early on, but the service has since attracted all kinds of people. Naturally, photographers are drawn to it, as are designers and other visual artists. It’s also made up of everyday people who use it to document everything from storm clouds to whatever they happen to have to just ordered for brunch.

Those hordes of users are scattered across the globe, but Philadelphia is pretty well-represented on Instagram. Tapping the #philly tag reveals nearly a quarter of a million recent photos from around our fair city.

So who are the best Instagrammers in Philly? Based on a mix of their own popularity, reader recommendations and our subjective whims, we compiled a list of nine must-follow Philadelphians. We stuck mostly to photographers who cover the city from broad, yet unique perspectives. There are plenty of people Instagramming the shit out of this city, and way too many of them are impressively capturing the essence of Philadelphia, with or without a filter. 


1. Streets Dept

Conrad Benner got his start at Philebrity and Philthy Blog, but these days, the Philly-born photographer is best known for Streets Dept, the site on which he documents street art throughout the city. His popular Instagram account mostly follows the street art theme of its namesake blog, but often branches out beyond that. Benner actively seeks out new nooks and crannies from which to capture Philly, from rooftops and alleyways to cemeteries and dive bars.



2. Neal Santos

When he’s not shooting photos for City Paper , Neal Santos is urban-farming at Farm 51 in Southwest Philly. Both passions shine through in his Instagram account, which blends food photography with some of the best Philly street portraits you’ve ever seen.





3. David Maialetti

Daily News and Inquirer photographer David Maialetti Instagrams Philly as he sees it. Thankfully, for the rest of us, he has a remarkable eye. From playful man-on-the-street portraits to the funeral of a murdered police officer, Maialetti covers the gamut of what Philly looks like, nailing it every time.


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Comments 1 - 26 of 26
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1. Dan Bradley said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 09:22AM

“You forgot this guy @dbdesign (sheeesh)”

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2. Lucas K. Murray said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 10:55AM

“Well-deserved honor for Douglas Bovitt. Good dude, good shots.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:15AM

“I think @heyrizzo deserves a shout out for his extensive and beautifully artistic coverage of street art. Consistantly frequent updates, also.”

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4. Sam Kantor said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:30AM

“I agree with the above comment. I really feel that @heyrizzo was left out of this article. His work accentuates Philadelphia's street art scene and the people of this city.”

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5. Jiggy Fly said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:33AM

“Seems like it's all professional photographers. What about the little guys?”

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6. Lucas K. Murray said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:41AM

“Forget the little guys. Big time, trained shooters are where it's at. How many of these small fish can hit a dark room and make a decent shot? Leave the real work to the pros.

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7. Jiggy Fly said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:52AM

“I just went through every one of the feeds. 2 or 3 deserve to be here. There are way more Philly IGers that are more deserving and blow these feeds away. And yes, they are little guys. Cmon, really? One of the feeds was mostly of the dude's cat. SMH!!”

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8. Jiggy Fly said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 12:02PM

“I'll put my feed (@jiggyfly) up against most of these guys and I do it as a hobby. I'm just sayin the author should have researched this better. Or did he just write the article for his buddies? I should have looked at all the feeds before I tweeted this article. Damn.”

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9. John Paul Titlow said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 12:03PM

“This list was by no means easy to compile, and of course it involves some subjectivity (and I would honestly be shocked if there were no dissent). There were quite a few people that I wanted to include, but got bumped, mostly in the interest of brevity. There are also several sub-niches of local Instagrammers - foodies, visual artists, musicians, for starters - that could easily populate their own separate "best of" lists. On the whole, though, I think this is a pretty solid list.”

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10. Jiggy Fly said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 12:14PM

“John, I'm not saying these feeds are horrible. They are decent. Solid list? Must Follow? I disagree. I just feel this list misrepresents the "Must Follow Philadelphians" on instagram.”

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11. John Paul Titlow said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 12:38PM

“Not gonna lie, @jiggyfly, your feed is awesome. Also, the props for @heyrizzo are well-deserved. I wish this list could have been longer. Too many good Instagrammers in this town.”

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12. Douglas said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 01:34PM

“Jiggly Fly, If you're referring to me, sorry you feel that way, but I have at least five cats up there. Regardless, your gallery is really impressive, nice work!”

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13. Christian said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 04:26PM

“Somewhat agree with @jiggyfly. Nonetheless, for some Philly and mostly travel photos, feel free to follow along: @picture_philly”

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14. el said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 04:42PM

“you forgot this guy and that guy and practically women altogether. are women not using instagram in this town?”

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15. John Rizzo said... on Aug 29, 2012 at 07:29PM

“I like the list. Its solid and must have been hard going through so many profiles. Thank you for the props and you wrote a great article.”

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16. Eric said... on Aug 30, 2012 at 08:45PM

“I agree with almost of all of what's been said (I'm very happy to have been included on the list but I'm also confident there are many who deserved to be included but were not), but I would like to applaud John for his insightful words about what Instagram is and what it means. Unlike other social media (and I'd hesitate to even include Instagram as social media for those who treat it as an art form and forum), it is all about the image. It really has become a democratizing, world-wide gallery for millions of serious artists/photographers.

I also agree that there are women (obviously) who are doing excellent things on Instagram. For example, check out @kmencher (yeah, I'm biased).”

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17. Heidi said... on Aug 31, 2012 at 11:12AM

“In response to Lucas Murray - you're missing the point of instagram. IG has nothing to do with dark rooms or professional photographers. The point is amazing mobile photography. Insta = Instant - take a photo with the phone in your pocket, edit and post, all from this incredible piece of technology we all carry around with us. IG has been inundated with a lot of junk lately, but there's some really beautiful photography to be found!”

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18. Dana said... on Sep 2, 2012 at 09:43PM

“You're missing my two favorite Philly IGers: @mr_fisher and @chuckseye. These guys love Philadelphia and their feeds reflect that!”

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19. Anonymous said... on Sep 3, 2012 at 06:36PM


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20. B_RUBIO said... on Sep 4, 2012 at 03:43PM

“SHOUT OUT @Heyrizzo !!!!”

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21. Anonymous said... on Sep 6, 2012 at 06:37AM

“Typical Philly. This is a really dumb article and a dumb list. There is one woman on the list? Awesome. We women-folk must have a long way to go to prove ourselves on ye ol instagram. I'm gonna get right on that.”

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22. Lucas K. Murray said... on Sep 7, 2012 at 09:44PM

“You're missing my point, Heidi. Everyone thinks they're a photographer.

I get paid for my stuff, but I don't shamelessly go plugging my work or throwing my IG profile around.

The guy swooped in, talked trash on a professional and then bounced. I hope he enjoys his likes.

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23. Anonymous said... on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:09AM

“Whats up with people taking photos with their cameras and then posting them through instagram? I find that kind of lame and missing the point of instagram.”

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24. Steve said... on Oct 22, 2012 at 12:51PM

“what about @wpbelcher that posts patterns and dead birds?”

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25. Anonymous said... on Nov 27, 2012 at 08:54PM

“Check out @Shafferr1. Pictures of Philadelphia, Bucks County, Jersey Shore and more.”

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26. Myato_takechi said... on Jul 12, 2013 at 08:41PM



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