Instagram is gigantic: the world's largest cohesive community of people who consider photography to be part of their personal expression. photokina is also of course represented on Instagram with its own channel in order to show how photography is continuing to develop, and of course to encourage visitors to come to photokina in Cologne. In order to successfully achieve this, the channel needed a professional makeover. To this purpose, photokina recruited a real expert with Michael Schulz from @berlinstagram.
Christoph Menke, Director of photokina, and Michael Schulz explain how the cooperation arose in an interview
Tell us how it all started!
Christoph Menke: In the summer of 2017, the Huawei P9 with an integrated dual camera from Leica was compared with the mirrorless Q camera from Leica in a photography trade magazine, in that the same motif was photographed with both cameras. The man "behind the smartphone" was Michael. His career was sketched in the article: from original Instagramer to professional photographer and communications consultant. Together with his a half a million Instagram followers, he was an interesting candidate for us as a multiplier in reaching a target group that will become increasingly important for photokina in future.
Michael Schulz: The photokina enquiry was immediately of great interest to me. I had already worked together with the trade fair in 2014 in the context of an Instagram takeover. I of course had good memories of photokina and was pleased when the team expressed their interest in talking to me again. I receive a lot of enquiries every day and am usually reduced in my role as an influencer to the number of my followers. This although social media has so much potential for developing authentic content that offers both a company and its target group added value in equal measure. That photokina recognised this and wanted to take this fact as a starting point was of great interest to me from the very first moment.
Originally the plan was more of a cooperation in terms of content. How did the relaunch of the channel come about?
Christoph Menke: One of the things that has most stuck with me from our first personal meeting in Cologne is that Michael expressed how little regard he has for the term "influencer". During a phase in which we as a trade fair were in fact critically analysing the theme of influencer marketing and relations, this struck a nerve and at the same time enabled another approach to the cooperation. Michael's core statement was as follows: before we talk about individual postings or actions for Instagram, let's first have a fundamental look at how your Instagram channel can function.
Michael Schulz: Together with my business partner Stephan Hamacher, I had a look at the Instagram channel of photokina and determined that it was missing something like a concept or a content strategy designed especially for this channel. At the same time, we recognised the potential for making it a platform for attractive, entertaining and informative content revolving around the theme of photography and videography, and this across brands and technologies.
Michael, you assumed responsibility for content creation for the channel in June. What does the concept look like now?
Michael Schulz: A wide range of sub-communities has developed on Instagram that have each found their own theme. We will select one photographer from these communities as a series and present these in the Instagram channel of photokina. Despite all the differences between the characters und styles, there will be clear realms of content: it's about the photos, the stories behind these, the work technique, the equipment and the personal relationship with photography. One then finds out more about the work of these photographers in detail at photokina, because they give lectures or conduct workshops there.
Christoph, where do you see the greatest strength of your cooperation?
Christoph Menke: For one thing, in this way we can also offer high quality content outside of the context of the trade fair that stimulates an intense involvement with the image medium. On the other hand we would like to do away with a variety of prejudices suggesting that no "serious" photography takes place in social media, that photokina is only of interest to real professional photographers, or that no high quality images are possible with smartphones.
The message is: irrespective of the technique and the technology used for the recording, processing or presentation of images, these can be emotionally moving, document authentically or be of artistic value.