Steve Berra: Artful Instagrammer
Instagram is a unique social media platform; it gives you the opportunity to glimpse into someone’s life through their eyes. This series highlights individuals who use Instagram to its fullest potential. You may not already know their names, but each person is unique and, of course, out in left field.
The first person who I’m going to feature in this series has been a personal inspiration of mine for over 15 years: Steve Berra @steveberra. You may know Steve as an American professional skateboarder, and also as the co-founder and co-owner of the wildly popular skateboarding website, The Berrics.
What I admire most about Steve is his ability to continue to evolve and innovate. He’s constantly finding new ways to interact and create with existing media. He’s not recreating the wheel, he’s just taking that wheel and making it way more interesting than it was before.
Steve started a project on Instagram over a year ago that inspired me every single day. It was inspiring for several reasons, but most of all how incredibly raw and simple it was. It is best explained by taking a look at a note Steve wrote on one of his last photos in the series:
“Day 366 – this is it, the very last day of what started out to be a 365 day project but turned into a 366 day project due to the fact that we are in a leap year – I started this for a multitude of reasons – 1) a bet with my best friend that I wouldn’t eat foods I was allergic to for a year. When I eat food I’m not supposed to I break out in a very bad rash. The photos were supposed to remind me how ugly I could get with a rash on my face. The filters kind of fixed it though because I was too vain to let my rash be seen… I knew, as much as a pain in the ass as this was, I would appreciate the fact that I did this when I’m 60 or 80 or even 100 years old. Sometimes I feel old and a lot of the times I feel beat up as this last year was pretty brutal, not only for me personally, but for most people I know and the world at large. I can only say thank you to everyone who stuck with this and said nice things to me when they didn’t have to. I didn’t expect to have as many people follow a year of my face as there are. I know the world is hurting and a lot of people feel beat up, but let’s take this next 365 days and start the healing process. Let’s all flourish and prosper and reach that point where all of our dreams become our lives. There are not enough guards or guns or tanks or barbed wire or walls to stomp out our dreams. They just want us to think there is. It’s up to us to let them know otherwise – sb
Here are two of my favorite photographs from Steve’s 366 Days of Me project.
I spent the afternoon with Steve doing a profile on him for the LFP book. We were walking through downtown LA when we stopped at this new Retna mural and he decided to shoot the photograph. Here is a behind the scenes photo I took of Steve’s process, it’s quite simple.
The next image is my favorite photograph from the whole series and really captures everything I admire about Steve.
“Day 214 – earlybird – this is Pepper – he’s the mayor of skid row and lives under the bridge by the Berrics – I’ve had many many late night conversations with him while working at the office – everyone at the Berrics knows him – usually he knocks on the door and we’ll talk for hours, sometimes til 3am – every year I bring him breakfast on Christmas morning – I truly love this person – he’s given me a whole different perspective of homeless people and people in general – MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!!!!”
I highly recommend following Steve on Instagram. And just because his year-long project is over, don’t think he hasn’t come up with a new creative twist on sharing photographs:
“NEW PROJECT – 1:11 on 1/11 to 1:11 on 1/11 Every day for a year I’m going to shoot a photo at 1:11 no matter where I’m at or what I’m doing. Some will be good, some will be bad. some will be in am, some will be pm, but they will all be at 1:11 which means I only have 2 chances during the day to shoot this photo. Just in case i miss one. This is my very first. I’m in kolohe andino’s garage and we are lighting it up to do an interview with him for a project I’m doing with Target. This is @roycebristol sitting in Kolohe’s place helping us out with the frame.”