The photographer behind the Allston Crawl Instagram
‘Some of the funnier times are when people don’t remember that I took photos of them and later see them on the Instagram’
The Allston Crawl Instagram account was created in November 2016 and already has more than one thousand and six hundred followers. According to the bio, the account aims to feature 'BU people at their finest' at parties or bars in Allston.
The class of 2019 photographer and creator behind the project is a mystery to all who haven't had their picture taken by her. She wishes to put “more emphasis on the people at BU versus the person behind the camera" by remaining anonymous.
The Tab BU had the opportunity to talk with the hospitality management and visual arts student about her work, self-dubbed as the “drunk version" of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York.
How did this project begin?
I came to BU as a CFA student but transferred to SHA. I wanted to keep my creative outlook on life. I bought a film camera from Blick randomly… a small Diana Mini to play around with.
After a while, I got bored of just taking pictures without a theme so I brainstormed with a couple friends some projects I could do with the film camera. I wanted to create a project similar to Humans of New York but also make it completely different but the project stemmed from that and grew into its own thing.
How do you pick someone to photograph?
In the beginning, I would seek out funny/interesting people to be featured or people I personally knew but it's different now. I could be just having a conversation with someone I never met and bring up allstoncrawl and see if they want to be featured on it or I have friends tell me certain people want to be featured on it. It pushes me to meet new people.
How many portraits do you take a night?
It really depends because I don't always take photos but I tend to get at least two a night if I bring my camera along.
What has been the funniest/best moment you captured?
The best moments are honestly when people are so excited about being on the allstoncrawl. Just the overall positive reaction people give… is the best. I really didn't think people would be into this project as much as they are.
Some of the funnier times are when people don't remember that I took photos of them and later see them on the instagram and are confused.
Why do you think people respond positively to this project?
College is such a social place and I learn every day how deeply connected BU's social circle is. The allstoncrawl has been a way to keep connecting people in a fun way.
The crawl means something to every BU student regardless of the persons' academic year. [Allston is] the most social area a BU student could go. A lot of people see at least one person they know on the Instagram. I think people get excited to see who else gets features on it as well as trying, themselves, to get featured.
Why do you find photographing people in Allston interesting?
I think that BU people are so interesting and someone has to showcase how compelling, different, unique and awesome we are, especially at night when people aren't worried about the stresses of school and they can relax. Every individual is different and I love meeting new people and showcasing them.
It makes for a more natural, go-with-the-flow atmosphere. I've witnessed that when I take photos of people [in other situations] they take more time to think of the caption and are more shy on camera. [But the Allston Crawl Instagram] makes for a funnier and more spontaneous picture where the person can let loose and do whatever they want without being embarrassed.
How do you and the person decide on a caption? And what has been the best one you’ve received?
When I take the photo, I let the person know that they'll have to caption the photo themselves. So all the captions on the Instagram are done by the person.
Some of the best captions: “I don't know any of these people" (someone who was surrounded by his fraternity brothers), “I don't crawl to Allston, Allston crawls to me", and “this one time I was munching box and I looked up and she was texting."
Have you faced any challenges in running the project?
Because it is a film camera, I have to get the pictures developed so a lot of the photos I post were taken weeks or even months before. In addition, sometimes the image can turn out blurry, dimly lit, or cropped weirdly. So it is always a mystery when I pick up the film.
Also, some people don't think of a caption so I have to track them down later on to get one.
Finally which areas in Allston do you frequent the most?
I tend to go to the places that are most popular: T's, TITS, Draft, frat houses….
Our mysterious photographer plans to keep the project running until she graduates, so we can expect another two years of her work. She even expressed the desire to find a younger student that she can trust to hand the Instagram too and “keep it going for as long as it can."
Featured Image Courtesy of Instagram (@allstoncrawl)