Title Image: Jakob Owens

On an unfollow binge for 2020?

The start of a new year, and a new decade for that matter, is often accompanied by clearing out your inbox and your social feeds. Instagram is almost 10 years old. We’ve previously lamented the loss of community, experimentation and authenticity from the app as Facebook’s tentacles choke out everything that’s fun, but Instagram, largely void of politics, still has potential to be a source of inspiration, encouragement and community.

You never needed the likes anyways

Already rolled out in Canada and Australia, Instagram will almost certainly be removing visible likes from its feed in the US in 2020. If your mom likes your photo, you’ll see it, don’t you worry. But your peers won’t. Kim Kardashian may get 1M likes on her latest butt pic, but it will look to you like 0. That way, if you put up one of your best shots ever, and only get 2 likes, it may still stink, but no one else will know whether that shot ruled the day or fell on its face.

Instagram claims this is for the mental health of its users. They don’t want you going on the app and feeling bad about how your posts perform. In reality, this is a tactic to drive people to post more on to the feed and scroll their feed more often. Their major ad revenue lies in the feed, not Stories, where we’ve all been hanging out in 2019. So Instagram is trying to alter your behavior there under the guise of protecting your feelings.

All they really needed to do to get us back into the feed was stop putting an ad every third post, but what do we know.

Try using the app in a new way this year.

We get really sucked in on Stories and our feed, but with all those ads, and content from all ends of all spectrums juxtaposed together, high-quality, low-quality, light, dark, happy, sad it can be overwhelming and the real detriment to your mental health is the exhaustion that can cause.

We’ve got an idea to counter that, and keep the photographic community together. Every once in a while, ditch your feed, ditch stories, and read a book! Just kidding… Try seeking out the content from individual accounts. Check out their grid, scroll through it. Like it. Comment on it. Spend 30 seconds with just one account to get a feel for their style, the people they work with, where they take their shots, and let that extended time get your creative wheels spinning like it’s 2011 all over again.

We’ve got five accounts we’ll be keeping our eyes on in 2020 for that inspiration, beauty, creativity, reality, high edits or low qual, don’t give a shit nature. We’ll be back this year with more accounts to check out, but here’s some fun to get started.


Mike Mondello takes the extra time to find the scene, take all the shots, edit to perfection, and then let the models steal the show. When’s the last time your photo sessions slowed down and tried a few different things out until you got that perfect capture? Go for gold.

(Every blog this week is presented by Friday night’s party at BPAC)


Alexis Bandera knows how to use the LIGHT. From offset flash to making the sun do her bidding, these photos can evoke more dramatic feelings embracing both the light and the shadows. Take your time with your shots. Spin in circles until something comes through your camera’s viewfinder or your phone’s lens that make’s you say “There it is.”


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what are you really reaching for?

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Gut feelings are guardian angels.

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Framing. Mary Kate Murphy exploded into our feeds just over a year ago and we’ve been hypnotized ever since. Unapologetic, wild, and yet disciplined in elements of photography, her photos have us wishing we had her eye for a scene. Tilting focus to lock you in on the face of her subject, each of her photos is a mood. Can your photos still tell a story without needing a caption to tell it for you?



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Something about the flowers at this diner.

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PLAY. Sure it’s fun to head out into the woods with a friend to grab a perfectly mysterious shot, but it can be even more fun to head into photoshop and fuck everything up. Mixing his photos between realistic with a filter to out-of-this world imaginative edits, let this account remind you that there’s perfection in the scrambled edit that sparks your imagination.


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New York inspired

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REAL. Despite all the talk of a renaissance in this region, Buffalo remains the 3rd poorest city in America. 100 years ago, the city’s wealth was epic. In 1901, Buffalo had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the US. We know how it all declined, and the skeletons of that wealth and the industrial blight left behind shouldn’t be tucked under the rug, its beauty can be embraced and remain part of who we are. This account goes in, literally, in that thought and finds the beauty we can’t see in our bubbles. In 2020, get back to exploring and find something new, too.

Do whatever makes you happy in 2020. If you feel like Instagram is indeed affecting your mental health, give it a break. You’ll be embraced by the #RiseBFLO #RiseROC crew when you come back, and if you never do, then we hope you’re doing it old school, taking photos, printing them, and putting them on the wall above your bed with the album art from your favorite CD’s of the early 2000’s. Cheers.
– Rise Team