arts • 07 Apr, 2017
Insta Elite @jessshuynhh
Appreciating the little things, with a conscious sense of style
Instagram is the perfect place to travel the world vicariously through strangers, or simply to engage in the intimate, personal moments they choose to reveal. Normal, everyday individuals can often, quite inexplicably, gain large followings, and so it’s interesting to wonder at what point their insta-feed becomes more than just a travelogue, or a curated selection of the everyday. Jess is one of these; a seemingly typical girl you might run into on the streets of downtown Saigon, or at the airport, given her apparent wanderlust. Incorporating a conscious sense of style into her feed @jessshuynhh, and a definite touch of whimsy, we like what we see. Here’s our chat with this month’s Insta Elite.
Hi Jess, we love your feed. Who are you?
My name is Jess Huynh, I work as a Marketing Manager and Content Creator for an agency. In my own time I freelance as a stylist. I love travelling, fashion, and anything I consider photogenic.
Can you describe your Instagram feed in 3 words?
How did you get into the Instagram habit?
I started way back in 2011 in London, because every time I stepped out onto the street, the city took my breath away. Everywhere is instagrammable. I love taking photos - but didn’t want to spam my friends' facebook feed. Instagram was born in the booming age of smartphone cameras, when taking a good photo has never been easier, and I was instantly hooked. I love fashion and always take ‘ootd’ (outfit of the day) photos. Instagram provides a platform that resembles a tiny little gallery where all my outfits could be displayed beautifully. I can keep track of what I wear and manage my fashion choices. Very quickly I began to discover the instagram world, so many talented and cool people, and I was inspired everyday.
What are your favourite subjects to photograph and why?
I love taking photos. I take photos of almost anything I see, my eyes are my camera, and my camera is my story teller. I take photo’s of chairs, tables or even a cat chewing on its food. My instagram is simply what my eyes see through photos. If I have to pick a subject that I lean towards most, I have to say ootd, my travelogue - though I'm shifting a lot lately to street photography and portraiture. I enjoy capturing moments of my loved ones, especially when they're not aware, just everyday life shots of people I care about. I almost never leave the house without my camera.
How much planning is involved in your feed?
Ha! I'm very lazy when it comes to planning my posts. I used to put hours into researching the stats, when to post, how many per day etc. but lately I'm very random. Sometimes I like a photo so much I post it right after I take it, but I recently found an app that plans the time to post for you.
What’s the most memorable post in your feed?
The photo taken right before I hiked to Tiger Nest in Bhutan. It was the most memorable trip of my entire life. I always dreamt of stepping foot in the Himalayas, and of course I felt instantly in love. It was not only a fun trip, it was a theraputic one as well, I will definitely try to go back this year or next.
Your sense of style is great, and you do have some amazing #ootd photos! What’s your tip on taking the perfect #ootd snap?
I think your outfit expresses who you are as a person. I take fashion very seriously at work but for my own clothes I think of it as a fun daily routine. The most important thing is to believe in what you wear and your own style. To be honest many of my ootd photos are taken by complete strangers, because often I’ll go out on my own without my friends,so I just try my best to push my embarrassment aside and ask strangers to help me - just be careful though, don't let your phone get snatched! Usually I’ll direct the person, show them the camera angle and the exact frame I want, that way it's easier for me to post and achieve the correct end result from my head.
Which program(s) or apps do you usually use to edit your photos?
I use mainly VSCO and Analog London/ Portland for colouring and effects. Please allow me not to disclose my cosmetic apps!
What makes a great Instagram feed in your opinion?
I admire those who take the time to plan their feed so they always look coordinated, I’ve been trying to do so and I know it’s not easy at all. More importantly, I’m inspired by feeds full of personality. When you look through their photos you can feel what type of person they are, or at least what they want to project. This goes for their style, their taste and their likes. To me pictures are THE way of communicating. If you master communication then you'll make plenty of friends and people will want to get to know you.
You have over 10,000 followers. Can you describe what that feels like? You are not a ‘celebrity’ per se.
My followers base grew gradually over time. There have been periods when I’ve been inactive for a whole year for example, and at one point I deleted all my photos and started from scratch. Even then, many of my followers and friends kept following me and cared about my content. Many even messaged me personally to find out why. I am completely humbled and appreciative. I think when you put content out there to express your style and your creativity, it's very encouraging to have such a large number of people looking out for it, and for this I am really thankful.
What do you think about the new Instagram Stories feature? How often do you use it compared to the usual feed?
I love Insta Stories. It’s the coolest. As said I really do take photos of anything my eyes pan to. I love this function as it allows me to share with my friends without spamming their feed - you can only see my story if you click on it.
What are some of your favorite Instagram feeds to follow?
I mostly follow fashion feeds and urban photographers. I think there are many underated profiles that are absolutely stunning and deserve so much more buzz, so here are some people I really admire, for either their style, interesting subject choice, composition, or simply their way of life: @ryanqly @ignant @takubeats @camera_duels @kimnguyn @t33truong @huynguyen203 @thephiet.nguyen @dlancao @lem0n @timpham1002 @_cqng @bedaulbe @hanphnn
Images courtesy of @jessshuynhh
Intro by jonaspin Interview by AA