Spotlight: @David_Actually A Conversation with Columbus, OH's Most Followed Instagram Creative

Earlier this week, I was able to hang with David Powers and talk to him about Instagram, life, inspiration, Interstellar and a few other things. He’s one of the nicest, down-to-Earth guys you’ll ever meet. Below is our conversation that took place.

Thanks for coming down to Serif House.  First question, do you know if you have the largest Instagram following in Columbus?

Yeah, I think I do. That I know of. As far as creatives and photographers. It’s weird, really weird.

Also, you asked why I chose “@David_Actually.” It’s kind of a dumb story but when I was really really young, I was one of those precocious and slightly annoying kids who had a large vocabulary and stronger opinions than any 3 year-old should have, haha. And I would use words like “preferences” and “actually” (laughing). Pretty silly. So, it’s just an inside family joke.

How did you get your start with photography?

Photography started for me when I was super busy. I’ve always been involved in music and writing and stuff like that. During this space in my life when I was busy, I didn’t have the time to write and play music. But I had my phone, so I would just take photos of stuff that I liked. It started as a thing to do to relax. It’s funny because I don’t consider myself a photographer by any means. I consider myself kind of just like a…collector. I like to take photographs to remember things.

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I like that you consider yourself  a collector, not a photographer. I think that’s a cool way of looking at it. So you’ve mainly been shooting with your iPhone? Is there anything else you’ve been shooting on?

Yeah, I normally just shoot with my iPhone 5. I took a photography class when I was at community college at Columbus State. It was a 101 class. While I was there, I used some spare money I had to buy a Rebel T3i and a couple prime lenses.

So is your Instagram feed primarily T3I or iPhone?

David: It’s all iPhone. Well, there’s two photos that aren’t from my iPhone. But yeah, I feel like it’s cheating if you’re not using your iPhone, you know what I mean? Ha.

Why did you get into Instagram?

Instagram is one of the main reasons I bought an iPhone. I had an Android phone for a while, this was before they had Instagram for Android. I was like, “I have to get an iPhone” because I saw that Becca was using it and I was like…that’s sweet. I want to get into this too.

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How do you think your feed has evolved over the last year or so?

Yeah so, I’ve definitely changed my approach a little bit. Before, it was really colorful. I think content wise it’s stayed the same but definitely aesthetically I’ve started to tend toward desaturated images, sharper images, more contrast, and a lot of shadows.

I’ve noticed that about your feed over time. Are there any photographers you look up to outside of Instagram?

Yeah, my girfriend is an amazing photographer. She’s really, really good. She’s been doing it professionally since she was fifteen.

Yeah, she is really good. Quick sidenote, She’s actually going to be doing the photography for me and Ang’s wedding, which I’m stoked about.

Totally, that’s awesome man. She’ll kill it.

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Cool. Any other specific people on Instagram you look up to?

Totally. This is sort of random but, probably my biggest Instagram hero is this dude named Brenton Clark. He’s from Arkansas and he’s one of the first people I started following when I got Instagram. I’ve been following him for a couple years now. He’s not really a photographer; he’s a musician and does other quirky stuff. I’ve always been captured by the way he creates photographs to tell a story. It’s just really compelling. Kevin Russ is another I really like

What are some ways Instagram has changed your life? Or has it at all?

Yeah, it absolutely has. It’s kind of a long story but, I met my girlfriend kind of through Instagram. I’ve met actually a lot of the friends I have through it too. I met people I didn’t even know were from Ohio and were from Columbus or Dayton. And somehow or another we got connected, and said, let’s hang out and talk photography, you know?

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So Instagram has changed your life because it’s allowed you to be more connected with people outside of Instagram?

Uh-huh, totally. I don’t know, it’s funny because the people I’ve been connected to it’s fostered some relationships. Instagram’s kind of been a meeting place, but from there I’ve met some really cool people like yourself and Adam Elkins, you know what I mean?

I think I was following you on Instagram before I was introduced to you. What’s been inspiring you these days in general?

Yeah, Innerstellar. It’s probably the most inspiring film I’ve ever watched. I’ve watched it a lot. The old The 1975 record has been inspiring me. I’ve hated on them for so long, but one day I listened to it from start to finish and it blew me anyway. It’s somehow poppy without being poppy. Caffeine inspires me.

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I want to get a little bit technical here. What VSCO presets do you use?

I actually only use one. I use J2 which is from the minmialistic collection. Every photo I bump it down to maybe 10 on the scale and up to the contrast a bit.

Is there any way you’re trying to do good for the world other than providing sweet photos for people to look at on Instagram?

Yeah, I think there’s a greater purpose. That’s a good question. That’s been something I’ve been asking myself since I got featured a few months back. I’m trying to figure out how to use it in a more positive way. Right now,  I see it as one of my life goals to be a connector of people. I love introducing people to other people I know to do projects together. So right now, it’s been really fun to just introduce friends to other friends I met on Instagram and get them connected to a community. But as far as a humanetarian effort, I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it. I don’t have a good answer.

I think that pretty much covers everything I wanted to go over. Is there anything you want to share or want other people to know about you?

Haha. Ummm… Yeah, I don’t know. I try to be pretty transparent with my social media, but I don’t know. Haha, I don’t have anything else to add.  Thanks for having me I’m excited to see how this turns out.

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I highly recommend following @David_Actually and getting to know him. Here is a list of the Instagram users mentioned by David:  @annebecca, @kevinruss, @brenton_clarke, @bigmanjapan, @jenna_sours

Take care!

-D.C.

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