Behind the InstaMeet: @jpanleu, Guatemala City
In this series, we hear from the Instagrammers organizing InstaMeets in different parts of the world. To view more photos and videos from the first major InstaMeet in Guatemala, browse the #InstaMeetGT hashtag and follow @jpanleu on Instagram.
For Guatemala Instagrammer José Pablo Anleu (@jpanleu), the people he follows on Instagram are a constant source of inspiration, helping him to develop his own eye as a photographer and expand his worldview. Inspired by the communities around the world he saw gather for InstaMeets, José decided to gather Guatemala Instagrammers together and kickstart an Instagram community just in time for the eighth Worldwide InstaMeet.
"I stumbled upon fellow Guatemalan Instagrammer Carlos Castañeda (@monodelespacio), met him in person and found a great friend to go and shoot with. We started going out and taking shots and had so much fun in the process that we wanted to replicate this in a bigger scale. Back then Instagram was barely being adopted around here, so we started putting together a bigger group with our friends, and it all started from there—the desire to nurture a creative community—because what makes Instagram beautiful is the human factor. That’s what draws me to Instameets, the people, many of whom I call friends now.
"Our Instameets are also our way to showcase Guatemala to the world—its people, sights and warmth. It’s our way of putting Guatemala on the map for the world to see and appreciate as much as we do."
"For our big meetup, we wanted to bring people to a historic place. Thanks to the support from local authorities, we decided upon Edificio de Correos, The National Postal Service central, which is a historic place and national landmark as the perfect place to explore.
"Before this meet, we had a small test run, exploring El Barretal, a coffee farm and ecotourism site, with a small group of friends using #chasingwaterfallsIM just in time for the #WWIM8. We had so much fun that we knew we had to take this experience to the next level.
"Then came our Edificio de Correos meet. To have access to such a beautiful building was unprecedented. The meet went exceptionally well. Being that it was the first big InstaMeet, we were nervous about the attendance—we honestly expected around 30 people, and to our surprise, over 140 Guatemalan Instagrammers joined us that day! To meet the faces behind the usernames was the best part, to share in person, laugh and go crazy together. Instagrammers as young as 13 years old to professionals of every field, we all shared an afternoon of good talks and awesome ‘grams."
After his first two events, José Pablo has a few pieces of advice to share with those planning InstaMeets of their own:
- Plan ahead and keep creativity in mind: “Planning ahead of time and getting all permits if they are necessary is definitely needed. That will guarantee a smooth experience without any setbacks. Getting support from local authorities to have access to otherwise out-of-boundaries locations will get people excited to go somewhere few have gone and get great images. That provided, spontaneity will take over. Just make sure the locations have enough visual richness to frame the creativity of a group of visually hungry Instagrammers!”
- Have the community spread the word: “The best way to spread the word about an InstaMeet is through the people! InstaMeets are for the Instagram community and by the Instagram community so reach out to your local Instagram family to help spread the word! Word of mouth is powerful.
- Put people first: “Something I learned from this meet is that community is first on Instagram. The pictures are beautiful evidence to the good times shared with like-minded individuals.
José Pablo also made a short film documenting the first Guatemala InstaMeet. See it below and check out our InstaMeet Documentaries channel on Vimeo for films from other InstaMeets around the world.