The Storytellers Circle vol. 3

The Storytellers Circle vol. 3

Each week we ask the community to tell us a story based on a photo. We have compiled a few into a month digest so you can enjoy them all in one place. Please join us on Monday mornings to tell your story.


Story credit: Laura McCann 
Photo credit: Graeme Roy 

The Story
He felt the slices of sunlight on his back and neck; undulations of heat and emptiness. Should I? Shouldn’t I? If I do, it will devastate her. But then again, if I do, maybe I can make it up to her. One day. Yes.



Story credit: Christine Benner
Photo credit: Devin Graf 

The Story
Eighth time I’ve shoveled this effing car out…I should have sold it when I had the chance. I’m so over this winter. I wonder what Amy is up to? I really need to clean out the garage. I’m feeling like chicken for dinner. Sigh, ok, let’s get shoveling.


Story credit: Rebecca Cornwell 

Photo credit: Maki Tabusa 

The Story
Words are so unnecessary when it’s enough to see, hear, smell and touch. I hadn’t seen her in almost 3 months. Her absence was felt deeply in the house. Sometimes we missed her easy chuckle and quick wit while other times there was relief in not feeling subject to her judgment and chaos. She had become impossible to read, sometimes lost and other times angry. Looking back now, I can understand the mental illness that was gripping her but at the time I thought it was just normal teenaged rebellion. I had raised her carefully, eating only organics, refraining from alcohol and caffeine during my pregnancy. This hyper awareness of her needs, wants and constant and unflinching protection continued through childhood. The
first time we found her unconscious I thought it was an accident or a reaction to something she had eaten. She was secretive. The second time when we discovered her, fully clothed, in the tub with the blood pooling around her, I saw in her devastation so complete, I wondered if any of us would ever recover.


Story credit: Rose Sherwood
Photo credit: Fabio Giavara 

The Story
These people have been riding the same subway route daily. Nothing out of the ordinary happens until today, when this person boards and starts yelling obscenities at everyone. Some riders are surprised by the behavior and others don’t care. It’s the insanity of living in a large city. People sometimes disconnect because the craziness will surround you and drag you into it….

1,000 Words: Emotions

1,000 Words: Emotions

Photo by Jen Bracewell

1,000 Words is under the premise that “a photograph says a thousand words”.

Grryo believes that mobile photographers/artists tell stories through the photographs/images and art that represent their families, their environment, themselves. This is important because of the level of communication that is portrayed in imaging today.

This month, Grryo storytellers sent in one photograph depicting what FREE means to each one of us.

We hope that you enjoy this showcase as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.

Photo by Rebecca Cornwell

Photo by Natalie Maddon

Photo by Andy Butler

Photo by Matthew Wylie

Photo by Brandon Kidwell

Photo by Josh St. Germain

Photo by Hector Navarro Torres

Photo by Matt Coch

Photo by Todd Leban

Photo by Jeff Kelley

Photo by Bridgette Shima

The Reinvention of Chloe: Chapter 12

The Reinvention of Chloe: Chapter 12

Smelling the sweet perfume of florals Chloe makes her way through the market.

She orders an espresso and sits by the waterfront, listening to the murmur of people chatting next to her. Kids chase each other around the bench as their parents feed the telescope some quarters.

Her mind traveling to a time of sheer wonder and beauty.  A time when everything was so simple and the sight of a flower offered a sign of hope and love.

{ Flowers are her favorite. }

With her eyes closed she imagined this life again.

Editor’s Note: To understand where Chloe is now you need to understand where Chloe began her journey and where it is headed. The Reinvention of Chloe is a collaborative effort by much of the Grryo team to realize a dream our dear friend Ale began before his death. We do hope you enjoy the journey.

Beep Ahhh Fresh Crew

Beep Ahhh Fresh Crew

Beep Ahhh Fresh Crew by Bridgette S.

The Beep Ahhh Fresh Crew, based in and around Tacoma, WA, have a passion for music and HDR photography. Whether they’re spinning records, snapping photos or just hanging out, these friends are having a good ‘ole time.

They even go as far as hosting their own “Beep Ahhh Fresh Happy Hour” once a week, inviting others into their circle even if it doesn’t fit into their own style.

To me, they’re a true example of Social Photography – connecting and interacting with others via the arts.  It’s great to see a group of artists exhibit so much love for what they do and share it in a positive way.

They have a clear vision and I admire that.  So, even if HDR photography isn’t your thing, stay a while and get social.

How and when was Beep Ahhh Fresh formed?

Beep Ahhh Fresh Crew is a group formed in Seattle consisting of local DJ’s that participate in an event called the Skratch Lounge. In 2011 we discovered a common interest in photography and branched out into the photo realm, it’s all art just a different medium. I guess you can say we are an art group rather than a photo group.

“Reflectionscape” by Phil 

How many in your group?

8 of us handle the photography side and they are:

PJ aka Pjilla | Instagram
Warren aka DJ D’Lemma | Instagram • Podomatic • twitter • Facebook •  500px • SoundCloud • Podomatic
Jude aka JMR360 | Instagram
Steve aka Stevenyvas | Instagram
Eric aka DJ Estylz | Instagram • Mixcrate • Facebooktwitter
Derrick aka Callao Images | Instagram • Facebook
Phil | Instagram • 500px
Glenn | Instagram • 500px
“Almost There” by Warren 

Are you all in Tacoma?

We cover a pretty wide stretch of Washington. We have members living in Bremerton, Port Orchard, Tacoma, Federal Way, West Seattle, North Seattle and Shoreline… however, we all stay connected in a close way.

“Started From The Bottom” by Derrick 

What do you do as a group?

Basically we are just friends who happen to all enjoy photography. We started out with our iPhones and learning how to shoot and post process pictures through multiple apps. We offer support to each other through criticism and critique, and push each other to become better artists.

“Glass Sunset”  by Steve

Do you have a set night for Skratch Lounge? Any upcoming events?

Skratch Lounge is the first Thursday of every month at the Trinity Night Club in Seattle.

Warren also spins for Hot Jamz Radio 94.5fm every Friday night from 11pm to 1am.

“Nothing Else Matters But You” by Eric 

What makes your crew unique?

I think our biggest strength is being a small group. We talk to each other every day so there is a definite bond formed. Having that bond is really good when we try to push each other creatively. I know that my crew can give me an honest critique of my work and that’s something hard to find elsewhere. Most people just praise instead of giving constructive criticism. We work in that world of post processing but also know that the edit will only be as good as the shot, so the shot is the priority as it should be.

Our main focus is HDR photography. We have also dabbled into the fantasy edits where a few of our members have shown incredible imagination and pure talent. However our true passion is photography and chasing the perfect shot. We know to the photo world that HDR style photography is not totally accepted. Most still consider it unreal, overdone, or even cheating. What we do is try to change that perspective with our work by avoiding over processing and cartoon style edits. We try to make our pictures as real as possible but with brilliant colors and a perspective that is difficult to capture with the human eye. We try and show a different more realistic style of HDR that can be respected by artists because love it or hate it, it’s gonna be here for a long time to come.  Times change and just as other art has evolved we live in the digital age now so it’s only natural for photography to evolve as well.

“My City’s Filthy” by Jude

Who are your top influencers for music and photography?

Phil: Music has always played an important role in my life. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by music from my Dad tapping on the steering wheel to the Beatles and Led Zepplin to my Uncle dubbing me a tape of RUN DMC’s Tougher Than Leather. Classic rock and Hip-Hop is still the soundtrack to my life. From Pink Floyd and Black Keys to Wu-Tang Clan and Elzhi, music has influenced how I see art.

I started playing with photography at a young age snapping shots with my mom’s Polaroid. In High School I started rolling my own film and developing my own prints. I looked up to artists like Jerry Uelsmann, Ansel Adams and Paul Strand. Today some of my major influences are Alex Noriega, Francesco Gola and Andreas Gursky. Our crew has a unique style that puts a modern twist on what’s considered normal landscape photography. We all inspire each other and encourage pushing boundaries.

Warren: For music Mix Master Mike, Jake One, and 9th Wonder are some that influence me.
For Photography, my main influence is my crew because we motivate each other to get better. Kurteek on IG inspires me as well.

Glenn: I like all kinds of music but my favorite has to be late 80’s to early 90’s hip hop. Call me old school but to me this was the golden era. I also listen to some electronic music, new jack swing, alternative, and 70’s rock.

My main influences for photography come from everywhere. I can appreciate anyone with a good language in their photography. I am most inspired by @starvingphotographer, his work opened my eyes to a different HDR process. Also heavily inspired by, well, my crew of course! We push each other’s abilities and develop techniques in processing.

Derrick: Photography are my Crew. We make each other better.

Eric: For DJing, DJ Q-Bert, D-Styles, Shortkut, Neil Armstrong, Dj Prymetyme, and Kutfather.

As for the photography side, I would have to say Kurteek, DJ Babu, Holy Torres, @starvingphotographer, and the whole BeepAhhhFreshCrew.

Jude: Music influences are scratch DJs/turntablists like DJ Qbert, all of the skratch piklz, Beat Junkies, DJ Craze, all the skratch Lounge DJs and underground hip hop groups.

“Clear Openings” by PJ

What are your go-to camera and editing apps?

Phil: I started doing HDR with just an iPhone. I would shoot multiple exposures and then combine them using Photomatix and then clean them up with Adobe Lightroom. iPhone apps that I use are 645 Pro, Bracket Mode, Snapseed, Night Mode, PhotoFX and Slow Shutter. Nowadays I mostly use a Canon t5i with a variety of lenses.

Warren: I mainly use Photomatix on my computer for my camera pics and Snapseed for my iPhone pics.

Glenn: I shoot DSLR primarily. I bracket my shots usually 3 or 5 to get my exposures for full range.

For processing I use Photomatix and Lightroom. I then use these iPhone apps to get the final look I want: Snapseed, PhotoFX, Filterstorm, Blender, Perfectly Clear and the Instagram editing tools.

Derrick: Photomatix and Lightroom.

Jude: I’m an iPhone only user.  For apps my most used are Bracket Mode, Squareready, Filterstorm, Snapseed, Juxtaposer and SlowShutter.

“Couch Potato” by Glenn

Open Road with Josh Johnson

Open Road with Josh Johnson

Open Road with Josh Johnson by Bridgette Shima

If you’ve been on Instagram as long as Josh Johnson has been, then you can pretty much say that you’ve been around since day 1.

JJ runs one of the most active communities on Instagram.   He and his team post daily challenges, features, tips and more.  His involvement within the app is over and beyond – all because of his passion for photography and his love for Instagram.

I got the chance to meet JJ in person Wednesday night along with Kevin Kuster and the FIAT crew.  Seattle was the first of their four city tour throughout a five day course.  Photographers met near the EMP and walked around Seattle Center taking photos while getting in a few words with JJ.

Personally, I wanted to see for myself who the man behind the JJ name was and find out what he’s been up to since his last interview with Dave. I have to say though, that I wish we had more time to talk.  There’s way more to JJ than what you read here…

Did you ever imagine you would become such a well know figure within Instagram?  How do you keep going strong? 

It’s all due to the power of the app itself – the ability to share and interact and be creative. From personal experience, I remember taking pictures with film.   Shooting the pictures, taking them to the drug store and picking up the photographs and showing them to my my friends.  I was proud of what I did.  I messed around with different filters, the whole process was exciting.  Now take the work that goes into that process and cut down the reward into minutes and seconds.  Snap the picture and get the reward right away by people appreciating your work right away.

I already had experience doing workshops so I decided that this was a big deal and I wanted to be a part of it, so every day I put in a little something.

My success is due to my passion and consistency; the way that Instagram works resonated well with what turns me on and because of that I’ve stuck with it.  I’ve been lucky enough to have been with it from the beginning.

We both know that it’s not just about the photos, it’s about the community as well.  With so many people that you engage with, how do you keep that under wraps?  Do you have time for an online conversation?

I take the whole process very seriously.  This is what I do.  This is my job.  I don’t take any one piece of it at a time very seriously.

How do I not get overwhelmed? I recognize that I use Instagram very differently than other people.  There are very few accounts and relationships that I think long and hard about protecting.  Whatever comes across my screen I pay attention to.  I may not interact with a conversation but I will repost images on my account even though I’m not commenting on a lot of pictures.  I do make up for this by participating in other ways.

What’s your criteria when featuring photographers?

For me, I would be the first to say that a huge portion of it is personal esthetic. #1 would be for the subject of the image to be clear and relatively isolated – it’s about cutting out the background and distraction.  It feels good to me when I can look at an image and say to myself, this photographer knew what they wanted me to see and took the time to frame it and expose it accurately in a way that makes it easy for me to understand what they’re trying to say.  It feels like it’s been thought out and given a little bit of love.

This even includes street shots.  This means that the person that shot the image thought about the background, and even though it looks spontaneous, the street photographer deliberately wanted to catch that moment in an esthetically, pleasing way.

I want to find pictures that have a clearly defined subject.

Tell us about “collaborative marketing”.  How are you making it work for you?  

I want to do something significant, to make an impression in the world.

A lot of times the opportunities that we get to make this impression happen when there’s change.  There are changes happening now that can lead to something significant where our creativity is being sparked because of technology and more specifically, mobile technology.

There used to be a certain amount of experience and effort to be a photographer ten or fifteen years ago.  There was the purchasing of the camera and film, whole process of shooting the picture and having no idea what it was going to look like and not being able to see it for three or four days.  That’s what it took to realize the creative buzz.

Well, nowadays you don’t have to buy a camera because it’s in your pocket.  You don’t have to buy film because it’s obsolete.  You don’t have to learn about exposure because you can look at your screen and either it looks good or it doesn’t.  And so, we’re saying we’re looking for change and the opportunities to make a difference.  People that didn’t see themselves as being able to feel that creative buzz, because they didn’t have the time nor talent, can now get it on Instagram and feel creative and feel good.  And I think this is happening to a lot of people.  There’s an opportunity to help people through that process and to lead during this change.  And this is what I want to do and how I want to position myself and my company.

2nd opportunity is anybody that’s in the marketing world will say that everything is changing.  Certain rules don’t apply anymore.  There’s been a mixed bag when it comes to internet advertising.  I think maybe the human brain has the natural ability to block out ads.  Marketers don’t know how they’re going to connect with us consumers down the road as this trend continues.  There are billions of dollars out there that used to go towards, and not necessarily, into making this world a better place.  And because the rules have changed, society has the opportunity to reset the rules. We get to decide for ourselves where these billions of dollars go.

As a community it’s fairly easy – we want to make connections, make friends and meet each other face to face.  This is the very beginning.  I’d like to see this grow and grow.

I’ve seen it with Alt Hotel, now that was a huge success!

Right, we had over 100,000 images submitted and 5,000 on the wall, sponsored by Alt Hotel and Polaroid.

People will have this experience for a lifetime, to say that their photo was part of an art installment is worth more than an ad somewhere.

Engaging with the community is about creating relationships, which is much more valuable than paying for 30 seconds to try to convince someone to buy a product. What do you see happening with this new wave of marketing? 

Marketing is more and more about relationships.

Companies are starting to avoid talking about their product. This is because of their existing relationship with the community and the presence they have already.  It’s about catering to their experience.

Do you get tons of partnership offers?

We’re not especially active trying to get business.  People find us.  We focus on community more than anything.

Who’s on your team?

There are 4 of us on the core team:

Kevin was the 1st person I was in contact with, he emailed me about two years regarding the shooting at the Colorado movie theater.  He reached out asking if we could do something and from that interaction, we kept in touch.  I was at a point where I knew I needed a business manager, which is what he does, running these kinds of events.  He was the first person I brought on the team to take it to the next level.

Emily is my Director of Operations.

Michael is a lawyer and he handles the books.

Tell us more about the Open Road Challenge with FIAT.  

This is our second one.  The first was last fall and we went from Chicago to New York, 5 different cities total.

It’s a photowalk tour to bring everyone in the community together to meet face to face, take pictures and have a good time.  We’re driving in a FIAT and they’re giving away a car.  Last year there was a nomination process and there was a team which chose some photos to post for public voting.  This year, it’ll be done differently.

Tag it with one of the daily hashtags for a chance to win.  For example, #fiatwaterpromo.

Enter as many images as you wish – @littlecoal won it last year!

Have any future projects you’d like to share with us?

We can’t announce anything yet but we’ve got a couple of accounts that we’re working on.

One final question… which company would you dream of working with at the moment?

Roadtrek Motorhomes. I lived in a Roadtrek Motorhome for about a year, ten years ago.  I’d love to spend some time in another one.  How about a giant caravan trip?!

Josh Johnson and his crew are currently touring the west coast.  

For complete details please visit his Instagram gallery to find the meetup location nearest you so that you, too, can be a part of the Open Road event! 

Thanks to FIAT and the JJ team for putting Seattle on their map.  We had a GREAT time! 

And, if you ever get that RoadTrek Motorhome, be sure to reserve one for us!  ; ) 

Image by Bridgette Shima  

A special shoutout goes to Michaela with Instagramers Seattle for getting the word out.  

To see more photos you can check out the hashtag or Facebook album

Find Josh Johnson: Instagram | Website | twitter