Steve A.J. Beijer is a restless man. Born in Holland, he’s lived in six different countries. He’s currently settled in Barcelona, from he takes photographs nonstop while planning his next trip. His passion for photography was awarded on Instagram, a platform where he made a name of himself. Beijer was then featured on Vueling’s manazine Ling and on The Guardian. Today he works as a translator, a job that allows him to move around, with photography.
I’ve always wondered what’s do I have to study to make good photos and be promoted on Instagram. Photography?
In my case I studied history and a Masters in European Studies. I’ve also been a Dj since I was 18. So as you can see photography wasn’t really a vocation. I’m a self-taught photographer.
What was first, photography or Instagram?
Photography.I’ve been taking pictures since I was 12 and, in 2003, I got a diploma on photography when I was in London. I thought it was where things were happening back then. I used to work in a record shop and basically think what to do with my life.
So when did photography become your second job?
About five years ago. I discovered Instagram and started to upload pics. Two years later I got an email saying I had be chosen as a “suggested user”, and for two or three weeks
I got thousands of followers every day, which opened a lot of doors to me and allowed me to publish my work on prestigious magazines and newspapers
I’d like it to be my main job, but I guess I’ll have to make do with travelling and translating for now to be able to live like this.
What is necessary to be so successful on Instagram do you think?
It’s a mixtures. I’d say 40% is luck and having someone taking an interest in your work. Another 40% comes from knowing the right people, that is, profiles with many followers that tag your photos and so increase your following. The other 20% is being aware of what you do and avoid posting too many photos so people don’t’ grow tired of you.
What’s the ideal periodicity?
No more than one pics a day and two days a week minimum. There’re exceptions. For example, if you’re in NY and have the need to share what you’re experiencing, then go ahead, you can post two pics per day, but you can also save them and share them later on.
Do you use your mobile phone or a camera?
I use my phone, otherwise I feel I’m cheating my audience.
Something about Instagram everyone should know?
Never have fewer followers than people you’re following.
An unutterable secret?
I have many good friends who take terrible pics. It’s a difficult decision, but it’s hard to follow them and not do anything. In these cases, it’s always good to have a second account for them. It’s a good trick.
One of your creative sources are your trips. When was you passion for travelling born?
It’s like a drug to me, I spend all my money travelling and buying tickets. I’ve lived in six different countries and right now I have tickets for Stockholm and Germany.
Do you like to travel alone or with someone else?
I like both, sometimes I travel alone and sometimes I travel with my girlfriend. The good thing about travelling alone is that I have more time to discover things and take pictures. I also try to meet local people. Pics are much more interesting when you get tips from insiders who know where to go and what to see.
Your favourte hotspots are…
The Manchester Bar in Barcelona (C/Milans, 5) and New York in general, Brooklyn in particular
You can’t stop listening to…
Deerhunter, Beat Happening and Calvin Johnson.
You never thought you’d end up…
I always end up doing what I want. I think about how I was when I was a kid and I’ m surprised about everything I’ve done so far.
Being alive, being aware of it. That’s something I really appreciate.
Photos © Cecilia Díaz Betz