There’s nothing more annoying than logging into Instagram to find photos of your high school besties getting engaged on your feed.
We get it (and also, same).
Are you over influencers trying to sell you HelloFresh subscriptions and Daniel Wellington watches? Again, we get it (but also, we can’t believe that’s what Jessica Alba is doing now). The point is, seeing the same type of content makes your feed feel stale.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Instagram is the platform of choice for many Phoenix photographers, graphic designers, and artists who want to showcase their work and creativity to their community and the world. These accounts represent the diverse talent our city holds. You’ll add color to your feed, gain a little inspiration, and probably get a little hungry.
Here are our top 22 picks for Phoenix Instagram accounts.
Sage Aune is an illustrator and graphic designer. Whether crafting stylized designs to sell in her Etsy shop or collaborating on projects with local businesses (think: the restaurant Sauce, cycling shop The Heavy Pedal, and Cartel, among many), her passion and creativity seep into every post. For bright works of graphic art, follow @sagepizza.
Are you a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural wonders or looking to escape your 9-to-5 for just a moment? If you said yes to either question, the answer is to scroll through Andrew Pielage’s account. He's an architecture and travel photographer based out of Phoenix and is passionate about igniting his audience’s imagination and inspiring adventure. To let your mind wander, follow @apielage.
Food photographer Patrick Darby injects life into pictures of expertly-plated dishes. Seriously, who knew food could look so polished and lively? Though Darby does a lot of commercial work (see his projects for P.F. Chang’s and BareOrganics), his style is refreshing and delicate. Darby’s stills and videos make you look at food as art, as opposed to wanting to devour them immediately. To look at food through a different point of view, follow @patrickdarbyphotography.
Sid Pearce, Bryan Suarez
Dubbed “ARIZONA’S HOTTEST FOOD BLOG,” Hold Your Fork touts itself as the “MOST AUTHENTIC FOOD BLOG IN THE WORLD." (CAPS to keep the integrity of their Insta bio) They very well might be. Sid Pearce and Bryan Suarez are clear advocates for Phoenix’s local food industry, and their account feels like you’re flipping through photos you took at dinner with old friends, except you were never at Shaanxi Garden with them. (Unless you were, we don’t know your life.) What we do know is if you’re looking for authentic voices from Phoenix on Instagram, follow @holdyourfork.
Are you somehow not hungry? Cool, let’s talk more beautiful food photos. Honestly, we're not even envious of Christian Houda’s job. Why you ask? We’d be hungry all the time, and he’s good as hell (cue the Lizzo track). Seriously though, his photos not only rep local restaurants but are crisp, fresh, and almost palpable. Whether you want food-plating inspo or want more colorful food pictures on your feed, follow @azfoodphotos.
Ay yo, Phoenix house show check! Perhaps the person capturing the young people of Phoenix and the house show scene best is Athena Burton. Burton’s photos are colorful, lively, and most certainly pass the vibe check. Though she’s bouncing from Phoenix to San Diego often, you can see her heart is in the local music scene here as she works with The Sunroom and has shot with local bands like Herbert Walker and Someone.Sober. You can’t help but smile as you scroll through her feed. To see the pure joy of local music events captured, follow @athena_burton.
Another Phoenix-area photographer bopping around various local venues and capturing the local music scene is Joe Maier. We're not sure if he sleeps or not (if you’re reading this, we hope you’re getting enough sleep) because he’s certainly everywhere. From The Lunchbox to The Cosmic Jamhole to Chopper John’s, Maier lives up to his username and is capturing the vast scene we’re lucky to have in our backyard. Follow @everyshowjoe to keep up with what’s going on locally.
Allyson Bills, Henri Ng, and J.D. Clayton
Birds, Lime, the red ones …The scooters are everywhere, and they’ve essentially taken over Tempe, Scottsdale, and downtown Phoenix. What’s the best way to deal with our scooter overlords? Catch them slipping and put ‘em on blast on social media. Big thank you to Allyson Bills, Henri Ng, and J.D. Clayton for thinking about that first and giving us much-needed comedic relief. For consistent scooter-slipping content, follow @scooterlitter.
Danny Upshaw is capturing everyday life in Phoenix and putting his creative spin on it. As you scroll through Upshaw’s feed, you instantly get a taste of his fresh perspective in a way that makes you feel connected, as opposed to isolated. It's almost as if you would create something similar if you had the talent or the time. To view Phoenix through Upshaw’s lens, follow @unheard_harmony.
Alison King is a professor of design and design history at Grand Canyon University. She just so happens to capture midcentury design in Phoenix through photos expertly. Whether it’s the former Western Savings bank branch that turned into Souper! Salad! or Frank Lloyd Wright's designs to other gems around the city, you can be sure King will provide informative captions of our city’s unique buildings. To dive deep into Phoenix midcentury history, follow @modernphoenix.
A picture is worth 1,000 words, but that doesn’t exclusively apply to photographs. It doesn’t have to, at least. Kevin Layshock is an illustrator, painter, and designer living in Phoenix, and his work is personal as much as it is local. When we saw his painting of a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, it invoked an almost nostalgic feeling with its softness. Layshock’s graphic illustrations are sharp and precise. For art calling on local businesses to be muses, follow @layshock.
You’re either going to want to go on a hike or pick up skateboarding after you follow Andrew Ruiz. We're going to tell you now that the easiest option is to pick up your phone, open up Instagram, follow @loudcloudphoto, and digitally immerse yourself in these experiences. Whether Ruiz is capturing the Superstition Mountains looking beautifully gloomy or enhancing the effortless cool of local skateboarders, he makes it look seamless.
William H. Coles
William H. Coles captures food the way it looks when you have it delivered in front of you. What we're saying is that his style is a different take on the staged food shot. Coles’ style effortlessly enhances what you’d see on a plate, but the food is forever locked in the time before the first bite was taken out of it. His style is homey and comfortable, but oh-so hunger-inducing. For warmth on a platform that often feels cold, follow @whcoles.
Travis Seale is ultra-creative. Whether he’s flipping the definition of "portrait" on its head by producing soft, modern, and simple portraits, or experimenting with camp (he definitely should’ve been invited to the 2019 Met Gala, by the way), Seale is consistently pushing his creative boundaries. To liven up your stale timeline or to get fashion/makeup inspo from his models, follow @travis.seale.
We recently found out about Yared Aguilar’s work when La Purisima posted about his zine release party, so we immediately found him on Instagram. His film photography struck a chord and made us realize the importance of someone authentically capturing the Mexican culture in Phoenix. Aguilar’s photos are simple but backed with cultural significance. He doesn’t have to say a lot to get the meaning across. To appreciate the culture, follow @fadedchinos.
Tracy Fultz, Jeremiah Scheffer
Phoenix-based couple Tracy Fultz and Jeremiah Scheffer are behind Blushing Cactus Photography. The duo are documenting life as it happens, and are all about capturing the human connection when it comes to live events and weddings. The couple’s unique perspective shines through each photograph as much as the moments of pure delight do. To browse the work they’ve done, follow @blushingcactusphotography.
Anson Knopp is a contemporary painter who often uses oils and acrylics on mixed media. Knopp’s paintings can be daunting to view at first, but once you commit to diving in, you’ve entered his world. His strokes guide you to one end of the painting to the next. Ultimately, and after fully digesting the brilliant madness you’ve seen, you’re left to form your own interpretation. Add variety to your feed by following @ansonknopp_.
Paige Poppe is a cheery watercolor painter and designer based out of Scottsdale who draws inspiration from our desert home to create modern and vibrant works of art that come in the form of paintings, mugs, prints, jewelry, and more. She weaves her bright and positive spin into her work, creating personal and lively pieces. To add a pop of desert color to your feed, follow @paigepoppe.
As many of us have, landscape photographer Andrei Stoica fell in love with the American Southwest and has dedicated his time to capturing its essence and beauty. Stoica has been published in Arizona Highways, PHOENIX magazine, and National Geographic, further cementing him as the landscape photographer we didn’t know we deserved but are so glad to have. To be reminded of home wherever you go, follow @arizonaphotoadventures.
If local live music is your jam, but you’re also into fashion, you’ve stumbled across the right part of this article. When Haylee Finn isn’t covering a show, she’s helping capture the essence of local brands like No Tattoo Chat or local designers like Lorraine Barker. Finn’s style is full of deep hues and is intimate, yet energetic. To get a taste of local fashion, as well as lively music shots, follow @hayleefinn.
Debby Wolvos is a food and travel photographer based in Phoenix. Her food shots are radiant and lively, adding depth to the food you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed since you’d most likely dig in instead of appreciating it. Wolvos' pics create an inviting space to look at food as other than sustenance, if only for just the moment it appears on your phone’s screen. Ready to feast your eyes? Follow @debbywolvos.
Rachel Kaye Eblin
Rachel Kaye Eblin is a multifaceted badass. Not only is she a photographer, but her resume includes makeup artist, hairstylist, and set designer. Striking power and confidence come through your screen while scrolling through her feed as she captures models with ease, but we know it has taken years for her to perfect her craft. For effortlessly cool looks and unique style, follow @rkeartistry.
Are you following other local cool people producing cool things on Instagram? Let us know for future reference.
Oh, bonus self-plug here: Follow our Instagram (@phoenixnewtimes) where we bring a mix of news, culture, and food stories to your feed ... and sometimes a giveaway or two.
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