Cast // Boston Social Photographers: Oscar Alvarez, Ann Jiang, Evan Beauvais, Kathryn Riley, Danyson “Dee” Tavares, Jules Lesinski, Chris Rocco, Kiana Gibson, Curtis Reid, Joy Clark, Greg Dubois, Sally Cooper, James Berkley, Saili Kline, Juan Murray, Erin DeFuria, Akshay Kokil, Andrea Fanelli, and Michael Kalish
Production // Michael Kalish (Producer), Kenton Van Natten (Editor), Douglas Gordon, Grace Deacon, Alex Enman (Cinematographer), Oscar Alvarez, Jason Cooper, Christine Kalish, Chris Rocco, Debbie Poutsiaka, Neha Singh, Sam Swan, Nicole Schiarizzi, and Susan Flarherty (Production Assistants)
The definition of what it means to be a “photographer” has dramatically changed over the past few years. It’s no longer reserved for those who just shoot film, or receive a paycheck to do so. Social media was largely responsible for this shift in how people view the medium and its current status. Once Instagram was solidified as a social media giant, it became a running joke that its users were actual “photographers.” The term “social photographer” grew from this skepticism, and used to identify those who were incredibly talented and possessed the ability to tell stories with their images. This was the major catalyst for Producer Michael Kalish, in creating the “Following Boston” film series that launched summer 2015.
Diversity was critical to Kalish when choosing the cast for Following Boston. The “secret sauce” of developing a season, or group of videos that play well together was also important. Kalish hand selected a dozen or so local street photographers from Instagram to be considered as the subject of a fully produced short film. The process involved printing one photo from each person, removing the names/handles, and number of followers. This leveled the playing field. The images were then tossed into the air. Once they landed, the season started to take shape. At that point, the photographers were contacted to participate in the project. Not all were thrilled about being the subject of a short film. Many feel more comfortable behind the camera, Kalish being one. Those who were truly enthusiastic about the project were asked to choose the location in Boston to be filmed. Boston became a central character in these love letters to a city, bringing together and spotlighting a vibrant community of photographers.
With the help of talented local editor Kenton Van Natten, and cinematographers, Douglas Gordon, Grace Deacon, and Alex Enman, the Following Boston documentary series has reached a new level of story telling in its second and third seasons. The challenge for Kalish was to produce quality content that allowed the viewer to learn about the subject and location, while at the same time, entertain the audience and keep them engaged. Leveraging Instagram as the feeding ground and distribution channel for the series, @FollowingBoston has become the hottest photo hub in Boston, with over 18k followers and 80k images tagged with #FollowingBoston by hopefuls looking to have their photos featured… or perhaps to be selected to host an upcoming episode.
A total of 16 episodes have been produced and shared online, with 3 more in production. The question becomes what is next for Michael Kalish and Following Boston...