Kathryn Holeywell

Photo Credit:  Katy English

Photo Credit: Katy English

Wander For A While

It's been three years since I moved to London and began regularly wandering and photographing the city. I've always posted my images on Instagram as Wander For a While but lately felt I wanted a place to say a bit more.

I've taken some enlightening classes on Instagram photography and visual social media strategy in general and read the existing books and articles on the subject.

But what really fascinates me - and what I'm interested in observing and describing on my blog - is the way in which London and her landmarks are represented on Instagram. What are the places - not on any mainstream tourist map - which have emerged as Instagram sites in the city? Why do we make Instagram pilgrimages, so to speak, to photograph places that have already been captured and posted hundreds of thousands of times before us?  

I also want to discuss super practical details about photographing London for Instagram. What's the best route for capturing all those London Insta-landmarks as well as her subtler, hidden gems? Where are the prettiest cafes across the city that will fit into your wanderings? And who are the London Instagrammers who inspire, delight and excite?

I want to share everything I've learned with you including plenty of hints and tips. And I also want to think in a more slippery, less straightforward way about why Instagram privileges such particular ways of seeing London on social media. 

More About Me

I'm originally from Houston but in 2002, I came to the UK as part of a study abroad programme.

15 years later ... and I'm still here! Like so many others, I absolutely fell in love with my adopted country. I try to express this in my photography, and I like to think it shines through.

When I first came to England it was as a student at the University of East Anglia in Norwich - a charming, historic city which, at that time, was still relatively isolated in the wild and windy Norfolk countryside.

After completing a BA and MA in English literature, I worked for several years on a doctorate. (It was going to be the biography of an overlooked English novelist.) I spent days on end in stuffy libraries and climate controlled literary archives both here and abroad ... researching, writing, publishing and teaching.

But before I could finish my PhD, I was diagnosed with an incurable, chronic illness. It's not contagious, but it impacts me every minute of every day. So in 2014, I left the university's concrete campus to live in London where I could receive specialised medical treatment.

I fell in love with London - which I had somehow overlooked during all those years in Norwich. For three years I walked around London taking photographs. And at the same time I slowly became real life friends with the creative, inspiring women I was meeting on Instagram - florists, artists, bakers, and photographers, to name but a few. 

When I was well, I would go out and take photos. And when I was poorly - which was often - I was housebound. So I would take online photography and Instagram classes, edit my images, look at maps of London, and spend time (so much time!) studying other people's photos.

I'm often asked how I'm able to remain spirited in the face of a painful and troublesome disease. Some of it is that there is no other option. But I also believe photography has kept me searching for - and discovering - the beautiful, whimsical scenes waiting to be captured in this city.

Photo Credit:  Yvonne Hardiman

Photo Credit: Yvonne Hardiman