What makes Christopher Eyl’s Instagram feed so mesmerizing is how the pictures display his distinctive view of the world. For this North Carolina-based designer, intersecting lines, contrasting colors, light and texture are often the jumping off points for an incredible picture. Each image he shares is a piece of a greater collection that reminds us that there is nothing unrealistic about abstract art.
FULL NAME AND INSTAGRAM HANDLE:
Christopher Eyl, @eylride
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m an introvert. This interview has me way out of my comfort zone. It’s odd to me that I so willingly share my vision of the world on Instagram. It’s just as strange that I’m a designer. My periodical work is viewed by tens of thousands of people on a regular basis. The one thing I do that totally suits my personality is single speed mountain biking. I can spend hours alone in the woods mashing pedals. That and my family are the things that make me. I’m a dedicated husband and father. Family is número uno.
IN ONE SENTENCE, DESCRIBE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED.
Miniature square light reflections longing to be created rather than captured.
WHAT’S YOUR TECHNICAL SETUP WITH FILTERS, LENSES, APPS, ETC.?
I take all shots with my iPhone 4S. Life is crazy busy so I keep my process simple by making every effort to capture an image rather than produce it. Mostly that effort involves being still. I use Photoshop Express for cropping to 1×1 and occasionally for straightening. If I use a filter, it’s usually Instagram’s Valencia.
YOUR FEED REALLY FUNCTIONS LIKE AN ARTIST’S COLLECTION. WHAT GOT YOU STARTED CAPTURING MINIMALIST/ABSTRACT IMAGES?
After I got my iPhone 4S, I realized the image quality from the camera was decent enough to collect background textures for print design projects. I walked my neighborhood and took shots of everything. Ground, walls, sky, rippling water, whatever. Around that same time I was reading “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin” by Lawrence Weschler. Irwin’s process, vision and focus fascinated me. His work made me consider light in a way I hadn’t before. I’m not in any way suggesting I have a fraction of his talent and I don’t consider my feed truly minimalist. I just find Irwin inspiring. He’s an artist, I’m just a busy guy with a common phone enjoying a bit of personal creativity.
DO YOU EVER GO OUT INTENDING TO TAKE A PHOTO, OR DO YOU JUST HAPPEN UPON THESE SCENES? WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN AN ENVIRONMENT?
I mostly stumble upon things while I’m out and about. I’ll go back to a spot later if I need better light or feel I can get a better composition. I’m always looking for interesting patterns, colors, geometry. I like combining the softness of nature with architecture. If you and I were doing this interview in person on a city street I’d have a hard time hearing you over the ruckus of bricks and mortar.
MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS SPEND THEIR LIVES WORKING TO TAKE VIEWERS INTO A STORY AND FEEL THE REALITY OF A MOMENT IN TIME. OFTEN YOUR SHOTS DO THE OPPOSITE. THEY CHALLENGE VIEWERS TO SEE HOW ABSTRACT THE WORLD CAN BE. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A PHOTO THAT YOU WOULD SHARE ON INSTAGRAM?
I look for dissolution of the notion that reality isn’t abstract.
WOULD YOU EVER BREAK THE RHYTHM AND POST A PICTURE OF … A CAT? … A SUNSET?
No! Never! Well. Maybe. If I decide to quit Instagram, I’ll probably remove all images and post a cat, in a hat, with a thing or two. (Actually I’d post these things as long as you couldn’t tell they were cats and sunsets.)
WHAT WAS YOUR INTEREST/INVOLVEMENT WITH PHOTOGRAPHY BEFORE INSTAGRAM? WHAT IMPACT DOES THE PLATFORM HAVE FOR YOU?
That’s an interesting question. I would think anyone who picks up a camera, clicks the shutter, and captures light is technically participating in photography. Generally, I’ve only used photography to capture family life. It’s invaluable for remembering what your kids looked like last month – they change so fast. Instagram isn’t about photography for me. It’s about visual communication and community. It’s fun having people from all over the globe appreciate what I see and I don’t feel alone in my vision because so many others see the world in a similar fashion.
DO YOU HAVE ANY INSTAGRAM DOS AND DON’TS?
These are mine – take them or leave them. Dos: have fun, experiment, be nice, use humor, be grateful, give likes and comments whenever there is time. Don’ts: cats ;), fingernails, >3 posts/day, snark.
WHO ARE FIVE INSTAGRAMMERS YOU’D RECOMMEND FOLLOWING AND WHY?
Only five. This is going to be tough.
@angelicajava – stunning colors and nicely balanced minimal squares from Mexico.
@nato303 – see the side of St. Louis you otherwise wouldn’t. It’s wonderful.
@ovaxposed – #soloparking at its finest. Zachary will take you all over the world.
@_16ray – beautiful, simple images from Seoul, Korea