Although an early adopter of the popular visual-sharing platform, it wasn’t until September of 2012 that Paul Tellefsen began using Instagram much more seriously. After attending an “instameet” held by popular Instagrammer, Cory Staudacher (@withhearts), Paul was immediately drawn into the endless possibilities that the app offered: the creativity, community, and inspiration.
This all-star visual storyteller, director, and artist has surrounded himself with film and photography all his life, leading up to the founding of his own company Technopaul Productions, a visual production company centered around film, photography, and graphic design. His most recent claim to fame is Instagram Is–a documentary short about the Instagram community.
“It was something that was foreign to me,” Paul recalled. “How can you build true community through social media? But I caught on to his vision and heart fast. Almost overnight, the way I used Instagram changed from photo sharing, getting likes and followers, to building genuine community.”
Fully embracing the idea of the Instagram community, he dove right in. Very quickly, he began to experiment with new photography techniques, bonded with individuals across the world, and was featured on several accounts like @instagood.
It was studying at UT Dallas, that he was assigned to make a fake movie trailer for one of his classes. Naturally, he decided to focus on Instagram and recorded one of his personal instameets where he interviewed those Instagrammers that were present. However, he soon realized that the story of Instagram transcended a mini-fake trailer for one class and decided to make it into a full film.
“Instagram Is isn’t just a film; it is a change in perspective,” he says. “Whether you are new to Instagram, don’t know about Instagram, never have liked Instagram, or just need fresh inspiration the film speaks to all these audiences. When I created Instagram Is I never could have imagined the impact it would have. I am ever grateful to be apart of this community of intentional creatives.”
Since the film’s inception, Paul has grown dramatically as an artist, director, filmmaker, and person, and he attributes a lot of it to the community he grew to embrace on Instagram. In his words, “Instagram will always be about community.” It isn’t something that can be forced or stopped on a whim; it’s organic and builds over time, and the bonds that are made tie it all together to make it last.
Check out the inspiring Instagram Is documentary and follow Paul Tellefsen on Instagram at @technopaul!