Those who live and Jacksonville and use Instagram have probably heard of the hashtag #igersjax or the @igersjax account. The story of igersjax started in 2012, Stefan Sears was taking pictures around Jacksonville and noticed no one else taking pictures. One of Sears’ good friends passed away and he traveled to New Orleans to help his friend’s sister cope with her loss. Sears purchased a point and shoot camera and an iPhone in preparation for the trip. Loads of pictures were taken in New Orleans but he noticed no one was taking pictures there either. Sears was disheartened by the lack of photography and became motivated to get a culture of photography going in Jacksonville. The hashtags #Jacksonville and #ilovejax were popular but full of things unrelated to the city. Sears thought it would be impossible to take on the bigger hashtags.
“Igers” — pronounced (igeers) — was started in Spain by Phil Gonzalez. It was used in conjunction with city names so #igersspain became the first “igers”. The amount of cities using #igers grew from there. Sears saw an opportunity — he searched Instagram to see if anyone had used the tag #igersjax and no one had. He made a few posts using the tag. After 6 months of using the hashtag a group of people not affiliated with Sears made the @igersjax Instagram account. The account was floundering and the owners had lost interest so they contacted Sears to take over the account. In only around two months the number of followers on the account grew from 52 to over 1000. The @igersjax account is a great way for people around Jacksonville to share their city and culture. The account has since grown to 27,000 followers and attracts new followers daily.
Sears has big plans and is looking into taking the account to the next level. He’s worked with some advertisers over the years and is thinking of a more long term connection. He’s also worked with Hemming Park teaching a photography class focusing on the basics of exposure. Sears also hosts instameets where users meet up, hang out, and take pictures to post with the #igersjax hashtag. He’s planning a large scale Instameet to beat the Guinness World Record for most people at an Instagram Meetup — which is certainly possible with the size of Jacksonville and amount of followers @igersjax has attracted.
Follow @igersjax on Instagram.