Technology and social media are frequently criticized for being impersonal and keeping people from actually interacting with one another.
But four guys in Atlanta, Georgia, are using the image-sharing app "Instagram" to facilitate community-building.
Tim Moxley, Aaron Coury, Brandon Barr and Keith Weaver were tired of seeing selfies and spam when they searched #Atlanta on Instagram. They wanted a hashtag they could use to connect with other photographers taking pictures around Atlanta. So, they decided to start their own.
"When you hashtag your pictures with ' WeloveATL,' it's actually a proclamation," Moxley told HLN. "You're saying why you love the city and you're describing your life in the city."
Since the hashtag started, more than 36,000 pictures have been tagged #WeloveATL.
The group was really impressed by the pictures being taken around the city and decided to put together a show of Instagrams tagged with #WeloveATL at a local gallery. The show was a success. But the guys weren't done yet.
"We were brainstorming different things and we had the idea to buy a bread truck and turn it into an art gallery. Kind of a food truck for photography," Barr explained.
The guys raised $7,500 on Kickstarter to buy the truck and transform it into a mobile gallery.
Today, Moxley, Coury and Barr drive the former bread truck to events around Atlanta, park, and open the space to the public.
Moxley says the best part of the project is when someone sees their picture in the mobile gallery. “I would say at least 80 to 90% of the people who put photos on the hashtag wouldn't even consider themselves to be amateur photographers," says Moxley. "So, whenever citizens of Atlanta come in and see their photograph in a gallery setting they have this sense of pride."
The prints are available for purchase and all proceeds go to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The project has raised more than $7,000 for the charity.
"We're bringing art and culture and charity together," Coury says. "Anybody can take pictures and make beautiful art of their city. We're doing it in Atlanta and we hope that it starts to spread all over the country, because we love the idea of celebrating your city."