Instagram-like app to track photographer websites

I’m thinking about what the domain would be for my photo website. And then an idea struck me.

What if someone made an app that looked JUST like Instagram. But all the photos came from RSS feeds from individual photographer websites.

You could subscribe to a whole list of photographer websites, and their photos will appear in this app, just like Instagram.

Likes would still work

Even though the photos come from various photograph websites, likes would still be a feature of this app. All the likes for each photo would be centralized in this app. Individual photographers can put a script on their site to display the like count (or maybe the comments too).

Getting away from Instagram

I’d love an easy way to follow photographers I know. Sure, Instagram does that. But it’s Instagram. It has extremely poor search. IMHO, the Instagram interace is annoying (I don’t want to have to scroll and scroll to view photos).

All the photos on Instagram are within their bubble. The only way to get to a photographer’s website is through a tiny link in the bio. In Instagram, you can’t click through the image to get to the original source.

Giving traffic to photographer’s websites

With this app, you’d have quick access to the original photographer’s webpage, dedicated for that photo. Using an app that promotes each photographer’s own website would be a breath of fresh air.

Control how you view photos

The app would also come with controls how exactly how what you’d like to see in the stream of people you follow.

  • View the stream in a grid? ABSOLUTELY!
  • Want to see only one image from each person? Sure! Or maybe you’ll set the limit to three photos for each person.
  • Want to exclude images tagged as cats? Sure!
  • Want to see only the images that have a caption? Yeah! I want to see photos where the photographer actually talks about the photo. (and not just barfs up tons of images with no explanation or backstory).
  • Once you scroll by an image, never see that image again! YES PLEASE.

There’s a whole rich world behind photography. Instagram severely limits that world into their overly simplistic (and dumb) interface. Let’s get an app that allows people to dive into the wonderful backstories behind photos. And promote photographers’ websites.

Closest app we have now

Honestly, the best app that comes close to giving rich metadata and rich captioning is Flickr. For now, I continue to prefer the Flickr app over Instagram.

But what I’m suggesting is a completely different model. The images are actually hosted on all third-party websites. The images aren’t posted to the service. Instead, photographers use their own sites. And this app collates the photos posted on these sites.


There will certainly be issues with aggregating photos from many different sources. But for now, it’s just a concept that I like to dream about. Especially, as I consider making my own website dedicated to my photographs—so I’m not reliant on third parties like Flickr or Instagram to host my photos.

(The promo image used for this blog post is “person holding smartphone photo” by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash)

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Chris Aldrich
4 years ago

I could totally see this as an IndieWeb-based app! Perhaps there’s a way to modify or use one of the Microsub clients to filter for photos for focusing on and doing just this very thing?

My photos are far from the sort of artistic thing you’re looking for, but it would be nice if one could find a broader section of websites that provided photo-specific feeds like mine. has a photo specific feed and Pixelfed is in this general wheelhouse, but possibly not quite what you’re talking about.


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4 years ago

Maybe something like Pixelfed?

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