Instagramming the Granite State
Widely followed photo feeds give residents reasons to rediscover NH’s hidden gems
Granite Staters certainly don’t need anyone to tell them their state is pretty photogenic — but the outside validation doesn’t hurt.
One recent affirmation comes courtesy of the Netherlands-based site TravelBird, which combed through piles of photos (figuratively speaking) to find the most frequently tagged Instagram scenes in the US. Two New Hampshire destinations made it into the top 100: Hampton Beach at No. 44, followed by Mount Monadnock at No. 76.
Picturesque as that pair of places might be, photo-worthy spots abound all over the state — just ask 19-year-old John Lazott.
The NHTI student (and part-time amateur photographer) helped to launch “Instagrammers New Hampshire” (@igersnh) when he was still in high school, as a way to showcase the best views from Coös County to the coastline.
Today, the community-driven account boasts an audience of more than 9,000. The tag “#igersnh” — which Lazott and fellow moderators invite people to use if they want their photos to be featured — has been used more than 100,000 times.
“The location is big,” Lazott says of what catches his eye when picking which images to spotlight. “If it’s in a town I’ve never heard of, that’s kind of interesting to me — because I’m like, oh wow, who knew we had that kind of scenery here?”
In many ways, Lazott says, Instagram’s allowed him to rediscover the beauty of his home state — and, more specifically, of places he’d never even explored just miles away from his own backyard. While he grew up in Goffstown, it wasn’t until he saw gorgeous Instagrams from the nearby Uncanoonuc Mountains that he started exploring himself.
“A lot of my friends started posting long exposure photos up there, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I live 10 minutes away up here and never hiked or been remotely close to here,’” he says. “It definitely gets me to go out more.”
While Instagram remains only a hobby for Lazott, cultivating a photographic appreciation for New Hampshire has turned into a full-time job for 25-year-old Maggie Sutherland.
Upon moving back to New Castle after college, Sutherland launched @SeacoastLately to document her love of the area’s coastlines, cafés and creatively decorated doorsteps. (Its current following of more than 12,000 seems to confirm she’s not alone in that affection.)
“For me, it’s an alternative to the newspaper,” Sutherland says of Instagram’s value as a tool for discovering what’s worth exploring, well, lately, in the Seacoast and beyond. “It’s just a quick and easy way for people to learn about things that are happening in the area.”
Sutherland says she takes her Instagrams using just her iPhone, and the photographic philosophy is simple: To spread the word about the local businesses, artists and scenery she stumbles upon in her own community, and in doing so, to “remind people why we’re grateful to call it home.”