Meet Scott Bakken, avid photographer and founder of Socality. Capturing the rocky mountains by way of Calgary, Alberta, Scott's Instagram photos are full of depth, colour and subtle boldness. With over 42,000 Instagram followers, a marketing agency and the launch of Socality Live this May, Scott is on the forefront of creating digital communities. We managed to find some time to sit down with him to discuss photography, adventure and his upcoming projects. Enjoy his story as he shares some images and words from a recent trip to the rocky mountains.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Scott Bakken and I have been married 12 years to my wife, Jessica. We have a one-year-old daughter named Sydney Rose who is pretty awesome. We spent 6 years living in Sydney Australia before returning back to Calgary, Canada, where we currently live. In 2013 we started our own marketing company called Bakken Productions.
Take us back to when you joined Instagram and what inspired your current aesthetic, did you feel a sense of responsibility to post once your following grew?
The very first photo I ever took on Instagram was of my beautiful wife! I had heard about the app from a friend and thought I would give it a whirl. I would consider my first two years on the app was very friends based, meaning I posted only to connect with people I currently knew and had relationships with. It was in the summer of 2013 my mindset shifted towards Instagram and I saw it as a platform to engage further, expanding networks and building relationships globally.
My current atheistic is highly inspired by my geographical location. Living in Calgary places me near the Rocky Mountains, so I am able to go out into this beautiful mountain scenery and share it with the world.
As for posting, I try and share something at least daily. Sometimes, it is an inspirational thought or just an image with a caption. Whatever I post, I do with the intention to engage and connect with others. I believe Social media has to be more about 'There you are' and less about "Here I am'. People want community and connection.
How do you approach exploring and photography?
For me, exploring is all about finding that space that every one sees from the road but then going into it a little further, into spots others might be bothered to go. It is also about capturing the moment. Often I have been driving only to spot an awesome photo opportunity right in front of me. It becomes a ‘Stop the car” moment where you pull over in random spots very quickly and frantically run to grab the shot. Sometimes it even leads to risky moments but hey..anything for the gram! A few years back, I wouldn’t have been so adventurous. Instagram has caused me to step out of my norm and fall in love with adventure; at the same time discover my surroundings. It has brought a new sense of appreciation for the things around me and a desire to go and discover new people and places beyond my own city.
Photography for me is about capturing an image that speaks to people. It is about the simplicity but also the complexity that exist in a photo at the same time. When you first look at it, you see it as a whole, but when you look deeper you can see the detail that really makes it awesome.
Do you only shoot on iPhone? (What’s your favourite camera?)
I mostly shoot on my iphone 5 and edit with VCSO cam. I also shoot on my Canon 70D but only take this with me on the bigger trips! The iphone fits so nicely in the pocket.
How has the Instagram community influenced your day to day living?
They have influenced me to step outside what I am used and go explore new spots and destinations. My eyes have been opened to the world around me and I have come to appreciate where I live. After living in Sydney for 6 years, it took me awhile to adjust back into Calgary and its weather. I would say Instagram played a big part in my transition back as I started capturing what was around me. People all over the world would comment on how beautiful Alberta was and this increased my awareness and appreciation for my city and province. Additionally, I have learned so much about community and the importance of expressing creativity and not being afraid to try something new. Instagram has brought about the opportunity to meet some pretty awesome people and build solid friendships with those who live in others parts of the world.
What is Socality? Why did you create it?
Socality is a community-based movement that is global and impacts local. It is a collective of social influencers, photographers, designers, filmmakers, musicians and leaders designed to connect and create influencers for social good. As I grew in my Instagram journey, I had started to connect with many people across the globe that had similar views to faith, culture and life that I did. I saw an open window and opportunity to gather these like-minded individuals out of sincere friendship and develop a collective that could create unlimited possibilities. The concept really came from feeling a sense of disconnect within my own city. I saw everyone doing something, but no one was doing it together. I began to think of how we could connect us all locally and globally, under a common theme; love. The mission and mandate is simple; you belong.
Socality exists on 3 platforms; social platform, website and live weekend conferences. It is a true collective of people from across the globe and allows someone to connect with a community right from their phone through a hashtag. The events allows people to take that experience and bring it to life, providing opportunity to come meet this community in person, while learning and developing skillsets in the arts and media to help them become an influencer themself. I personally am really excited about the opportunities Socality is creating for people everywhere!
How do you find the experience of physically meeting up with Instagram community members?
I am a people person so it comes very easy to me. The community on Instagram is very much a community and I feel like there is a commonality amongst us that when we meet it is like we are old friends with lots of catching up to do. I personally am excited by every chance I get to meet someone new. You never know what story you are going to hear, lesson you will learn or connection point you will encounter.
What advice do you have for those getting into photography?
I would suggest that one should find a photographer or artist that they love and look at how they can take some of those ideas and apply it to their own work. Not in a copycat way, but more of a learning through observing manner.
I would also suggest to play around with people and subjects and learn to find the right placement of items in the photo. It is not so much about what the image is but how you capture it. Find the right lighting and look to add in the little details that can really make a photo stand out. One thing to consider is contrast. For example, instead of taking a photo of someone in front of a mountain smiling, try showing off the size of the mountain in comparison to the person. It makes for a way more stunning shot. Finally, it is about trial and error. You probably will have to take 20 bad photos to get the gem!
I love my SAXX! Honestly they are the best underwear and the quality and comfort are unreal! I happily tell everyone about them and know that when they get their first pair, they will only want more! Thanks to SAXX for letting me share more about myself and for following us on our mountain excursion.