Mike Krieger, 25, and Kevin Systrom, 27
Photographed by Cody Pickens in Instagram’s SoMa office
“When people use the word ‘photography’ in relation to Instagram, I cringe a little bit,” says Cole Valley resident and former Google employee, Kevin Systrom. “Instagram isn’t about F-stops and apertures. It’s a communications platform.” Still, the free mobile app—developed with fellow Stanford graduate Mike Krieger and launched to worldwide acclaim last October—has taken iPhone picture-taking to a whole new level by giving contemporary images a timeworn appeal that’s as ironic as it is compelling. Instagram users, now numbering 8.5 million, follow each other, receiving a Twitter-like feed of in-the-moment snapshots. (Incidentally, Instagram’s six-person team has set up camp in Twitter’s old brick-and-timber South Park space.) Seemingly ordinary flashes—stupid pet tricks by a border collie in Japan, for example—are made more poignant through the app’s retro filters. Even a modern-day tween romance gains instant old-timey nostalgia (see @JustinBieber and @SelenaGomez). Then there are the scenes at Ground Zero on the night Osama Bin Laden was captured as well as the revelry that ensued after the Giants claimed the pennant that have been picked up by major news outlets such as The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle. “It isn’t just about pretty filters,” says Krieger, an Alamo Square resident. “It’s actually documenting the world around us.” An upcoming web platform and Android-compatible version for computers or Google-powered mobile devices will only aid in this planetary domination.