Photo by CJ Manne, Design by Marti Fromm
“I hope to get there this year!”
“So nice! Would love to kayak here.”
“Amazing that all these photos are taken with a iPhone 6!”
Followers from Portugal, Serbia, United States – everywhere – leave compliments on sophomore CJ’s Manne’s travel Instagram, @julian_jphotography. It has garnered 3,508 followers in just over a year. For Manne, the account provides an opportunity to share with the world what he’s seen through his travels.
“They [followers] always comment, ‘Oh this place is so beautiful, I never knew what that was like’ and ‘I really want to go here someday,’” Manne said.
Manne has been travelling since he was two years old. His mother, Terre Manne, set a goal to take him to all fifty states before he turned eighteen. So far, he’s been to each one except Hawaii and Ohio. He’s also visited Australia, Mexico and Canada.
Mark Clinton, a famous travel photographer’s Instagram page, inspired him to share his photography with the world through social media. His friends also encouraged him, especially after Manne’s personal Instagram feed was taken over with pictures of the crystal blue waters of Sydney, Australia.
“It was half a year [after I went there], and I was still posting pictures from Australia. People thought I was still going there,” Manne said. “Actually, someone thought that’s where I lived.”
After Manne began posting his pictures on a public Instagram instead of his personal one, less East students ended up seeing them. Manne kept its existence quiet, because he felt it was a fairly personal hobby, only telling his close friends. The followers of his account don’t know his age or full name, so when they see his photography, it’s not as personal as when a peer sees his photography.
Those who he has told at East follow and like his pictures, allowing them to see places most of them have never been before.
“He’ll tell us stories about [his travels], but we never really get to see what it’s like. He went to Australia in eighth grade, and he was telling us about how he got to hold a koala,” sophomore Alex Como said. “So we get to see them on his account.”
Manne’s friend group noticed his success, and his Instagram sparked a trend within the group.
“When he created his account, seeing the responses people gave him inspired me to make an art account,” Como said. “It has kind of become a trend in our friend group because Grace [Goldman] and [Manne] have a photography account.”
Manne’s travels, led by his mom, have taught him about the beauties of the natural world.
“You get an education of the beauty of the world, of the environment. You see what’s happening to it,” Terre said. “For instance, the glaciers. We’ve been to Alaska twice, and the glaciers have melted so much [each time I’ve gone].”
Manne’s travels have also shown him the parts of nature that aren’t so beautiful – like the Californian drought – firsthand.
“Normally if you sit down in a restaurant, they’ll automatically give you water in like a regular size cup,” Manne said. “There – nowhere we went would give you water, and when they did it was like – that big – of a cup.”
But Manne utilizes his Instagram to show his followers the true beauty of the world. When he visited Australia, he exposed them to another side of the terrain besides the desert that many people think of.
“I mostly thought of it as desert-y,” Manne said. “[But] I think it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been because it was really mountainous. And there were eucalyptus trees that gave off a blue haze.”
Manne’s life-long interest in photography has never been anything more than a hobby, but the growing popularity of his Instagram is starting to change that. It’s not the same account he started with.
“There’s just a difference [between] me with a phone with over-saturated pictures getting 45 likes versus now getting 600 likes on my pictures with people following me every day,” Manne said. “It’s almost like a job to me now to be posting these.”
While he has his Instagram and a website, which just holds his Instagram pictures, Manne’s next step is to create a blog. He plans on calling it The Traveler, so that followers can get more of an in-depth idea of his travels. His pictures show what a place looks like, but he believes it would be even more impactful if he could tell the story behind it.
“I think there’s a difference between someone actually seeing my picture and someone knowing more background information about the picture, about the place and everything that I’ve experienced,” Manne said.