A week ago, Rob Lutter had about 3,800 followers on Instagram. Today, he has over 29,000.
Lutter's overnight fame, fueled by coverage on Mashable, The Huffington Post and CNN, is understandable. The 29-year-old has spent the last 19 months biking across Europe into Asia, and has been Instagramming shots of his travels. I caught up with him over email from Hong Kong, where he is taking a breather to come up with some more funds ("I am nearly bankrupt," he says.) Initially self-funded, he has raised some money through the website GoFundMe as well as for several charity organizations for the trip so far.
He left a director's assistant job in London for the reason so many adventures start: "Creativity didn't seem to be a part of this world," he writes. "The world was never going to come to me and so I went out into the world to try and regain some of that drive, that passion for photography and for storytelling." He initially shot pictures with a higher-end camera, and then learned about the app.
"I discovered that one of my favourite photographers @colerise was creating some incredible shots with just his iPhone," he writes. "[Instagram] allowed me to take pictures quickly, without having to pull over to the side of the road and reach into my bike bags for my gear."
In addition to the app's convenience, it connected him to an online support community. In our email exchange, he quoted his response to the #InstagramMeansToMe hashtag:
At the hardest times, when I found myself struggling to pedal or capture, it was this incredible community that I turned to for motivation. Days could pass with no real contact and weeks with no creative feedback. The smallest message of support from others around the world for my journey & photos would fill me with joy, help me stay connected, critical of my work and get me raring to be back in the saddle.
He shared some of his favorite Instagram shots with us.