Instagrammer and blogger extraordinaire with a passion for creative images and style, Apurva Lama, through her blog Appycat brings not a new way to live and showcase yourself on the “virtual space” you create on social media but also throws across the essence of being true to yourself. A believer in minimalism, originally from the hills of Darjeeling, Apurva has lived in Delhi for the past few years. She once worked as a Fashion Editor for a leading online magazine, but now works on her site full time and spreads out happiness and love talking about the evolution of style, juxtaposing it with contemporary fashion.
The Sparrows at TYS went over to chat with her and pick her super brain on how to construct surreal and minimal personal brands on our social media accounts to call our own!
Q. Let’s start with the absolute cliché – Tell us about yourself and what got you interested in your line?
I’ve always had a soft spot for arts and crafts ever since I was a kid. As I grew older, I realized I could represent and create something in so many different ways – from the way I dressed to the photos I clicked, how I wrote or drew. There was art everywhere. I loved writing and I always saw dressing up as a form of art to represent yourself to the world. And that’s what got me here.
Q. From a blogger to a widely followed Instagrammer – How has the transit been?
I still think of myself as a blogger, primarily. I love the idea of tranforming ideas into words and creating a “virtual space” to show your creativity and blogging allows me to do that. Instagram is a great place to share and engage with other creative people. I’m lucky to have connected to so many people and I get inspired everyday. There is simply no limit to what people can create, it’s a beautiful process. Initially, I started creating Instagram posts to reflect a certain article I wrote on the blog. Even now, you can see the juxtaposition of my Instagram posts and articles wherein I try and mold the everyday topics into my posts.
Normally when you get a certain idea, the execution part comes easy. It doesn’t take one than an hour to translate the ideas and give it a tangible form, whether it’s in the form of writing, Photoshop edits or paper.
Q. Is there a reason behind your love for double exposure?
Surrealism. The sole reason why I am so fond of double exposure is that fact that it allows me to create images that are so surreal and dreamy. And I can’t put a word on how much I love surrealism and fantasy. There is so much you can say through these images and the places you can go to. Again as I say, virtual space is something that is your own creative sphere and thus should reflect your uniqueness.
Q. Do you think there are certain rules someone should keep in mind to generate Instagram content aimed at targeting a large audience? Is it very different from blogging fundamentals of creating your personal brand?
There are no rules in creativity as such. If the post you have created is good and you’re proud of it, it automatically generates more impressions and engagement – regardless of whether it comes under a specific genre. That way Instagram is different from blogging. In blogging, there is a certain group that you target, for instance, a fashion blogger will have readers interested in fashion and it works better that way. Whereas on Instagram, a fashion blogger can post amazing artistic flatlays and edits and it will reach a number of different people who are not necessarily avid fashion readers. You can appeal to a larger audience on Instagram – afterall, it’s your virtual creative space built on your sense for you to exploit.
Q. Let’s talk about some aesthetics here. Are there any key elements you always focus upon for your Instagram photos?
Needless to say, lighting is key when it comes to composing a good photograph. However, not all of us have good cameras or proper lightning conditions. I hardly do. So I make sure I always adjust the exposure and contrast of my photos to make the subject stand out. I also make sure the background isn’t too noisy or clustered. I love minimalism and I think Instagram posts work when they’re minimal with a solid flat background.
Don’t concentrate on numbers. Deliver content that you enjoy creating and you know your followers will enjoy soaking in the same.
Don’t be beaten up by trends, looking perfect or creating a perfect glossy image. That’s the job of fashion magazines, not bloggers. It’s okay if you don’t have a photographer or a good camera. I never had one until recently. I have never hired a photographer. Be raw and honest. Celebrating individuality beats following trends.
Q. Any advice to budding Instagrammers, writers or stylists reading this?
For beginners, I would say one must have a message, a philosophy, an intention behind Instagram or blogging. Awesome styling tricks and sharing good photos is great but isn’t enough. I hate to say it but focussing just on the number of likes and followers is somewhat purposeless unless you have a positive, uplifting message for those followers. When I first started Appycat, the idea was to encourage people to love themselves, dress up to feel good and be weird at it. I always tell my readers that styling beats branding. Individuality beats trends. You can make your own trends and be unapologetic about it. It’s almost like punk rock.