View The Vikings Instagram Group's photos presented by PrimeSport of the Vikings helmet being showcased around Philadelphia prior to the Vikings Week 7 kickoff against the Eagles Sunday (@SteveWeinik).
The Vikings Instagram Group is taking over Philadelphia.
The Vikings Instagram Group (The V.I.G.) worked with photographer Steve Weinik to showcase some of the most scenic landmarks in Philadelphia.
Weinik is a lifelong Philadelphian and has been a professional photographer in the city for a little more than a decade.
Enjoy this Q&A with Weinik and view his work in our gallery.
What's your background with photography, and how did you get into it?
The first "major" purchase I made, was a Pentax K-1000 camera. It was the late 1990s. I was making barely enough for food and rent, but managed to save enough for the camera, and a couple cheap lenses. I spent my first 24 shots exploring Philadelphia, and I never looked back. I've been shooting professionally for a little over a decade.
Describe your style as a photographer and some of the things you like to shoot.
When you're starting out, the best thing you can do is work with the contacts that you have. Through friends, I got a lot of experience shooting concerts, dance, theater and visual art. Most of my work still focuses on the documentation of creative people and their art. I'm staff photographer for a public art nonprofit: Mural Arts Philadelphia. Through my work there, I've specifically honed my skills in photographing murals and other public art.
For style, I spend a lot of time getting shots that no one else is going to get. I use aerial lifts, and have learned to talk my way up to the rooftops with the best views. There are a ton of talented photographers out there, and a lot of them are shooting the same things. If I can get an angle or perspective that others can't, it helps set my work apart.
You have a terrific Instagram account, which you use to showcase your work. What do you like about that platform in particular?
Thanks! Aside from the instant gratification of social media likes, follows, and comments, Instagram provides an excellent platform to show and share work. There are great communities of photographers, both locally and around the world. When social media cultivates real world friendships, and gets you paying work, it's not nearly as much a waste of time. I'm sure writers have the same experience on Twitter, and white collar professionals on LinkedIn, etc, but as a photographer, this has been my experience on Instagram.
What was your reaction to knowing you'll see your work on the Vikings official Instagram account?
It's awesome. As a Philadelphian, and lifelong Eagles fan, I had a couple seconds of hesitation, but I got over it pretty quickly. Philly has a very loyal fan base, but there's no grudge against Minnesota. Randall Cunningham had a great late career run with you guys, and there's still a lot of love for Sam Bradford here. Mostly it's just great to have the opportunity to show off some of my favorite places in the city to an out-of-town audience.
Philadelphia is a beautiful city to photograph. What was the biggest challenge in shooting for the Vikings?
Not dropping the helmet off a bridge into the Schuylkill River, or onto the el tracks was a challenge, but seriously thinking of and executing photos in the right places was difficult. I wanted to represent the city as a whole, not just the typical tourist spots.
Did you have a favorite shot or couple of shots from the week?
I have a few favorites. The covered bridge in the Wissahickon Valley is a beautiful spot deep in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, the largest, landscaped urban park in the world. I love to show off the beauty of that park to an outside audience. A few quintessential Philly scenes are the Wawa, the Market-Frankford elevated train, and the Toynbee tile. The graffiti wall in North Philly was the first shot I went to get, and is another favorite.
What are your thoughts on the V.I.G. Program bringing together talented photographers from around the country?
I think it's great. I had a lot of fun looking at some of the other photographer's work, and of course shooting myself. I look forward to following the series up until you're back in Philly for the NFC Championship Game.
View The Vikings Instagram Group's photos presented by PrimeSport of the Vikings helmet being showcased around Carolina prior to the Vikings Week 3 kickoff against the Panthers Sunday.