“Just capture your life as it happens. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
We’re in a time where we’re stuck in our cell phones and we’re not really good at communicating the way we used to,” Jasmine “Bobby” Oliver of VYRL Media says. “And it’s good to see people just using the old fashioned ways. Talking to people and sharing a common interest – I thought it was beautiful.”
She’s talking about the recent Instameet in Giddings, Texas. An Instameet is when Instagram users, ranging from professional photographers to novices, meet at one place with the purpose of snapping photos on their mobile devices. Most important, though, the purpose is to form a connection. At this particular Instameet, dozens of people from Austin, Houston and San Antonio met in the small town an hour outside of Austin to share their photos of the quaint Hill Country town, using the hashtag #ExploreGiddings.
The event coincided with Instagram’s Worldwide Instameet, where communities around the globe get together and take photos as a group using the photo-sharing app.
“We’d just hop in the car and drive as far as we could and stop where we wanted to take pictures…”
“I love the whole community of it,” says Oliver, who attended the Instameet with her fiancé Lester Green. “Everyone is so positive and encouraging of one another.”
Oliver and Green make up VYRL Media, an Austin and Houston-based multimedia company specializing in photography, videography and graphic design.
After several years of dreaming of the concept, Oliver and Green formed VYRL Media a year ago. Recently, the pair made a video highlighting the sustainability initiative of Professor Jeff Wilson (aka Professor Dumpster) for the Green is the New Black organization at Huston-Tillotson University, where Oliver is a Business Marketing senior. The video won $75,000 in a Ford Historically Black Colleges and Universities Challenge.
The duo learned the skills that go into their business from friends who used multimedia in creative ways while they were living in Missouri City, Texas. “We’d just hop in the car and drive as far as we could and stop where we wanted to take pictures and whatnot,” Oliver says. “That was always our friendship.”
Oliver and Green still appreciate the community atmosphere of their craft. Meeting other photographers and cultivating relationships with other creatives is an important part of Oliver’s life. She started a program at Huston-Tillotson for students to experiment with innovative ways to use mobile photography. “Everyone has their own way of shooting, everyone has a different way of seeing the exact same image,” she says.
By using VYRL as a medium, the couple tries to “evoke a feeling and tell a story,” they say, and the best way to achieve this is to create without any direction.
“We just connect with that person and vibe with whatever connection we’re getting,” Oliver says. “Just capture your life as it happens. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
The couple wants to grow VYRL to be a self-sustaining business that allows them to work from home. They also want to move to either Washington D.C. or Atlanta and get married soon. And they definitely want to travel, with hopes of going to South Africa or maybe even Japan.
“We just want to be able to see the world and show people back home,” Oliver explains. “Where we’re from, not that many people travel and leave home… There are other things out there other than Missouri City, Texas.”
Bobby and Lester’s
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