CHASE DANIEL @thevuvobandit
In the eyes of Chase Daniel, there are two realms to Instagram.
“I am by no means a photographer.”
– Chase Daniels
The first is the one that most people belong to, where you follow your friends and it’s used more like Facebook. And then there’s the second realm, where Instagram photographers travel the world and meet interesting people in picturesque scenes and trendy cities.
Although he belongs to this second realm and has garnered more than 44,000 followers, Chase, 24, has received no formal photography training. Even more impressive: every one of his shots is taken on an iPhone 4S.
“I am by no means a photographer,” he says.
Many would beg to differ, though, upon witnessing his gorgeous shots of majestic waterfalls in Tennessee or of the perfect setting sun behind an old rickety house in his hometown of Farmersville, Texas – population: 3,414 and counting. Chase, also known as “thevuvobandit,” truly has a talent for uncovering the hidden splendor of the country.
The two most important outcomes of his Instagram success are the friends he’s made and the trips he’s taken.
“Out of the hundreds of people I’ve met through Instagram over the past eight months, almost all of them are great,” Chase says. “It really is a cool community.”
These serendipitous friendships have led to travels all over the country from Portland to Little Rock and Nashville. Speaking in the new social currency of visual imagery, Chase isn’t only able to find places to stay; he’s able to find personal tour guides as well. During a visit to Portland for a job interview, Chase contacted a person he met on Instagram and ended up staying with him for five days, getting the insider’s view of the city. “They took me on a few hikes, they took me to great places to eat in the city,” he says. “I would have had to do some serious research to find out all these cool places to go.”
“I love going down back roads…and finding these old broken down barns.”
These adventures aren’t without their share of amazing photos, of course, like the shot from his camping trip in the Ozark Mountains that he took with a Dallas-area Instagrammer.
When you skim through Chase’s feed, it’s obvious he finds the most beauty in the outdoors. Combine that with his interest in architecture—he studied it at Virginia Tech University and is now an intern for Michael Hsu Office of Architecture—and you get #thebarncollection.
“It’s a little cliché now,” he says. “I love going down back roads and driving around and finding these old broken down barns.”
These back road trips, often taken with his fiancée Lauren, are what guided him to the second realm of Instagram in the first place. “We would love on weekends to go out… kind of our weekend exploration,” noting that those jaunts were often guided by following Instagram’s own Weekend Hashtag Projects.
Being well traveled and well connected to this exclusive tribe of Insta-artists, Chase notes a few individuals that populate his own feed. Like @melissasue who inspires through simplicity, the encouraging @klby, or the trendsetting @jeysonpaez, of whom Chase says “[is] pushing Instagram in new ways,” without realizing that perhaps he himself is too. For he’s not only been able to turn a mere image-taking app into a viewfinder to the world; he’s also turned it into an exchange of both transportive moments and real-world relationships to all those that follow him.
Chase Daniel (@thevuvobandit)
Writing by: Brooke Blanton