Enterprising bloggers are stealing the scene this season with snaps that mean serious business.
Everyone knows that the Hamptons is home to hedge fund founders, billionaires, media moguls, and movie stars, but on the rise are a bumper crop of Instagram aficionados and social media stars. With their elegantly composed daily postings, they capture the beauty of the local food, cocktails, flowers, and fashions on Instagram, Snapchat, and other popular feeds. While the rest of us get the occasional "like" from relatives and old friends, their poppy images are liked and followed by thousands and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands around the globe. Hamptons asked some of the most touted local Instagram stars to curate a week on the East End, and the dramatic images here are a testament to their eye for what attracts us all to the area. Now, pick up your iPhone and get snapping. #jealous
Photographer Gray Malin’s recent Hamptons Instagram postings included these shots of The Surf Lodge, Montauk Point Beach (from his book, Beaches) and tucked in under his I Am Busy Balloons photograph on display in one of Surf Lodge’s rooms.
Gray Malin, whose quirky, large-format art photographs exclusively hang in the rooms at The Surf Lodge, fell in love with photography after taking a darkroom course while in high school in Dallas. Now he’s putting his double major in photography and marketing from Emerson to good use, and the result is a campy-delightful photographer who knows how to get his vision across to a broad audience. Malin recently created a swan pool float that was featured in a viral Rihanna video and published Beaches, a coffee-table tome of his aerial photos of dreamy beaches and landscapes, including in the Hamptons.
Local flavor: “I was eating an ice cream cone with sprinkles on Main Street in Southampton. I took an image of my hand holding the ice cream cone with the ambiance of Main Street as the backdrop.” Must-snap Montauk: "Gurney’s Hotel and Beach Club—the yellow-and white-striped umbrellas and cabanas. The Surf Lodge is its own world. At night, there is certainly a scene, but during the day, there are only 21 rooms. It’s quite selective, and the service is really great.” Instagram insight: “It is important to present things that people can relate to. The more relatable, the more people feel included. I am leaving for Italy today, and whether I’ve got a gelato in my hand or a map, I’ll just snap natural moments. The key with Instagram is to be authentic." Props that get props: “Last summer, I chartered a boat and I was opening a bottle of rosé, and the pink bottle against the green ombré colors of the water—people loved that.” The Surf Lodge, 183 Edgemere St., Montauk, 483-5037
Something Navy blogger Arielle Nachmani Charnas captures her loves of fashion and summer in the Hamptons on her Instagram with shots of Blush Tones and My Happy Place.
Raised in a fashion family, Arielle Nachmani Charnas—her dad built and sold the company Coolwear, which manufactured trendy clothing for department stores, and her sister is celebrity stylist Danielle Nachmani—started her blog Something Navy by Arielle seven years ago because of a breakup. “The guy I was dating was pushing me to find my passion, and my older sister suggested I start posting what I wear,” says Charnas. “After a few months, my interest in the guy faded, and I fell in love with what I was doing.” Her wildly successful Instagram account followed four years ago, and now “we get over a million views per week,” she says, “and every year, it just keeps rising.”
Blogger’s closet: “It’s a full bedroom; I always need content. Influencers have much more of an effect on girls’ shopping than celebrities do. If real-life bloggers wear the items, it’s more believable and relatable. I collaborate with clothing companies, beauty brands, and hair brands. I’m a part of a fitness company called Bandier. Whenever I wear any of their leggings or sports bras, they sell out in a matter of minutes. But I never work with brands I don’t generally use or believe in.” Hamptons presence: “My parents have a house on Meadow Lane in Southampton, and this summer, I’m renting a house of my own, because we have a newborn [Ruby].” Favorite backdrop: “I love to take photos at the beach, because the light is great. And the house that I’m renting has so much greenery, a beautiful pool, and flowers. Montauk, Gurney’s, and Surf Lodge are also beautiful backdrops.” Tough part of the job: “Being dressed and on 24-7, but it’s an incredible business doing what I love.”
Ratatouille’s Ratatouille photo by @conscious_cooking.
Julie Resnick, cocreator of the crowd-sourced but curated Instagram account @thefeedfeed, always inhabited what she refers to as “the digital space,” building websites and social media campaigns for big brands, first at an ad agency and later at her own boutique digital agency. She has also studied at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. Her husband and cofounder, Dan, is a radiologist, but when the couple moved to the Hamptons and had their third child, they decided to change the way they ate. “We belong to two CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] or farm shares,” says Resnick. “You buy into a farm and get back whatever they produce, so I basically need more inspiration for what to cook.
On Instagram, I was able to hook up with people just by looking at a picture. Our brand idea for the business was to just allow people to connect with other people of similar interests and cooking styles. We asked everyone to tag what they cooked with our hashtag, #feedfeed. If you add the hashtag, it gets shared out to all these other people who follow the hashtag.”
@thefeedfeed posted this shot of Love Fruit and Nut Butter.
Spinoffs: @thefeedfeed.vegan, @thefeedfeed.cocktails, @thefeedfeed.glutenfree, and @thefeedfeed.chocolate. Local favorite: Almond. “We don’t usually share photos from restaurants, but Jason [Weiner], the chef, makes interesting and creative dishes with local ingredients.” Hamptons activities: “We live on Napeague Harbor and like to swim across it. We also like taking a boat and hiking through the walking dunes. We have oysters and clams right in front of our house.” Local involvement: The Resnicks are on the board of directors of Quail Hill and Amber Waves farms. Sweet sips: Channing Daughters for wine, The Maidstone Inn for a light drink or bite, and Jack’s for coffee. Viral post: S’mores pudding cake.
@infatuation’s feed has included shots of a taco spread at La Fondita in Amagansett.
"The Infatuation is a Zagat guide for the social media generation," says cofounder Andrew Steinthal. "We’re like the friend you turn to that knows all the restaurant intel." The Instagram account is the companion to the events and stories on their website; for example, if they have a Best Restaurants of the Hamptons feature, they’ll run two days of Hamptons-specific photos. "We have a website, an app, a messaging service, and text [recommendations]," says Steinthal. "Text us and someone will get back to you immediately with a recommendation." Good friends who met in college, Steinthal and his business partner, Chris Stang, started in PR, Steinthal as the VP of PR at Warner Brothers and Stang as VP of marketing at Atlantic Records.
"We were taking artists out all the time." And as friends came to them and asked where to take their parents, bring a date, or go to find hot girls, they decided to create a trusted resource. Under the umbrella of The Infatuation, they now have 18 popular Instagram accounts with over 1.5 million followers, including @burger, @icecream, @tacos, @pasta, @avocadotoast, and local accounts in nine markets.
A breakfast sandwich from Springs General Store in East Hampton.
Winning Instagram shot: "A lot of lobster rolls in one picture does really well. That’s a thing." From where? "I’m a die-hard Lunch lobster roll champion. They have even put my quote about them on the placemat." Picturesque drink: "I’m a fan of sunset cocktails at Bay Kitchen Bar. There are not a lot of restaurants on the water with a view in the Hamptons. And they have a great setup overlooking the bay. They have a spicy version of the margarita." Best margarita: "I’m a big fan of The Hideaway in Montauk. It’s a dive-y Mexican restaurant with a tremendous margarita." Best beers: “Montauk Brewing Company. It’s a cool outdoor hang.” Internet paradox: “The more ridiculous-looking stuff does well, but we try and focus on things we want to eat, not promote crazy-looking French fries or oozing cookie dough that doesn’t taste good." Instagram insight: “Communicate your agenda, as opposed to just putting up pictures.”
"We both liked going out to eat, and we’re very opinionated," says Keith Pierpont, a descendant of Yale University founder James Pierpont, owns and operates Pierpont’s Blossom Farm in Baiting Hollow on the North Fork. His life and business partner, Anastasia Casale, is also an artist with flowers and the proprietor behind Sag Harbor Florist. A romantic at heart, her Instagram account blooms with images of her arrangements for weddings, galas, and private dinners.
Naturally, all of Casale’s local flowers come from Pierpont’s 13-acre farm that features French lilacs, Viburnum opulus (green snowball), peonies, hydrangea (purples, blues, and the green Annabelle hydrangea, limelight hydrangea, and Tardiva hydrangea), dahlias, cosmos, snapdragons, special zinnias, and lycanthus. Clientele: “We do a lot of vineyard weddings and weddings at clubs and private estates, Chefs & Champagne, Paddle & Party for Pink,” says Casale, whose private clients include “musicians, actors, models, and, of course, a daytime talk-show host.”
Artfully composed photos of Pierpont’s Blossom Farm’s pink peonies, hydrangeas, and Café au Lait dahlias share the Hamptons aesthetic on social media.
Most Liked: AC: “When [a well-known chef] who follows me Instagrams my flowers.” KP: “I put one of my Café au Lait dahlias on the barn door, and that had a crazy following.” Most frequent comment: KP: “That people would love to visit the farm.” Key to their Instagram success: “The prettier those flowers look, the better they perform,” says Gabrielle Bradford, who helps Pierpont with his social media. “Pink peonies are a no-brainer. And Keith has a very good handle on the Hamptons aesthetic. He really understands his customer.” Sag Harbor Florist, 3 Bay St., Sag Harbor, 725-1400