The FIAT® 500L
allowed our creativity to roam freely during the FIAT Open Road Challenge with the #jj community.
During the trip, the #jj team posted daily photo challenges on Instagram that corresponded with our journey. Thousands of photos were submitted but only one could win the prize of a brand-new FIAT 500L.
We are thrilled to share the winning photo below.
The photo was captured and submitted by Eric Ward, a fourth-grade teacher and father of three from Northwest Ohio. Eric, known in the realm of Instagram as @littlecoal, sat down with FIAT Backstage
and gave us a glimpse into the mind’s eye of a digital photographer.
FIAT Backstage: How long have you been into photography?
Eric Ward: I have enjoyed photography since I was young, and my parents were incredibly kind to let me shoot with their 35mm film camera whenever I wanted. While photography has always been a part of my life, it wasn’t until I joined Instagram a little over two years ago that I realized the incredible power of a creative photographic community.
FIAT Backstage: Where was the photo taken?
EW: The photo is of my six-year old daughter and was taken at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee, Ohio, located along the Maumee River. At this particular spot, when the water is low, the bedrock becomes exposed, allowing you to walk halfway out into the river without getting wet. It’s a favorite of ours at sunset for the beautiful reflections provided by the pools trapped by the receding water.
FIAT Backstage: What was the inspiration behind this photo?
EW: My daughter and I stopped to explore a bit, and as we walked along the edge of the water she threw a few rocks out into the water and stumbled upon a large feather. In her creative six-year-old mind, that feather quickly became wings, and those wings allowed her to fly...or at least do her best jump as she was doing in the photo. She was jumping on a small stretch of rock on one side of a pool as I walked to the other and did my best to capture the moment of pure childhood joy. I held my phone just above the surface of the pool of water as she was jumping, in an effort to create more sky and eliminate the tree line further down the river behind her.
FIAT Backstage: How long have you been an active member of the #jj community, and what has the experience been like?
EW: I stumbled upon the #jj community shortly after joining Instagram over two years ago, and it quickly became my home on Instagram. This has been such an incredible place for inspiration and community – from the creative nudge that the daily forum themes provide to the passionate work that the @joshjohnson team and the volunteer editors do every day.
There is such incredible interaction within that group that it keeps everyone coming back. I have incredible friends who I met through the @joshjohnson community. People who I have since been lucky enough to meet in person and many others who I hope to one day have an opportunity to spend time with. The atmosphere there is all about friendship, authenticity, creativity and community, and that’s a combination that, if you can find it in today’s world...you stick with it!
FIAT Backstage: What are you most looking forward to about your FIAT 500L?
EW: Everything! Are you kidding me?! My wife works part-time at our church, and I’m an elementary school teacher, so to be blessed in this way is something that has caused us to stop and say, “There’s something greater than both of us going on here.” We feel blessed to have been given the opportunity and then to have the incredible outpouring of support from local friends and co-workers. Receiving a new car without acquiring payments is something that will have lasting effects for us.
Thank you, FIAT USA, for taking the chance with the #jj community, and thanks to the group at @joshjohnson for the opportunity to share our community with a greater audience.
The #jj community has really shown us the power of creativity on Instagram, and we are thrilled to have been a part of it and to have helped spread the amazing photography produced throughout the forum on a daily basis.
Learn how to become a better Instagram photographer and relive our adventures on the road with #jj in these two FIAT Backstage
posts: #jj Wisdom: Five Tips for Instagram Photographers
and FIAT USA Open Road Challenge with the #jj Crew.