For the past two years, Jason Reinhart has shared daily photos of life in Ormond Beach to people all over the world, through Instagram.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Jason Reinhart is showing Ormond Beach to the world, one photo at a time.
Reinhart, 36, an early adapter of the photo-sharing social-media platform Instagram, has over 6,800 followers, some of which live on different continents.
“I've talked to people in New Zealand, France, Denmark (and) Canada,” he said. “(They’re) people I talk to everyday.”
Using hashtags, such as "#OrmondBeach," Reinhart shares photos he takes throughout Ormond Beach and Volusia County. Any of Instagram's reported 90 million active users can find those photos by following Reinhart (@JasonHReinhart) or by searching for the hashtag.
Some of those users, Reinhart says, are tourists who travel to the area. They share photos of their trip with their followers, but also discover photos Reinhart and other locals have shared using #OrmondBeach.
There was one woman who visited the area from Germany, for example. After she returned home, she saw a photo Reinhart posted, and she commented that she had been to the location he photographed.
The two strangers, separated by more than 4,000 miles, connected through an application they each downloaded onto their cell phones.
Always interested in photography, Reinhart says he used to only take photos when he had a day off from work. But now, he shares multiple shots daily.
“I've lived here for like four years, and its another thing that’s opened my eyes,” Reinhart said. “Of course I love a sunrise, and then you have the beach right there. So that’s my thing, the sunrises.
He also keeps an eye open for wildlife.
“There’s just so much beauty that I probably wouldn’t look twice at before Instagram," he said, "because I didn't think I needed to share anything.”
But it’s not just international connections Reinhart has made through Instagram. People who also used to live in Ormond but now live out of state, he says, comment often on his photos. His work reminds them where they came from.
He also met Melissa Kiel, the owner of East Ormond Beach CrossFit, by sharing photos of the area.
Kiel, who goes by the Instagram handle @MKEOB, started using Instagram about a year ago, to promote her business. She posted photos of the core strength and conditioning program, the gym and gym’s lifestyle beyond the grueling workouts.
“I started tagging #OrmondBeach because there are a lot of CrossFits in the area and we’re really proud of being on beachside,” she said.
One day, she just happened to look who else had tagged photos with #OrmondBeach. She found a Reinhart photo of the running path her CrossFit gym uses and commented on it.
Kiel and Reinhart began talking through the comments, and having never met in person, she convinced him to come into the gym and give CrossFit a chance. He’s now a member.
It’s a connection that never would’ve happened if it wasn’t for Reinhart joining Instagram in 2010, just a few months after it launched.
“It all started through a single photo,” he said.