#followmeto: adventures with Murad Osmann

We all have our “camera persona.” Before the shutter has clicked, we’ve made subtle adjustments: Your smile gets a little wider, you tuck your chin down, you tilt your head…

It’s for this reason that so many people (including yours truly!) prefer candid photos. They don’t feel quite so forced, and somehow seem much more  authentic, much more indicative of the true experience.

Murad Osmann always has a camera in his hand. The Russian photographer is constantly on the road for work, traveling from Belize to Prague to Bangkok in the course of a week. His girlfriend, journalist Nataly Zakharova, is his near-constant travel companion, and became frustrated that Osmann was always glued to the camera lens.

Finally, she took a stand. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Osmann reflected, “Nataly was a bit annoyed that I was always taking pictures of everything, so she grabbed my hand and tried to pull me forward. That said it didn’t stop me from doing photos while she was pulling me.”

And so began the Follow Me project. Osmann began uploading his photos on his Instagram account, accompanied by the hashtag #followmeto.

A movement began. Osmann’s photos invite other travelers to capture their journeys from another perspective, proving that there are many ways to capture an experience. His photo essay also depicts the patchwork of different cultures and styles the comprise our planet; viewing the pictures is like looking through a global lookbook, each one filled with unique fashions and trends.

Osmann’s photographs have introduced viewers to saris and  thai hats. They allow people to view the beauty of a traditional Russian ensemble, of a flamenco dress, of a Mardi Gras outfit. #Followmeto shows viewers that a style doesn’t have to be in the front window of a department store to be beautiful. It’s the wearer – and the experience – that makes the ensemble special.

This exemplifies the Rags ethos: to feel beautiful in whatever we’re wearing, to look beyond the status quo trends, and to love the life that we live.

Murad Osmann’s photos are a visual feast. But they also serve as motivational material. His pictures encourage viewers to get out there, to experience different cultures, and to challenge ourselves to be more open to new adventures. As long as you put your best foot forward, you’ll always look (and feel) beautiful… No matter where your journey brings you.

Below, enjoy a selection of my favorite photos in the Follow Me series:

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photo 1 photo 2 (1) photo 2 photo 3 (1) photo 3 photo 4 (1) photo 4

Leigh Michael