Visit Philly Snags Local Gay Superstar Instagrammers

Neal Santos and Streets Dept.'s Conrad Benner are temporarily taking over Visit Philly's Instagram profile.

Visit Philly (@visitphilly) just snagged local superstar Instagrammers Neal Santos (@nealsantos) and Conrad Benner (@streetsdept) to takeover its Instagram account for most of the week. Smart move considering that, added up, the two have over 18.3K followers and have been featured in several local publications’ “Best of Instagram” lists.

The bulk of those come from City Paper photographer Santos’ account, which racked up tens of thousands of eyeballs when Instagram spotlighted it last fall. His three-day takeover for Visit Philly begins today and will focus on the Spruce Hill/West Philly part of town, where he says he wants to offer an authentic look at the area and its inhabitants. “I hope to bring out beauty in the grit and grit in the beauty.” On a regular day, Santos, who, full disclosure, is a former colleague and good friend of mine, fills his Instagram feed with one -of-a-kind images of people, landscapes and the zoo of animals he keeps at his farm in West Philly.

Benner, who has made a name for himself locally through his blog and Instagram feed that’s splashed with vibrant, giddiness-inducing shots of Philadelphia street art, finished his takeover with Visit Philly yesterday. He was assigned to share images from Northern Liberties, where he focused on some of the neighborhood’s architecture, green spaces and, of course, street art. “I was born and raised in [Fishtown] and I have seen the city grow and change into this center … of really positive creative energy. … Northern Liberties, in a lot of respect, was the epicenter of this artistic turn many years ago, and it’s still an amazingly vibrant and eclectic neighborhood today.”

To see each of the photographers’ contributions, check out @visitphilly on Instagram.

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