Mayfield's Emily Jones has captured the clouds on inskygram

Sky snapper: Emily Jones of Mayfield taking a photo of the world above every day for a more than a year. Pictures: Perry Duffin
Sky snapper: Emily Jones of Mayfield taking a photo of the world above every day for a more than a year. Pictures: Perry Duffin

IF you summarise the average Instagram feed in a sentence, chances are it'll read like the thought process of an overstimulated Bondi resident - coffee, designer dog, beach sunrise, "superfood" smoothie, coffee, music festival, drunk selfie, etc.

But do the same to Inskygram2017 - or Emily Jones as her parents intended - and you'll struggle to get past the word "sky".

Emily's feed is the result of a challenge she set herself late in 2015.

"I had a personal account, with photos of my dogs and whatever, but I kept overloading it with pictures of the sky," the 28 year-old from Mayfield says. "So I decided to spend a whole year just doing that."

She started a new account and set herself two rules: #1 The photos can't have anything attached to the ground, and no trees, no power lines, no buildings - just sky, and #2 No editing.

On January 1, 2016, at 7.06am, Jones walked outside of her Mayfield home, looked up and snapped a photo of the moon, tiny and ghostly white, submerged in a vibrant blue sky.

That was almost 400 days and 400 uncompromising images of sky ago. She said she never thought it would get this far.

“It’s changed the way I live,” she says.

“I get beeped at by cars a lot, I tend to walk into the road if the sunset is being too interesting.”

Jones says she’s blessed with an over-active imagination and can be a little prone to obsession, which no doubt helped her persist on those overcast days. But staring at the sky for hours each week hasn’t robbed her of perspective.

“[I will] be having a conversation, or walking, or driving and I’ll just stare at the sky because a cloud is being amazing,” she says.

On June 1 last year she snapped a photo from the Anzac Memorial Walk. A long, thin cloud streaked across the golden sky, like the Milky Way had appeared in the fading daylight, the colour of fairy-floss.

“To me, it looked like the cloud was pointing down to a certain spot in Newcastle,” she says.

“And, of course, my imagination got the better of me and I was thinking up all these different scenarios of what the cloud could be directing me to. I was hoping it was buried treasure.

“However logic reigned supreme and I quit daydreaming, or dusk-dreaming as it were, and reminded myself that it was just an accumulation of moisture in the sky.”

Feet still planted firmly on the ground.

Jones says when she scrolls back through her own feed the memories of an entire day can come flooding back from the simple, cloud-flecked shots.

The people, events and geography of the last year are now all linked to the towering columns of vapor she chased each afternoon. The clouds, she says, have helped her notice parts of Newcastle she would otherwise have missed.

New energy: Emily Jones against a cloudy Mayfield skyline.

New energy: Emily Jones against a cloudy Mayfield skyline.

“I specifically drove over to Stockton to take some photos from the bridge because I knew it was going to be a really awesome sunset,” she says, pointing to an image she took on April 5.

“I was on top of the bridge trying to get photos with my camera and my phone at the same time - while getting beeped at by cars.

“I struggled to hold my phone and camera still in the wind, it gets super windy up there on windy days if you didn't know.

“But the clouds were not just normal clouds, they were also smoke clouds. There had been a fire out toward Tomago-Raymond Terrace-Williamtown.

“When the sun set the light went through the smoke and made such beautiful colours. It was amazing to see.”

While Inskygram was meant to be a year’s work for the budding photographer and cloud-junkie, Jones says she’ll continue for as long as the thrill rains down.

Follow her on Instagram at @inskygram2017

I had a personal account, with photos of my dogs and whatever, but I kept overloading it with pictures of the sky. So I decided to spend a whole year just doing that.

Emily Jones