Photographer sharing faces and stories of KC, one Instagram post at a time

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A picture can say a thousand words; that's what one Instagram user from the metro is counting on, as she uses social media to introduce the world to "People of Cowtown."

Margaret Norcross’ conversations always begin the same way, walking up to complete strangers on the streets of Kansas City, asking, "Mind if I take your picture?"

Norcross loves snapping photos. She loves Kansas City just as much.

Most afternoons, she hits the streets, popping pictures for a six-week old Instagram project called People of Cowtown. It's akin to the popular Humans of New York social media pages, which display men and women from the Big Apple.

People who say 'yes' share their stories  and likenesses, and Norcross shares them with the world. She says she's trying to defeat the podunk image bigger towns have of Kansas City – hence the old “Cowtown” nickname for Kansas City.

“I think the Midwest people are more friendlier and happier, more outgoing and willing to let you approach them and talk to them,” Norcross said. “Everyone has a story tell. Some of them get so excited once their photos are posted.”

Norcross caught up to Paul Fraas, who is in the process of moving to the metro from South Florida.

“A lot of people think the Midwest is just farms and pastures,” Fraas said. “There's so many dynamic metropolises here. They're hidden gems. I see this as a more laid-back Austin.”

Kansas City's Convention and Visitor's Association backs Norcross' notions. Carolyn Anderson is the CVA's social media manager, and says she's been known to include Instagram photos in her campaigns.

“People come here and they say, 'I had no idea people were so friendly and accommodating.' She's taking that a step further and asking for their stories,” Anderson said.

Norcross says her photos of Kansas City's people have been seen all over the world, and what was once a hobby has turned into a pleasure, showing the world what wonderful people live in “Cowtown.”

Here are links to People of Cowtown on Instagram and Facebook.



Norcross is part of a larger contingent on Instagram called Global Family, where participants take on daily topics and seek out photos related to an assigned theme. Kansas City Instagram enthusiasts (twitter: gather monthly at Instameet, including their next get together on May 16.