I have a lot of people talk to me about Instagram. I know I've talked about it here before, but with our class running again, the chatter seems to be increasing so I thought I'd touch on it again. My friend Jackie talks about it as her "tribe," and that's a bit how I feel about it too. These are my people here. I don't have gazillions of followers and I don't get scores of likes on every photo, but, gratifying though that may be, it's never really about that for me.
One of the things we teach in our Ditch Your Gear class is that the best part of using your phone for a camera is how freeing it is. As photographers we're all taught about manual settings and the exposure triangle and how to stop down your aperture to change the look of your photo. With your phone, all the settings are taken care of for you so you're freed to think solely about creativity and composition. (Kim, my co-teacher and I, tend to put our fingers in our ears when it comes to the technical stuff any way!)
On Instagram you can find any number of communities and challenges and prompts, and I tend to jump in and out of these at will. I'm a sometime rule-follower. If the prompt appeals to me, I'll try to make it happen. And when I say "appeals," I mean just that. It can be hard and challenging and still appeal. I tend not to get interested in prompts like "annoyed" (totally went off the rails there and posted peonies...WTH?) or "friendship." I find it hard to shoot what feel like cliches. And really, I don't feel like I'm clever enough to make a prompt like that truly eye-catching. But prompts like "stars," or "one flower" or even "negative space?" Well, I'm all over that. I suppose if I were trying to get noticed or increase my reach, I'd jump endlessly into these forums and be religious about posting pictures inspired by every prompt I see, but the truth is, that's not what Instagram is about for me. As with anything that happens with my creative and online life (at least where they intersect), it's about inspiration and connection. I love seeing beautiful photographs in my feed, as much as I love seeing your puppy sitting in a ray of sunshine. I guess I hope, at least occasionally, I'm putting a pretty photo in yours.
So how did our weekend play out across Instagram? A food styling prompt fell into my lap as literally as spilled (butter) milk, a baseball game with a great catch needed to be recorded, and a beautiful marquee against a steely sky caught my eye. I made some pretzels too (wink).
My experience with this medium has certainly changed. Undergramming, overgramming, snapping endless cups of coffee, camera phone only, or DSLR, all the debates about Instagram will, I'm sure, continue. And yet, still. It's the tribe for me.
So gang, I think I'm going to take the week off this week. We have some things that need tending to around here, and I want to give them my full attention. I like giving my blog my full attention too, and this is one of those times when I can't do both. Thanks for your patience with me. XO