WARNING: UNUSUALLY HIGH PHOTO CONTENT
Although I've been writing a blog for almost ten years, I don't consider myself to be particularly au fait with social media (you may snort, but for me blogging has gone beyond 'social media'). I refuse - still - to be seduced by Twitter, I don't get LinkedIn, and although I have a Facebook page, I don't use Facebook to chat or organise my social life. So I ignored Instagram until Phoebe told me it was about time I had an account so that I could share some of my photos. That seemed like a reasonable justification - I do take a lot of photos - and in May she set it up for me, gave me a quick tutorial, and I've been having fun on Instagram ever since.
There are several reasons, I've discovered, why Instagram is so appealing. The basic app idea is extremely simple, it's very easy to use/share/comment/reply/delete, and it's fast, immediate and of the moment in more than one way. As far as I can see, and as long as you don't deliberately court confrontation and controversy, it's positive, friendly, and broad-minded. It's a wonderful way to see into other people's worlds, to look at what they think is interesting/funny/beautiful/unusual/worth a photo, and to learn from and be inspired by tiny images. It's intensely seasonal (there would be no point in putting up stored photos as Instagram is all about the here and now), very local, and very personal. Once you have found image-makers whose images you like, you can have a steady stream of clever, creative, mind- and world-expanding photos on your phone all day long.
Houses of Parliament
Living roof, Skye
Then there is the aspect of picture-sharing. No doubt there are psychologists already studying the impulses at play here, trying to understand what motivates so many people to take and share photos of their daily lives, but I tend to leave deep thought about Instagram alone and simply take photos of things I like, do, make, notice, and of places I visit. It's a form of micro-blogging - the comments are short but little conversations are possible - and Instagram is now where I put up many of the photos I take at home and in the garden, as well as the details of towns and cities that catch my eye.
choosing a quilt to take to university
Granary Square, King's Cross
St John the Baptist, Burford
Lili Vanilli's, off Columbia Road
Visiting dog on sheepskin bean bag
what it says
Grange Langham Court Hotel, Fitzrovia
Rye Lane, Peckham
Paul Klee Centre, Bern
Charley Harper quilt
London Centre for Book Arts
John Piper window, Sanderson Hotel
annual chocolate sorting
just-made lemon curd
Bishop's Palace Gardens, Chichester
I have no idea how long Instagram will last, or how long I will last on it. But while it does, it's a useful and highly entertaining daily discipline for, and exercise in, looking and seeing.
[All photos from my Instagram account, and all taken with an iPhone]