Has Instagram Stopped Us from Living in The Moment?….. NO!

I’ve been taking photographs regularly since I discovered Flickr in 2007. Unfortunately by then it was too late for me to have gleaned enough knowledge from it to pick a decent wedding photographer (I was married in 2006 and the professional photos were not very good. Thankfully my Brother-in-Law had his camera and took a bunch of great album worthy photos, phew!)

My love affair with phone photography started with the app Hipstamatic (which I really need to start using again) and then when instagram appeared, I was all about “the ‘gram”.

In my time taking photos I have completed 3 separate 365 projects (2 documented on my Flickr and 1 solely on instagram) For those who don’t know what this is, it’s simply taking one photo a day for a whole year. It’s kind of hard, and sometimes you don’t know what to take a picture of or just forget. But it’s taught me to really consider what makes a photo ‘interesting’ and whether a picture really is interesting before I load it to the internet. It really helped me to look at things in a different way to enable me to take a decent photo 365 times over a year.

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But after the first 2 (I did those back to back, since the first one was rather boring) I decided to put my camera away for the most part. I didn’t keep it in my bag (mobile phones didn’t have decent – or sometimes any – camera back then) I felt like I was too swept up with taking a photo at every good opportunity that I was missing out on the actual experience.

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Since then, and with vast technological advances, we all have awesome cameras in our pockets. My iPhone camera has a higher pixel quality than my Canon dSLR. But there’s always the chance to get swept up in a photo moment rather than fully living the experience. I remember going to an exclusive Hosier gig. The tickets were REALLY hard to get and he was just about topping his game. Everyone was talking about him. Two women in front of me took a few photos at the start of the gig, and then about an hour later I saw one of them uploading them to her instagram (whilst the gig was happening) and then within 15 minutes she was back on instagram, not only checking her likes, but sharing the photos with her friend sitting next to her – of the gig she was at that was STILL HAPPENING. She was busy reminiscing about something that was still happening in front of her and that she was missing….. FACE PALM

It’s certainly a fine line between sharing an experience and completely missing it. Years back, just after Michael Jackson had died, I went to a local town to see a Thriller Flashmob (remember when flashmobs were a thing?) The actual flashmob might have been good, I don’t know because this is what happened:

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You can play ‘spot the MJ impersonator’ with this one. I was totally struck by the amount of hands, phones and cameras there were in my way (this was 2009 so it wasn’t hugely the norm). But then, remember mine was in the crowd too!

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My first fulltime job was in retail back in 2001 and me and the girls used to find it odd seeing holiday makers with their cameras in a shopping centre taking photos of themselves in front of stores….. little did we know it would be the norm just a few year later.

Anyway, this is all bringing me to why I’m here talking about this today. A few days back Sara Tasker shared a link on Twitter (which you can find here) This article is about a Vimeo video (that you can watch in the article) created by a fella named Oliver, showing how ‘everyone takes the same pictures on instagram’. In itself it’s a really enjoyable video to watch, and well put together, so I’d encourage you to see it. But this site decided to interview the creator and here’s what he said:

“During my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones,” he says. “As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.”

I was with him up until then. I feel like this guy has really missed the point of instagram. He’s actively searched on instagram for places, tags and similarities and then put them together in a video. You could make a video of old paintings of fruit and tell people about how everyone back then was so obsessed with sharing their fruit bowls that their apples went bad before they could eat them…..

What he saw when he watched the video (he’d carefully curated) “Everyone spends the whole time behind their screen, everyone spends their whole holiday trying to get the perfect shot, that shot has been done already, this is all for likes, oh look at you bragging about your pretty beach holiday”

What I saw when I watched his video: “These people are living their best lives, look how happy they are, what an awesome view, what a crazy experience, these people belong in this world, I wish I could visit this place one day”

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What Oliver has failed to remember is

  • instagram promotes creativity, and it’s awesome to be creative and share that with like-minded people
  • taking photos is FUN
  • Not everyone is sharing everything from their holidays. That shot you’re seeing is the work of potentially 1 minute of their life
  • So what if they do spend their whole holiday with their face in their phone – it’s THEIR holiday and THEIR face!
  • Everyone is chasing experience to fill their one chance at life – so what if they’re having and then sharing the same experience as someone else has. It’s their experience – there are A LOT of them to have.
  • Sharing on instagram provides a little ‘experience’ to everyone who sees that picture. And it’s amazing for those who can’t (or haven’t yet) visit these places. Isn’t that the point, really?
  • If you feel it’s a ‘brag’ or you don’t like it – don’t look at it. Instagram isn’t mandatory. And if you can’t come off it, because you’re enjoying sharing your own pictures, remember why you’re using it. Your feed is there for you; curate it. Someone might just be sitting there looking at your photos thinking ‘what a bloody bragger’. They’re not for you, just like you, Oliver, are not for them.

I’m definitely an advocate of not missing an experience. But I’m also very concerned about forgetting experiences I’ve had. I have a huge fear that my memory will go and it’s a very lonely feeling. I want to be able to relive past experiences, and reminisce. The world of online albums and having a camera ‘right there’ when I need it is wonderful to me. I understand you shouldn’t have your face in your screen all the way throughout your life. If I’m filming or photographing something, I’m very careful to not view it through a viewfinder. But so what if people do – it’s their life, and if it makes them happy then ‘whatever’. And who knows, they might have experienced that thing a hundred times before, so filming whilst you’re there shouldn’t anger you – you concentrate on you. They might just be taking pictures or filming something on behalf of someone who just couldn’t get there. Their sharing this experience could bring enormous joy to someone across the globe, or even just to them in years to come.

It boils down to – why do you care so much? Concentrate on yourself, Oliver, and don’t spend so much time on Vimeo making videos about other people’s life experiences….. say what? It’s what you enjoy…..? oh! well…. my point has been made.

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All images are my own, are copyrighted to me and cannot be used under any circumstance.

A New Home

Along with the lovely Spring-like weather has come an abundance of light, something which was severely lacking in my last house. I promised I would add some photos of the house a while back, so as I have some natural light coming through I thought now would be a good time. There’s still a huge amount to do to the house before I want to take full room shots, but I’ve taken some pictures of some of the pretty elements as they are.

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The previous owners left some things in the house when they moved and we’ve kept some of them. Apart from things like mirrors and a lovely large deep freeze they also left a couple of really pretty Tiffany-esque lamp shades. They are so pretty we kept them!

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Yes, I know there’s a hair on the one above. I don’t know how it got there…. It’s above the stairs and very high up so the dust can stay 🙂

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We’ve got a couple of these radiator covers around the house. This one is fixed in which is a little annoying because the heat struggles a little to get out but it’s really pretty so we don’t mind so much.

Then we get to the bathroom. We have the pleasure of being the brand new owners of a 1970’s avocado bathroom suite. We do have big plans for the bathroom, especially as the toilet is currently in a separate room and we want to knock it through, but until the point in which we can make these plans a reality, we have to make do with what we have. I decided a long long time ago, before we had even seen this house, that I wanted a nautical themed bathroom. So when I saw a little avocado striped beach hut in a gift shop it gave me inspiration for our bathroom. The side panel on the bath was already panelled with vertical strips running down it, so it was a no brainer. I bought a tester of some paint and gave it a crack.

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It’s not an amazingly neat job but it works for now. Makes my bathroom feel a little more like mine until I can do something else – like rip the whole lot out!

It’s going to be a big job to get all the rooms how we want but it’s going to be fun doing it and when we’re done we’ll have an amazing home!

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Happy 100th Post to Me!

This is my 100th post on my WordPress blog! That’s really quite something,  so yay for me!

And I thought that a blog about social networks might be fitting for this occasion. As some of you might know I’m an avid social networker. I remember when you needed an invite to join Facebook, I’ve been on Twitter for 6 years this month and anyone remember Google+?…. tee hee

I started my internet life on Virgin Net Global chat, where our usernames were called handles and profile photos were called avatars. When it was still only geeks who went online and any trendy person wouldn’t have a clue how to connect their computer to a modem. AOL was the biggest ISP in the world (which usually meant that it was overloaded and always chucking you off). I had an Acmecity website and later a MySpace (which they won’t let me delete!)

Only about 3 years ago I remember justifying to colleagues how it wasn’t creepy or dangerous to have a Facebook account. As long as you manage your stuff online well, you’re in no danger. There are a lot of crayzees about.

But if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have met so many wonderful people, some of whom I can call real friends and some I’ve actually met since in real life. Some of them (you!) I have known longer than my husband. It’s a blessing.

Social Networking does have its downs – bandwagon jumping, vicious rumours, insults to ‘faceless’ celebs. But generally it’s a wonderful way of connecting. I use instagram to show people fun stuff and a lot of the time what I ate (yes, I’m that person!) I use Pinterest to window shop and have a laugh. I’ve started using TimeHop, which isn’t really social but it links all my networks (FB, twitter, instagram, Flickr and my iPhone photo album) and brings me my news from previous years this week. It’s my own private news feed! And I of course blog.

My blog is my own little space where I can write thoughts and what’s been going on. I’ve got a few followers (Hi!) but it’s not all about that (though I wouldn’t mind a few more on Bloglovin’…. he he!) Mostly it’s like a diary. I have recently opened a FB page but haven’t advertised it amongst my personal FB because I don’t want all of my feed to see it, but I’ve sent invites to those who I think would like it. Of course I love getting follows and comments from you guys, but I also love reading back through what I’ve written over the years. This year I turn 30, which it exciting and a big deal. We’re hoping to buy a house by the end of the year too. I love the fact that I can share all this with the ‘out there’ and also have it all to keep as written memories to look back over in the future.

I also love love love to read other people’s blogs. Movies of Myself is written by Beckie. I ‘met’ Beckie years back via Flickr. I loved her food photos and her wicked style. She’s a really fun person and she’s recently got married. I can’t wait to see her post some of her wedding snaps. I found Orangette, written by Molly Wizenberg, after reading her amazing book A Homemade Life. Her writing style is beautiful and her recipes are stunning. She has just had a baby and her blog is dotted with gorgeous, but not soppy, family photos. Her new book is at the editing stage. I can’t wait to read it. Another blog I found via a book was The Bloggess. Jenny Lawson’s book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was laugh out loud funny and her blog is nothing less. Those are my all time favourite blogs. I dip in and out of others, and Bloglovin’ makes it so easy to follow and unfollow blogs at a tap of the screen.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Flickr I’m Groggits. And if you have a blog you want me to check out, then please comment and leave a link 🙂 Happy 100th Post to me!!

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The Shutterbug

As you may be able to tell from the title of my blog, I like to take photos. What you may not know is that I also sell them. In my time I have completed two 365 projects. That’s a project where you take a photo a day for a whole year. No, it’s not easy, but I learned enough doing my first one to want to do it for a second year and make it better. And I made a book from it!
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That’s me with my book (duh!) I was so proud of it! It cost, like £100 to make because it’s got one photo per page and it’s huge. But I’ll never do it again so it was worth it!

I also made a photo book which is a little more affordable and easier to hold! I called it Book 1 in the hope that I’ll make some more in the future. It’s looking more likely this year too!
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I’m so proud of it! And I’ve sold a few too 😀 I love the idea that people have seen my photos and appreciate them so much they’d want to part with some of their hard-earned cash to own it.

I’ve sold quite a few greetings cards and prints of photos via my Redbubble and Society 6 pages too. They’re amazing sites, who will host, print and post my photos in the buyer’s chosen format. (If you fancy a browse, then go and take a look. The sites are updated every so often with new photos.)

One day my dream is to make a living from doing this. I’d love to travel the country taking photos of far-flung landmarks and places people don’t often see. You so often see photographs of landmarks around the world but not very often the nooks of the UK. That’s something I’d love to change and share my photos with the world. Who knows? Maybe one day.
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(Here’s the shameful advertising: If you want to follow my Facebook page for updates of new photos then please do!)

Whatever floats your boat

I was very aware that when I began to put photographs online for the general public to see, I may get some unwanted attention. As a female, I also knew that this would usually generate from the sexual side of things. But I wasn’t prepared for the extent that this would come from.

Yes I know I sometimes put pictures up that are a little risque, but they’re always tasteful and artfully done. But it’s still surprising. It happens to most of the female self-portraiters on flickr. We ask that you don’t add us if all you do is ‘collect’ pictures for your spank box. We ask that you don’t write distasteful comments on our photos or add notes onto them that imply you wish to do things to us. We ask nicely that if your photostream only consists of you holding your ‘male member’ in front of your camera lens, you don’t add us, or at least make your photos inside the ‘not safe’ barrier so we don’t have to see them when we block you. But these people don’t really follow the rules do they?

I hate feet, and have taken a long time to come to terms with my own feet. But I like shoes, and will photograph them sometimes with my feet inside. So whenever I post a shot up like that I usually get the foot fetishists coming out. My last foot shot didn’t get that kind of attention, but I think that was mostly because I had a conversation with a fellow flickrite within my comments about how much I disliked them! They got the hint! One guy got offended when I deleted his provocative message, and made out I didn’t like complements. I do like complements, but there are some I only like to hear from my husband!

It does, unfortunatly, change the way I take my photographs sometimes, and sometimes I am hestitant as to whether I should upload some of my pictures, because I don’t want that kind of attention. But I don’t want to put them up for just my friends because I like to make them available for everyone to see. So I guess I have to just get what I have coming to me when I upload. All I ask is that people keep their ‘fancies’ to themselves, and I’d rather they didn’t include me in them.

Click click, flash, flash

So, you’ll probably have guessed I’m a photographer in my free time. I like to record my days and my various outings by taking snaps. I always have. Current social networking and technology makes this very easy. I twitpic, I facebook and I Flickr. It’s hopeless really.

I love digital photography. The ease of use and the immediacy of it all. I can take a photo, view it and re-adjust my shot to improve it. But it always seems less emotional than a film photograph. I love how you can tell when a photo’s been taken on film just by looking at it. There’s more depth and texture. The colours are different and the shots always look deeper.

So, my Dad’s always been a photo man. He’s got a Pentax somewhere which he has said he will give to me. I said of course I’d take it, but he has to agree to show me how to use it. And I’m excited, but also nervous. You can’t see what your photo’s going to look like until it’s developed! Let’s see what happens!