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.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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I didn’t really want to follow my last post with another post about moving house, but let’s be real – when you move house it pretty much takes over your life. It IS your life.

We’re in, we’re feeling settled and we’re almost unpacked. Which is amazing, and more than I could have hoped.

The actual moving weekend was mega stressful and I’m not going to lie – I never want to move again. Which is what I said the last time, but something tells me this house is more of a keeper.

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Over on instagram I’ve been sharing elements of the house. Once it’s more finished I’ll share some more but until now, head over there to see tidbits going forward.

But the house is amazing, I’m very much revelling in the fact that I have a dishwasher once more. And even though by square foot this house is smaller than the last, it feels so much bigger. The space is useable and well-planned out. The kitchen is the star of the house and since it’s such a social space, I’m really looking forward to having people over once we’ve got our dining table in. I’m in love!

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Other than moving I’ve been doing a lot of catching up on tv I missed when we were packed up, which is great because I’m having to force myself to STOP UNPACKING every waking second. So we’ve watched all of Twin Peaks (omg) and have started re-watching The Wire again. I think I might dedicate a whole post to Twin Peaks – not that there’s really a huge amount of coherent writing to be had on that subject, but we’ll see. Great British Bake Off is back, as is Dr Foster and American Horror Story (though I’m not too keen on the first episode I saw of this…. I’m not a fan of clowns.)

So my posts will start to feel a little more normal going forward. I’ve got some exciting stuff coming up and some exciting projects I’m working on, so keep your eyes peeled for those. If you’re a fan of Halloween and scary movies I have some posts, I’m really looking forward to writing, in the pipeline and of course there’s my trip to Orlando to look forward to!

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If you don’t already follow me on other social platforms, you can find me on twitter as @Shutterbug_Blog on instagram as groggits and on YouTube at the Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug channel. So follow me over there too, for stuff as and when it happens!

Until next time 🙂

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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You guys, we did it! We survived the first week back after the Christmas holidays.

Christmas seems like so long ago now. The trees and decorations are down. There are tell-tale fir-needle patches outside driveways up and down my street where the bin men have taken away old trees. Lights are being removed from houses this weekend, and all of a sudden there seems to be a lot more space in my living room.

I always miss the tree and lights in my sitting room, and as such we have two sets of fairy lights which stay up all year around. One on my mantle and one around a mirror in our hall. It’s lovely to light these on a long summer evening and it looks like fire-flies in the balmy warmth (I wish things were a little warmer right now). That being said, I usually make myself feel bad by flicking to the weather forecast in Orlando, however this weekend the weather has gotten down to 3 centigrade there so maybe I don’t feel so bad right now.

This week we’ve had -4 degree weather at points. In fact the day it got to -4 it was -2 when I woke up, -3 when I left the house and had reached -4 by the time I’d arrived at work.

Even though it was a 4 day week it managed to feel 7 days long, and my sleeping pattern has suffered due to the 10 day break. I’ve been tired all day, and felt that for sure I’d be dribbling on the sofa and ready for bed by 9:30pm – but alas I was feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as soon as I got into bed. I have also been waking up around 5am and needing to pee desperately and so getting back to sleep has been a massive pain in the bum. I usually fall into a gorgeously deep sleep about 10 minutes before my alarm and then feel rotten when I need to get up – thereby starting the cycle again. Awesome!

Anyhow, despite this, work was good and I even managed to get some more blog posts written. I’ve really enjoyed blogging this past year. I’ve written a separate blog all about my past year in blogging, which you should keep an eye out for if you’re interested.

I also decided I didn’t spoil myself enough in the sales and so spent an obscene amount of money on makeup this week. More on that when it all arrives….. I also treated myself to some hair products from Grow Gorgeous and a new blog planner, which I’ve already started using and can see it being really useful. But again, more on that in that blogging post coming in the next few days!

The last couple of things I picked up were books, which had been priced crazy low on amazon. I bought a cook book for £4 which I’m glad I only spent £4 on because on getting it home and flicking through it I don’t see anything I’d like to make, so far. Poopies. I also bought the Adnan Syed book ‘Adnan’s Story’ which was on my Christmas list but no one bought for me. It was only £5 and I didn’t want the price to go up so I hit ‘add to basket’!

This weekend, other than shopping irresponsibly, I have watched another couple of Netflix documentaries. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is about Aileen Wuornos the female serial killer who murdered 7 men in the late 80’s and was given multiple life sentences. I’d seen the film Monster about her year’s back and it was very interesting so thought I’d give the documentary a try.

We also watched Audrie and Daisy about young girls in America who had been sexually assaulted by their peers and the aftermath. This was an incredibly powerful and also frustrating watch. I highly recommend it. I actually found myself crying at the end over both the strength of the girls and also out of frustration of the world and the people in it. Please watch it if you get the chance.

Something I’ve been promising for a while is my Walt Disney World video – I’ve been putting it off for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a massive job – I’ve got quite a lot of footage, not a lot of face to camera stuff so I need to work out how I’m going to link it all. But probably the most important reason I’ve been putting it off is that once it’s done, it kind of puts a close to our Florida holiday. And I’m not ready for that yet. So it will happen, and hopefully soon, but it’ll happen when I’m ready. I really can’t wait to watch the footage again if I’m honest, but it’ll be bittersweet!

So that was my week. I’ve been fighting off the urge to hibernate and come out for Spring, but as it happens I’ve been managing to peel myself from my cosy bed and go out into the freezing cold world. Speaking of freezing cold – I’ve been really enjoying watching the Instagram stories of the people I follow. So many people have had snow all over the world and watching their videos of snow falling, wintry walks and calm white vistas has been magical. It’s for that reason I’m so pleased that social media outlets exist like that.

What have you been up to this week?

Awesome Things That Happened to Me in 2016!

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2016 has been an amazing year. It started out with a trip to New York, and deciding to complete another 365 challenge, this time on Instagram.

I’ve really enjoyed posting a photo a day, and only had to miss two days when I got sick in October, which I’ve made up for.

January kicked off with me getting into makeup and starting to blog more. My blog has been through many phases alongside the phases I go through in my life, and I must say that beauty blogging has opened many more doors than any other subject I’ve written about. I’ve met so many people and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.

February continued in this fashion with the start of my beauty favourites blogs, and I also saw the amazing film It Follows for the first time.

March began with seeing my Book Club girls, well half of them, for the first time in ages, and discovering Pretty Little Liars. I took a trip to London for my niece’s birthday

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and I spent a week off work turning my spare bedroom into a wonderful walk in wardrobe!

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In April, my Mum wrote a guest blog which people really loved, and I started my dedicated blog twitter account. I also discovered some fabulous podcasts and House of Cards became my new favourite tv show.

May teased us with 18c weather followed by horrid winter again. I visited London a few times, went for my only run of the year

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and Ariana Grande released Dangerous Woman! I also became obsessed with all things coconut scented.

June was a big month – Sarah’s London Hen Party was amazing, followed by her wedding in Cornwall.

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We spent a whole week in Cornwall and had an amazing time.

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I saw some great films, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Gallows and this blog turned 7!

In July we said goodbye to Tash the only way we knew – over food! We had fabulous brunch in Dalston followed by cocktails at the John Lewis rooftop bar.

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I went to EDC, which was wildly out of my comfort zone but really fun

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attended a family wedding, Secret Cinema Dirty Dancing

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and watched Stranger Things.

August was filled with movies, including Finding Dory and Suicide Squad for my birthday. I bought my new Sony a5000 and we went to see Romeo and Juliet at Waddesdon Manor as part of the Luna Cinema festival.

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We also saw the Hot 8 Brass Band at a local venue and danced the night away.

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In September, though I didn’t blog a huge amount, I announced my brand new YouTube Channel! I also got very excited for Florida, celebrated by 10 year wedding anniversary and spent the weekend at The Savoy in London!

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October was the month of Disney World. We took the trip of a lifetime and had a blast.

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On my return I got the sickest I’ve ever been, and thankfully recovered within a week. We went to see the Harry Potter play

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went to a Bad Company gig and celebrated my mum and dad’s ruby wedding anniversary.

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November was the return of the Gilmore Girls and I also attended Jurassic Park Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From the end of November to present it’s been all about Christmas and New Year. I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and vlogged.

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It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. There’s a lot of change in the air, and I’m really excited about it all. Who knows what I’ll be writing in a year’s time? Here’s to another great one 😀

We’re Disney-bound!

So, if you hadn’t realised…. I’m off on holiday for two and a bit weeks. So if it’s a little quiet over here, it’s because:

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Whoop! And I wanted to let you know where you can keep up with my holiday online, whilst I won’t be blogging or uploading to YouTube until we’re back.

You can find me on instagram at @groggits , where I’ll be uploading a minimum of my 365 project photo a day, but more likely much more than that.

Snapchat as @groggits :  I use this occasionally but more likely that not I’ll be using Instagram stories instead. But feel free to add me on there anyhow!

Periscope as @groggits (are you seeing a theme here?) – Depending on how good the wifi is in the parks I hope to broadcast live, so make sure you follow me and request notifications for when I go live!

You can find me on Twitter in two places: @groggits is my personal twitter and @Shutterbug_Blog for blog and blogging related tweets. Instagram photos get pushed to my personal twitter, so you’ll be able to see when photos go up from there.

Please feel free to add me on any, some or all of these accounts and keep track of us whilst we take what will no doubt be the best holiday of our lives so far! I’d love to have you along for the trip 🙂

See you when we get back!

 

I Love Lena

I’ve made no secret of how much I love Lena Dunham, but now I love her a little teeny bit more. Yesterday, whilst at work taking a break, I scrolled through my instagram and saw this photo:

I’m sad to say my first thought was ‘woah, why did she post that up?’. Quickly followed by ‘why shouldn’t she post that up?’ and then ‘I wish I had half the body confidence Lena has.’

This girl has so much body confidence. And it’s mainly because she’s so comfortable in her body that it doesn’t occur to her to be unconfident. The internet has exploded with comments on this photo and articles about her posting it up. I haven’t read any of it, mainly because I think some of it will make me angry.

A woman posted a photo of herself in a bra and pants – hold the front page! People are only talking about it because she’s not a classic size or shape. If it was a photo of a Victoria’s Secret model we’d just scroll past. It’s sad that this kind of amazing self-confidence is so unusual. It’s wonderful that she’s, once again, breaking the mould.

I know I’m just adding to the discussion by posting this, but I don’t care. People should see this photo of Lena looking gorgeous, and confident, and sexy and every inch Lena.

#100happydays Update 1

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I’ve started the #100happydays project. It’s a social experiment that practically dares you to finish it by telling you that 71% of people who started it gave up before the end due to time constraints, and then points out ‘who doesn’t have the time to be happy?’

Well I like a challenge and after completing Project 365 twice surely I can manage this project…. right? Well I’m on day 4 today and I thought I’d share my pictures so far.

Day 1: I started the project one evening so a cosy home based selfie seemed appropriate – with the help of a couple of buddies of course.

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Day 2 was taken at work. I have a lot of fun there, which is important when we’ve been so busy. It’s nice to stop for 5 and be an idiot 😀

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Day 3: Dinner with friends. I went out with a group of friends for a Nandos and chats after a hard arms session at the gym. We had a great time!

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Day 4: Today I went running with a couple of friends. We’re running the Race For Life together and are trying to get together a few times before hand to train together. I found that I can now chat and run a decent pace which means I’m getting fitter. Yay for me!

Tomorrow is the London Marathon and Gary and I are going down to cheer on the masses, so my photo should be exciting. Good luck to all of you running and keep an eye out for me along embankment (around the 24 mile marker) because I’m going to be packing jelly babies!

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Midweek Madness

I haven’t done a midweek catch up in a while and I’m having a proper rest evening tonight so I thought I’d take the opportunity.

Last night I ran 7.55 miles – 3 times around a local lake. What amazed me the whole way through was how un-tired I felt. I was never out of breath and felt like I could have held a conversation the whole way around. Since I’m still breaking my shoes in, I still struggled with my hip being in pain and that was the only reason I didn’t make up the additional .5 mile to make it to 8. The shoes are definitely helping though, and my dodgy foot felt a heck of a lot more supported. Good job Sweatshop and Asics!

Due to the hip pain I’m not running or doing gym work at all tonight but I have another long run planned for tomorrow. I’m aware I’m behind on my plan for the half marathon training but I’m trying to not let that get to me. I put a HUGE amount of pressure on myself to get to a certain standard by a certain time and get very very disheartened if I muck that up. I only have myself to blame. But after yesterday’s run, so long as my hip behaves, I know I won’t have a problem going to distance and at a decent time. I’ve bought some tiger balm and I have ibuprofen tablets and gel so if my hip’s still a problem on the day I can dose up.

My main issue at the moment is I will, as usual, most probably get my period on race day – and the Shot Blocks which are pure sugar cause a massive dose of cramping. So I need to weigh it up and work out what’s more important and less uncomfortable!

Today I started the #100happydays project, mainly on instagram but I’m posting it to twitter and Facebook too. It’s part of a social experiment from what I can gather and it says that 71% of people give up before the end saying they can’t find the time. Well, who knows if I’ll manage it but I’m willing to give it a darn good crack!

Day 1 of 100 Happy Days
Day 1 of 100 Happy Days

It’s only half way through the week but I feel like it’s almost done. I’m so excited for the weekend since it’s packed full of good stuff. Friday night I’m out for dinner with friends, Saturday I have a Race For Life training run and Sunday is the London Marathon. The weather’s looking good for Sunday – pretty much perfect running weather. Gary and I are planning to take a packed lunch (as well as Jelly Babies for the runners) and set up camp to cheer people along. It’s going to be so exciting!

Only two days of work until it all kicks off…. I can’t wait!

Does anyone have any tips to help prevent, treat or recover from hip pain when running? All are greatly appreciated!

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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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You Want to Sell a photo of my Lunch?

By now anyone who is even very slightly interested in photography has heard about instagram’s changes in their terms and conditions. Elegedly (because I have only skim read them) they are saying that from the 16th January they will be able to sell our photos without asking and make money from them. These are the first major changes made since instagram was bought out by Facebook. If this is true I will definitely be deleting my account and downloading my photos to be kept for my use only. I sincerely hope that they will either clarify or alter their terms so that they don’t get the mass exodus which is on the brink.

However, I was considering my alternatives and where to put my photos up if I do close my account. I use Flickr but don’t want to start posting iphone shots on there because I like to keep that account for my ‘proper’ photography work. Then a thought occurred to me and it felt refreshing. Don’t put your photos anywhere. Print them, share the ones that move you. Frame them. Give them away. Sell them! Make another book.

Since I really got into photography I have always posted my shots online and awaited criticism and praise as a way of accepting whether the shot is any good. Ironically it was always the ones that I loved the most that got the least attention. I found myself following Flickr trends to get more views and comments in the hope that another shot would make Explore. The changes made to the algorithm which chooses Explore photos meant that all of a sudden none of my photographs were chosen and I found it hard to find my stride again – to take photos which were for me.

I lost my photography mojo a couple of years ago. I don’t even carry a camera in my bag anymore mainly because I have my phone everywhere I go. Anything I shoot just goes onto instagram. I wanted to make a second book to sell but I haven’t taken anywhere near a enough photos to make one. It makes me sad.

So maybe the instagram changes are forcing my hand to make a change for the better. Take your camera around, Erin. Don’t feel you have to share EVERY photo. Print them out and admire them. Go back to basics and feel the inspiration. I’m certainly going to try!