I definitely owe the development of my photography to Instagram!
From the moment I downloaded the little app, I just loved it! Oh the filters, the possibilities! The agony of having to choose just one filter when the picture popped in a couple of different ones. Tilt shift – the deliberate, not so subtle blur, to draw the eye in. And the little square… oh the nostalgia that it evoked (and I wasn’t even around in the days of Polaroids) So why the love affair with this visual, story telling app?
Emotion! Those filters portrayed feelings in my pictures that had been lacking. It gave me a glimpse into what I could achieve.
Of course the filters were not true to life and some may call that cheating. And maybe it’s a little sad that in order for my photos to pop they needed a fake enhancement. However, how often do you take a pic and the pixels just don’t portray what it is your eyes tell you you’re seeing? For me the pictures must capture the moment – not the hard truth (this isn’t CSI after all). And a moment can have many facets, a lot of which are due to a personal perception. If a filter enhances that, then stick it on there! Our minds naturally rose tint things, so why shouldn’t we?
But more than just adding some feelings to my pics, Instagram helped get my eye in – I could focus on composition while the app would tweak the colours and feelings associated with the picture. To capture a lazy morning, I knew the soft edges would would be taken care of and all I had to do was get as close as possible to my bleary-eyed cat tucked under the duvet (mind the claws!) And a sunny day would be as vibrant as ever, I’d just have try and find the perfect spot to capture all the elements. It also got me reading up on how to achieve some of these looks more naturally, such as depth of field and background blur (bokeh).
In addition, the app was a platform of showcasing what I was doing – albeit, along with numerous millions of others! But even still, people saw my pictures and would comment. That lead me to believe that maybe I had something there and helped me take the plunge purchasing a fancy DSLR, which has been a whole new and exciting learning curve.
I don’t use filters so much nowadays, and I’m quite happy that the little square can be adjusted to rectangular pictures too. I think I have found a more consistent look for when editing my pictures (which I now do in Lightroom). And this has ultimately lead to here and to these… As always, it’s a constant work in progress.