I resisted an iPhone for a long time. I didn’t need a smart phone. I spent enough time as it was on the computer. Why would I need to be tethered to the internet any more than I already was? But it was time for an upgrade on my phone and the flip phone I’d been using for years was quickly becoming an inefficient dinosaur.
And so I did it. I bought an iPhone.
And then I downloaded an App called Instagram.
I was completely hooked.
My training many years ago as a photographer was in a fairly classical setting. We shot in black and white, we didn’t crop, we seldom used filters. Our experimental endeavors were limited mainly to summer workshops where exploring the edges was encouraged but most of us stayed fairly true to fine art B&W processes the rest of the year. I always shot in a 35 mm format. Film was rolled onto sprockets in a jet black room, by feel, and it was developed in a very scientific way with chemicals and timers and the careful rotating of the film canister. The smell of those chemicals, the feel and the glow of cold stainless steel, and the sound of water as it washed over printed photographs is ingrained deeply in my college memories. It was all very exact.
Thirty years later Instagram unleashed my inner child. Who would have ever guessed that my iPhone would provide my first square format camera? And the possibilities! My phone was almost always with me and easily accessible. The Instagram App, in addition to Camera+, provided filters and borders to add to my image. I was taking the pictures with a phone, not a “real” camera; my mind quickly rationalized cropping and filtering and I did it with abandon.
Last Flag Day I posted my first Instagram on Facebook and decided that I would post a picture every day. Somehow, in the business of living life I felt I had stopped “seeing” my everyday world and wanted to rediscover the places I walked through every day.
It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve posted every day except for one week when I was out of the country. On some days I posted more than once. Those days are easy. On others I’ve been known to walk around my house in the eleventh hour, looking for something to record. What I’m most surprised about is that many of my favorite shots have been taken within a few blocks of my home, on what we call “the green,” while I’m out walking the dogs.
In all, I’ve posted 391 photos. (Blogger’s update: As of January 2018, I’ve posted 2550 Instagrams!) These are some of my favorites. Not all of them would stand up as prints. Sometimes part of their allure is the way they are seen on a computer screen, backlit and glowing. All of them make me smile.
Who would have known the iPhone would make such an impact on my life? I’ve started “seeing” again and I like to think I’ve also changed the way a few others see the world they live in.