As you probably know, Instagram is an iPhone (and now Android) application which allows you to take photographs and apply filters, blurs, and crops to them on the spot. Once your photo has been uploaded, your followers can view it in their feed and comment or "like" it.
The concept may sound simple, but its effects are profound. I can honestly say that Instagram has changed my life and the way that I look at the world. This may sound dramatic, but it’s the truth. First, I feel I must delve into my personal history with photographic technology.
When I was young, I used to ask my stepfather questions about photography all the time. What does this setting do? How can I get this effect? However, at the time, I possessed a crappy, low-pixel digital point-and-shoot. As both technology and I grew older and wiser, I same to own a DSLR. This camera (I believe it was a Nikon D60) was the first “adult” purchase I had made: meaning the first large purchase I had made with my own money. I cherished my Nikon like it was my child, made of glass.
Because this piece of equipment was so important to me and because I knew it was extremely fragile, I rarely took it out. This all changed when I went on a semester abroad during my undergrad to the Netherlands. I brought my camera everywhere, effectively saying “screw it” to all of my previous paranoia. This plan proved promising as I posted several photographs on my imperative “I’m a student on exchange, look how amazing my life is in comparison to yours” blog. My friends and family ate it up.
And then there came Bruges. My friend Danielle and I decided to take a trip to Bruges, Belgium on a whim. We boarded several trains and found ourselves in one of the most adorable, romantic cities in the entire world. I mean, it’s so romantic that their city map includes hearts on it which mark scenic places to kiss. Anywho, we were broke and staying in a hostel and we decided to go out at night. I didn’t want to leave my expensive camera in the hostel with a bunch of other people I didn’t know in our room, so I stuffed it in my Longchamp bag (bad decision #1). We had bought two beers which we intended to drink in the hostel room before leaving to go out to bars (bad decision #2), but we realized we didn’t have a bottle opener. I kindly offered to store the beers in my bag until we ran into a stranger on the street with a bottle-opener (bad decision #3). We finished our bottle of wine before leaving the hostel (bad decision #4). Needless to say, I forgot about the two beer bottles in my bag and a night of frolicking and dancing until the wee hours of the morning ensued. After consuming large quantities of French fries, we turned to head back to our hostel. I looked down and noticed liquid dripping out of the corner of my bag. FML.
Anyways, I stopped trusting myself after that and decided to punish myself by not allowing myself to buy another camera body. I’d always loved film photography anyways… or at least the look of it. I never had the drive to follow the whole process of uploading digital photos from my DSLR camera to my computer and then post-processing them in Photoshop to get the effect I desired. This was a process that could take hours for an entire memory card of photographs.
Unfortunately, I came to realize that film processing wasn’t much less expensive in sum as just sucking it up and buying a new DSLR camera body. So, I sucked it up. I bought the camera body and now I am back to my original state of being too paranoid to take my digital camera out and about all the time. Plus, it’s humongous, especially inside of its case, and thus kind of a hassle. Consequently, I stopped photographing so much. I noticed a slight decline in my overall contentment in life.
One day, while bowling with my friend Laura, I was introduced to the world of Instagram. She whipped out her iPhone and showed me just how amazing this application is. Laura studied photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York, so I trusted her opinions on photography. I also personally adored her style of photography. I dicked around with it a little and then decided I not only wanted, but NEEDED an iPhone. Basically 95% of my decision to go ahead and purchase the iPhone was based around my obsession with Instagram.
Today, I have been the proud owner of an iPhone and a proud user of Instagram for approximately three months. Because I already constantly have my phone with me, I also constantly have a decently high megapixel camera with me.
Every day, I am continuously on the lookout for beauty around me. I’ve found even greater appreciation in the little things around me: the crack in the sidewalk, the streetlight reflecting off the raindrops on my bedroom window at night, the old run-down couch on my boyfriend’s porch. No subject is too small or too “insignificant” to find the beauty in and to capture that beauty in a photograph.