Instagram is a weird place

Instagram Test photo

(My first Instagram photo)

What do you think about when someone mentions Instagram?  Social network, communication, expression, art, photography, lifestyle, travel, narcissism, copycats, selfies, distortion, persona, presentation, celebrity, influence, marketing, commerce, some combination of these things? 

At first Instagram was a special place where only the people with iPhones could post heavily filtered photos.  After a few year android phone users got to join the party.  A party that involved selfies, travel photos, and food pix.  It didn't take long for people to find things to hate about it.  Instagram was the height of self involvement and the performance of living your best life.  It was the place to go to know about everything you were missing out on. 

I love amateurism.  Not the fake amateurism of the NCAA, but the amateurism that comes from the root of the word amator ‘lover’.  I love when people make art not expecting to make money, but for their own satisfaction and personal enjoyment.  This means I love people taking out their phone and trying to take an artist photo of anything and posting it on Instagram.  I don't care if everyone else has already taken the same photos.   

I feel weird about making fun of Instagram accounts because I feel weird about making fun of people's artistic endeavors.  This is also why I don't like making fun of fan art or fan fiction.  I don't like people looking down at amateurs artists.  

I know what people dislike about Instagram.  It is about a group of other things that are not art.  It is about showing people what kind of life you would like to show to them.  It is about selling people lifestyle and users selling their lifestyle to you.  It is about presenting a curated, 2d version of someone's life.  

I have two Instagram accounts one for my life and another for a hobby.  I do not feel that either is high art, but I feel they are something.  I don't follow famous people or brands on my Instagram feeds.  On my personal account I only follow people I know in real life.  On my roller coaster account I only follow other amusement park accounts. Maybe I would feel differently if I tried to follow famous people.    

I want people to try to be artistic and not be made fun of for it.  Making bad art is better than making no art.  I'm not sure how many people agree with me. 

Further Reading: Instagram Museum Re-opening

 White Woman's Instagram 

Moving the I Am Amsterdam sign

Timeline of Instagram


Popular Posts