22 May 2015

Finally Getting Down with Instagram

The inside of a chicken bus. On the way to I forget where.
"Technology has eliminated the basement darkroom and the whole notion of photography as an intense labor of love for obsessives and replaced them with a sense of immediacy and instant gratification."
~ Joe McNally

I've been meaning to jump on the Instagram bandwagon for years and simply didn't do it. I was one of those photogs that resisted Instagram in the beginning. I was bent on not getting hung up on every single new social media app that reared its ugly head. But over the years, I began to learn more about Instagram and see some of the benefits. However, meaning to jump on the bandwagon and actually doing it are two different things.

You can now follow me and see my activities at @photoanthems on Instagram. My friend @shmercier, got me to thinking about Instagram differently more than a year ago. I already had it on my mind to set up an account, but I didn't see it as anything more than a FB alternative/complement. She doesn't use Facebook at all and connects with all her friends via Instagram instead. Her reasoning intrigued me at a time when I was becoming more and more frustrated with FB. For no reason in particular, I still procrastinated on the issue until I met another young Canadian girl, @jessicaaeburke, in El Salvador, who got me refocused again and thereby causing me to make Instagram a priority. It still took me another two weeks, but I'm now active on Instagram.

Various spots in Central America Copyright 2015 Terrell Neasley


Along with FB, I've had to become accustomed to the immediacy of photos. Gone is the patient wait for my return back stateside to edit photos. No longer is there the time to formulate my images into a viable presentation to that may heighten one's appreciation for my art. Nope. Demand is for now...quick, fast, and in a hurry. People want to see what you're up to, what it looks like where you are, and to vicariously join you in your adventure...as it happens. Or at the latest, within hours of the event.

The desire to fill said demand, makes one compromise to some extent. Without adequate editing tools, its necessary to post images on this blog and social media in a much larger format than I would otherwise normally do. I also fail to watermark the images, as my normal workflow would insist. I work around this by choosing images that satisfy the demand without sufficient compromise as to make me lose sleep. I'll choose images that may not be the best ones that I know I'll save for editing later. They still satisfy two needs of my followers. They see good images, (while I save my best ones for later) and they still get a sense of where I am, what I'm doing, and how things are going. So...basically, I just have to manage the trade-off.

Various spots in Central America Copyright 2015 Terrell Neasley


What my hope is, however, is that photographers in general do not become so dependent on social media that they mismanage that trade-off. A couple of things can happen as of a result of this. One is that the art suffers. Less work is done in camera and the art side of photo is traded for Instagram filters. When this happens, less attention is given to craftsmanship. Photogs no longer worry about knowing their equipment or understanding light. Less attention is given to presentation, the print, or the art. In addition, photogs may have a tendency to give away their best work. In their exuberance to post quickly, filters become the new edit, and their best stuff gets published for free. Instead of hanging on a wall, the farthest potential a great shot might achieve is a 72dpi square screen-size image on a profile wall.

Various spots in Central America Copyright 2015 Terrell Neasley


Most of the great photogs you probably already know of don't fall into this trap or tendency. They know better. However the aspiring, up and coming, new blood into the trade are more susceptible to such falloff. But you know who you are. And you know your tendencies. Ask yourself what's more important. Likes and Followers or good business and a commitment to the trade?

Now you'll excuse me while I search through my current travel archives to find some images for this post. Oh yeah...we're presently in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

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