If you have been following me for some time now, particularly since April the 9th last year, you will know that I quit Facebook for Google+ indefinitely, and that I have also advocated for Twitter over Facebook. So when Facebook bought Instagram’s hard-earned community for a meager $1 billion, I quit Instagram as well.
But you had quit!
Yes, I had quit. I said that already, but if it is elaboration you are looking for, it is quite simple: I had certain re-defined aims in mind (see next sub-heading). And the solutions to problems that had cropped up were either easy or impossible.
The easy solutions include things like cat photographs (unfollow), overuse of filters (unfollow), plain terrible composition (unfollow) and generally unfollow. But there are some really talented photographers on Instagram as well, and I have decided to follow only those (read no courtesy follows).
Re-defining my outlook on photography
For a long time I had a very specific outlook on photography. While I have not deviated from it, I have recently come to re-define it, shifting the emphasis from certain elements to certain others. (The exactness of this statement ought to be the subject of another article.)
So why would somebody (like me) who believes in hardly any positive ideas about Facebook and the way it treats its users, and somebody who hates ads during product usage, like any sane human, go back to Instagram, and that too after its infamous new Terms of Service?
As I said, the details of this re-definition will come in due time, but for now it is important to understand that I have decided to define myself as an eternal learner, a beginner and amateur just so I know and continue to feel like there is a lot of room for improvement — which is not half as fictitious as I make it sound, of course.
Existing social/photography networks
I do do a lot of things outside my hobby of photography, studying physics and playing my violin being two of them, but my casual online social interaction is largely my hobby.
Like most photographers worth their salt, I have a large and decent network of artists I connect to here. And these artists are here mostly for my art. Injecting their stream with filtered, framed, square-cropped photographs betrays the expectations on which they have circled/followed/subscribed to me and will, in all possibility, end with me being un-circled/un-followed/unsubscribed to.
My point here is simple: with the limited control my phone gives me even over minor post-processing (yes, even Snapseed) and the force with which every service thrusts filters at me to apply, the photographs I would share from my phone will simply not represent my artistic intent fully.
Indeed, shooting, processing and uploading on my phone is a lot easier, but in this day and age, those photographs will hardly match the ones I shoot on my dSLR because of the lack of complete control during and after shooting.
A pure black and white experiment
So this why I took to Instagram; why I decided to tolerate their ads and the possibility that Facebook may get some (albeit a very limited amount) of data from my part and the possibility, however remote, that they will simply take my photographs, advertise and make money from it without being courteous enough to let me know.
Instagram has a community, should I ever feel the need for one; and it has simple restrictions that appeal to my experiment: single crop (not multitudes of them like PicsArt), the possibility of no filters, and some really interesting work if you take the time to look around for it.
In other words, I can share photographs which are merely experiments and which let me shoot, without procrastinating, at any time, even if I do not have my dSLR handy, so I can shoot with a simple aim in mind: to improve my approach to making a photograph with a dSLR by shooting more often in general, and concentrating, not on apertures, shutters, ISOs etc., but instead on my trinity of painting aesthetics which I defined for myself years ago when painting was (as it still is) my hobby: composition, lighting and geometry.
To this end, I have decided to shoot only black and white, of course without lousy frames, and shoot as often as I can while still keeping things varied and interesting.
Follow me on Instagram if you are there too. Let us make photographs easier and more fun. But if you are interested in my more mainstream work, follow me on Flickr or circle me on Google+. And while you are at it, why not tweet with me as well?
So what are your thoughts: is Instagram still worth spending time on? Are there better alternatives?
Was there a better solution to my problem?