One summer while I was traveling, I made a conscious effort to visit “landmarks” throughout the States. Famous sights, like Cadillac Ranch in Texas, Big sur in California, the geysers in Yellowstone National Park. All places I had only seen through a screen or read about in books. It was entrancing, to finally see them in front of me. But I was always equally entranced by the number of people around me snapping away with their camera phones. All of these people I had never met before, connected by the desire to pause that moment, and photograph that same spot. It’s impossible to imagine how many people have snapped and uploaded their phone photos into cyberspace, and how it will continue to grow exponentially. When I find myself in these situations where I am one amongst many holding up my camera, I marvel in the beauty that all of us are sharing the same moment, and the fact that we will share it again, instantly.
There is much debate over the shift from using a camera proper to using a mobile phone. Of course, there are downsides to this style of photography from print size limitations to picture quality, it is not comparable to using a traditional camera. But it isn’t meant to be and ultimately those flaws reinforce why it is a disposable medium that its not meant as a format to rely wholeheartedly on.
As a photographer I have found that I invariably use my phone camera to record my day- to-day observations and diary style photos, small things that I want to disperse immediately onto the internet. I use Instagram as an alternative to a standard Facebook “status update” replacing a written update with a visual one embracing its throwaway nature .
Similar to the notion of the gratification instant lm brings, taking photos with your phone can provide the same gratification on a more expansive level. It could lead you to take more photos and raise your sense of awareness of the things around you. With your phone you can take a chance, and often result in a photograph that would have otherwise been overlooked.
I was drawn to discussing Instagram in this issue, because it seems like such a prevalent part of today’s photography/technological world. It is an amazing idea, that we can share personal moments instantly however trivial, banal or fantastic. I think through this humans world- wide can connect on a different level than we had before. We can relate to one another, and together marvel in the beauty of the world and our lives. Whether the photos are lighthearted or serious, I think altogether they reinforce that “we are all in this together”.
Aside from social networking, there is a dedicated instagram community, I have been fortunate to befriend such talented and wonderful individuals from all over. Some who I have connected with in person, and others who I plan to in our futures! It’s hard to say whether Instagram will be just as poignant over time as it is now, technology and the Internet is such a fluid thing – always moving and progressing.
Here is a selection of photographs by some of my favourite Instagrammers from all over the world, all taken with their phone. Despite the various locations they unite with the fact that that one person took a moment out of their day to share with the world. A little extension of themselves, left floating in cyberspace forever.