my beautiful, your beautiful: why i love instagram

Taken at Yangshou, Guangxi Province

Instagram: Instagood.

I’ve been thinking a lot about perception, and how much I’ve learned about the people in my life using Instagram. Instagram describes itself  “as a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends”: basically, a twitter feed for photographs. Here are a few reasons why i like the idea of ‘sharing your life’ on Instagram.

It really is a great way to visit your friends.

Take my friend, Mancuso. He lives in a super small town on British Columbia’s west coast, and we’re rarely in contact.  I talked to him twice in the last two years, once when he was randomly home on P.E.I. and wanted to get together, and once when he pocket dialed me and sounded just as surprised as I did that he’d called. I mean, let’s just say, long distance communiques are just not this man’s strong suit (nor mine, to be completely honest). Since he’s joined Instagram, i can now see the houses he’s building, the arizona grapefruits he captured on his vacation, and his sweet pooch. It makes me feel closer to him – somehow. Instagram is a bit voyeuristic like that. You’re where? You’re doing what?

Photography as Art

And many thanks to those people who are out there taking pictures constantly of beautiful things, like the grass after it rains, Paris in the springtime, or long, luscious spiral staircases, where the edges have been blurred and you feel like you’re melting into the photo. How wonderful is it to check out the gorgeous gardens someone has built over summer, the magical half eaten milk and Santa cookies of Christmas morning, or the interesting perspectives one can create simply by holding their iPhone under a bridge. This is your beautiful life going by.  Welcome to it.

Glorify the Daily. 

There’s no question. Our lives turn into drawn out cycles of days and nights, blurring together at the seams, and we rarely stop long enough to realize how blessed we to be alive, to see the true charm of a bowl of espresso, or to feel the heaviness of a cloudy day in our tummies. Instagram celebrates the little things in life: your best friend’s super cute baby eating squash for the first time, a bright blue door in a run down neighborhood, or a daffodil bursting forth from the cold, damp ground. (Oh! Oh! Imagine if there was an Instagram for smells?! …mmmmm….the first 30 seconds of chewing a piece of spearmint gum, a fresh pumpkin from the garden, the floral essence ylang ylang…Amazing!)

The only #FAIL of Instagram

Since our lives are becoming increasingly visual, we’ve seen the rise of the “inspirational post-it” note. I’m not sure how i feel about this. Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m definitely up for free enlightenment wherever i can get it, but there’s something about the “free advice” of my internet friends, some of whom i don’t know personally, that doesn’t ring true with me. I’ve always been a fan of paper, of markers, and of inspiration. Who isn’t? I’ve adorned whole walls in former apartments to collections of wise words. In years past, you have to find those ‘best quotes ever’. You had to look for them, wait for them. I acquired my favorites from years of pawning through old books and poetry and recopying them onto the backs of envelopes. They meant something to me. I guess to be fair, the overused inspirational quotes are not themselves a fault of Instagram, but possibly of the 27 million users that the social media icon has acquired.

Overall, Instagram, i think you are wonderful. Thank you for sharing the beauty in the world.

Readers – please share your thoughts on Instagram – have you used it? Do you like it? What are your highlights? Or is “the online sharing’ thing getting a little out of control?

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