I was procrastinating on Instagram after work a while ago when I came upon particular Instastory shared by my girl crush Leandra Medine/Cohen and got rather excited. It turned out that she was writing a story about ‘why iPhone photos shit on professional shots on Instagram.’
This is a topic I have many an opinion on so as per her request (‘do you have any salient opinions? Send them to me in a DM if so! Send cookies by mail if not’) I sent her a message right away. I am still waiting for her to reply but deep down I know this conversation will be the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
However, in the much more likely event that she doesn’t reply and we don’t become lifelong friends, I decided to take matters into my own hands and write an article of my own.
I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. On one hand I love being able to share snippets of my life while simultaneously taking a vicarious glimpse into the lives of others. On the other hand I hate the way that followers have become currency: it seems that the more followers you have, the more perceived ‘value’ what you have to say has, regardless of its validity or quality.
With Instagram becoming big business the platform has been steadily losing its authenticity and spontaneity as staged, manicured images become the new normal. It seems we all have a newfound propensity to elevate the mundane to the divine. I tend to associate iPhone photos with spontaneity and professional shots with staged editorial images, which I’ll admit is a generalisation but we’ll go with it for the purposes of this discussion.
It seems we all have a newfound propensity to elevate the mundane to the divine.
There is of course a time and place for aspirational imagery but sometimes I need a break from being sold the ‘dream’. With influencers, those who have carved out a niche in the industry based on their authenticity and relatability, now creating imagery identical to leading publications and big brands, the proportion of content that reflects real life is decreasing. Sometimes I just want the reality: every day people in every day outfits living their everyday lives, not a staged, artificial version masquerading as ‘real life’ which is all Instagram seems to be giving me.
I’m doing my part by embracing the spontaneous mirror selfie. I used to hate selfies and was reluctant to even take them let alone post them but I also battled an overwhelming sense of douchery for constantly cajoling other people into taking photos of me. I eventually reached a happy compromise with myself and have embraced the mirror selfie as a means for documenting my outfits in what I hope is a more relatable, authentic way.
It turned out Leandra’s article went in quite a different direction than what I have been mulling over (I am still holding out for lifelong friendship) but regardless I would like to see a little more raw, relatable and spontaneous imagery that gives a truer insight into the ups and downs of everyday life. I have a sneaky suspicion it will also be better for our collective mental health.