photography & instagram

7 signs of Instarationalisation


instarationalisation | humphrey and grace

INSTARATIONALISATION : the things we do for the ‘gram (e.g. I need a twig and a fluffy blanket with my cup of tea…)

Instarationalisation, it’s a ‘thing’ I’m sure (ok so it’s only instagram + rationalisation combined but it’s definitely a ‘thing’)… Let me explain. Earlier this month we were buying weekend treats from a bakery, you know the sort, bakewell tarts and cream doughnuts. A giant biscuit. One gleeful family. I chose a chocolate covered doughnut, though not just because I wanted to eat it. Maybe just a little bit because it was photogenic…

And not for the first time it occurred to me that what I consider normal behaviour has changed quite a bit since I started Instagramming, I wonder if yours has too? I’ve compiled a list to check for 7 signs of Instarationalisation, maybe some sound familiar. Do you…

1 – take photos of coffee/cake/breakfast/lunch/dinner/baking… 

Sometimes with a statement of ‘wait, you can’t eat/drink it yet!’ Have you been there/done that? In life before Instagram I would never have even considered taking a photo of a cup of coffee, never mind finding a little coffee art so appealing. Caffeine input would have been my only consideration. But now I have a gallery full of hot drinks and tasty treats, how bizarre and wonderful all at once!

2 – arrange your tabletop to look just-so

To also include finding a photogenic table top on which to arrange your stuff AND if that involves attractive coffee art then even better! Do you consider the position of your cup of tea/book/flowers/spoon etc etc when you sit at the table? Do you choose the table in the cafe that looks loveliest or is next to the window? With a slight irritation if the best table is taken…? Welcome to the club!

3 – stand on chairs

That thing we tell off our children about…? Yep, that one. Feet on the furniture to get the best angle of aforementioned tabletop and coffee. Have you ever been in the company of a group of Instagrammers to whom this is the norm? Recently my friend offered me a chair to stand on to take a photo of her taking a photo when I couldn’t get quite the right angle from where I was standing. That’s something I recommend, totally refreshing to know you aren’t the only one doing funny things for the ‘gram.

4 – appreciate balls of string, nice scissors and crumpled linens

Let’s be honest now, who doesn’t? But have you ever kept an eye out for a particularly pretty pair of scissors, you know the ones, the instagram friendly pair that aren’t brilliant as a tool for snipping but look quite marvellous laid artistically next to a bunch of flowers… And surely we all now carry our baked goods to the table with a linen towel? But that’s not the end of the crumpled linens is it? I have a nice linen tablecloth, one of my favourite backgrounds at the moment. Crumpled linen sheets, this summers Instamusthave. And now we wrap ourselves in cosy blankets. You know what though, in my house at least, it’s not just for the ‘gram. Taking photos has introduced to me a snuggly world of blanketry (I’m sure that’s a word) and I do appreciate a nicely patterned pair of socks too…

5 – stand in public spaces waving your phone about trying to get the best angle or, even better, line up the lines…

Oh the parallel lines, the rows of bricks or window frames, I am obsessed with making them align perfectly with the edge of the frame… I don’t care if it involves moving forwards/backwards/right/left/crouching/tiptoes… I know there are apps that can fix these things but theres no challenge there. And beyond the framing, do pretty doorways catch your eye? Other peoples gardens? A spot of #solobikeparking perhaps? (Hoping no passer by thinks you are stalking/planning theft…)

6 – forage for leaves and twigs and flowers and pebbles

See exhibit A above… Larch from the forest floor collected on the way back from the family bakery visit… Decorating table scenes with twigs and flowers and foraged items is definitely something Instagram inspired and now pretty much the norm around here.

7 – take photos of your feet

Once upon a long ago, a photo of my feet found it’s way onto Facebook only to be met with ‘why are you sharing photos of your feet?’ Uh, because on Instagram #ihavethisthingwithfloors and like to share #fromwhereistand… Apparently this doesn’t always make sense outside of Instagram… But within the app it is absolutely acceptable, if not essential to have at least one photo of your feet in your gallery.

One thing that occurred to me though is that this kind of behaviour is much more accepted than it used to be. That, if you put your phone down for a moment, you will notice other people are doing the same thing! On a trip to a restaurant in Brighton earlier this year I was beyond amused watching the girl on the table next to us arrange and rearrange the table to take a photograph. Not because I thought she was funny but because it was like watching a reflection of the three people at my table doing EXACTLY the same thing!

Perhaps what I have learned is that we are looking at the details differently, seeing things we would often miss in the head-down journey from A to B that we might otherwise take. Enjoying the quiet parts of our day and not writing them off as unimportant, seeing them as a moment of beauty in what might be an otherwise busy day, as a moment to appreciate. Do I make sense? And if we choose to take a photograph to share the moment so others can ‘join in’, well that can’t be a bad thing can it? Spread the calm, or as my friend Jena says, have a #calmversation.

For the record, the doughnut was delicious.

Julia x

tea, doughnut and larch twigs | instarationalisation | humphrey and grace


15 comments on “7 signs of Instarationalisation”

  1. So true! Ha I really am chuckling to myself with this one. I always snap my tea, not very often my food though as I’m too impatient, but I do tell my hubby off for getting/putting stuff in the way of my IG shots.

    1. So funny isn’t it Martha? I love that we all do these things that outside of Instagram make us seem a little like fruitcakes but for the app it’s absolutely normal! I don’t even know why but this idea pleases me xx

  2. Hahaaa! All of the above – constantly laughed at for it by boyfriend and family – quite rightly, I think. Also, I must confess that on a trip to the seaside I once bought the flavour of icecream that I didn’t really want, because it was a much better colour. The salted caramel would have been way nicer… I learnt my lesson that day :D

    1. It doesn’t make sense at all outside of the Instagram app does it? But there are hundreds of thousands of us who appreciate tablescapes and the like so why not hey? I know my family have got so used to it now that they actually look out for photo ops for me too! Hilarious stuff. I’ve had your ice cream situation before too, so funny xx

  3. Oh, it’s all so true! My four year old stood on a chair to take a picture of her biscuit with a toy camera yesterday so I’m teaching her well. Or, according to my husband, turning her as crazy as her mum.

    1. Oh that’s brilliant Sarah, I can just imagine her doing it too! Anna often wanders round with her toy camera ‘photoing’ random things, it cracks me up xx

  4. Haha! This makes me feel so much better! I was going to write about something similar on my blog. Nowadays when I go shopping I am always looking for the perfect item to place in a photo for IG. I look at everyday objects very differently and from all angles. Things that have sat around my house for ages have taken on fresh beauty as I see them in a new light. I treated myself to a new linen napkin, I have kept it to unwrap on my Birthday, 21st December. I have also bought a small wooden table and a white canvas art board to use as backgrounds. I have to say I am Loving this new style of photography called flat lays and ‘knolling’ (laying things in straight lines and at right angles) really appeals to my mathematical mind and tidy nature. Thanks for sharing, best wishes, Jacqueline

    1. Ah yes, knolling, a brilliant word that Jono Smart introduced me to! It pleases me, have you come across #thingsorganisedneatly? Sound like some lovely gifts to come and I hope you have a happy birthday Jacqueline! Don’t forget to arrange and photograph your gifts… Heehe, so funny. And yes you’re right, it encourages us to see things in a new light, to appreciate the beauty of the everyday xx

      1. Thanks, Julia! Ah must look up #thingsorganisedneatly I have just posted a photo of a little set of seaside cottages I received today. Plus I was delighted to find a small white tray with 9 tiny compartments! I know I am going to have fun with that! Have a marvellous Monday! Best wishes, Jacqueline @blueanchorbay xxx

  5. This really reminds me of the first time I decided to take a photo of a coffee in a coffee shop. The children were asleep so I had nipped for a cuppa and the mug was particularly nice. I faffed around arranging things on the table then tried to take a good shot but realised I needed to stand up. So I did and then thought to myself “what are you doing?” And felt really silly. Now I do things like that all the time hahaha much to my OH’S annoyance

    1. It’s funny how quickly things just become the norm isn’t it Jenna? A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of posting a photo of a shop or cafe, now it’s not uncommon for me to ask shop owners if I can share their shop… So funny and really enjoyable too! xx

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