Bear with me, I’m going to be a little bit honest here about taking images for Instagram. For a long time now I have been thinking about the perceived contrast between the bright white clean of my Instagram account and the busy, noisy chaos of my actual life. I have been asked in the past about just that, it seems folk consider it in some way dishonest to share the loveliest picture you can of a photogenic corner, that in some way it suggests what you see is not ‘real’ but I disagree. And here is why.
I’ve mentioned more than once before that we are renovating our home. This year has been the busiest yet and we have made enormous progress. However it does mean that the house is often full of other people, noise, mess and as such it hasn’t been exactly photogenic. Who really wants to see the workbenches and electrickery things that litter my house all to often…? Certainly not me.
I guess my way of coping with the disruption includes the taking of pretty photographs which at times means staging a lovely scene. It gives me a space to create, a small corner of ‘normal’ or at least as close to it as I can find at home, and with it comes a sense of calm in an otherwise at times overwhelming situation. It reminds me that life is not always endless box packing, tea runs and plaster dust. Photography is a creative outlet when there is not a single surface free for my sewing machine or even my laptop, but more than that I find immense satisfaction in taking photographs. In preserving moments. I’ve said before that my Instagram gallery is a curated collection and I stand by that, it has a purpose. Though my love of photography goes way beyond it and the collections of images I have are far wider than those you’re likely to see online, Instagram (I guess) is a chance for anyone to develop an aesthetic.
So is it cheating to create a scene specifically for a photograph? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure most of us tweak things to our framing advantage. Move the cup a little to the left, turn the vase of flowers so it’s prettiest face is towards us…? Then why not gather the things that look pleasing together? For me they are still the same items I have in the house and use or admire all the time. I was recently asked (though not for the first time) if I have a large props cupboard. Actually no, I don’t have one at all. What you see is what we use… They may not be where they live as such when you see them, but they are my ‘things’.
Recently I came across a post that had been pinned to Pinterest with tips and tricks for editing your Instagram photos to make the most of them. I wish I could remember who wrote it so I could tell you but for now at least, the name escapes me. What is the point of mentioning it then? Well, what struck me about this post was that we all use the same, or at least similar, methods. And I discovered in trying to find said post that there are several similar ones, then beyond are more than likely hundreds of people posting thousands of thoughts on how to make the best of your photographs! How is straightening a horizon really any different to arranging cups and teapots? If we can brighten an image or enhance the colour, mute the colour, darken an image, you get the impression, then why on earth not? Camera’s can record an image that doesn’t quite match the actual anyway. Blur, under or over exposure, artificial light, oh so many factors can vary.
So my conclusion is this. Post what makes you happy. Who really cares if you’ve tweaked a table scene to look it’s best? That is what they call styling after all. So style what makes you happy. And if you need to straighten the photograph a little then do it! Because if I’m honest a wonky line irritates me more than knowing that it has been fixed in editing. You can even do it on Instagram. Let’s not be too serious about it hey? Have fun, enjoy yourself!! Don’t you agree?
And maybe there is not really a contradiction between my Instagram life and my ‘real’ life. Maybe, just maybe, the two overlap more than a little and what I see is what you see, the only difference is the volume…
Just briefly, on another note, I can’t wait to share our new dining room space with you as it’s so neeeeearly done but there’s the small matter of skirting boards + paint…For now, if you fancy a look at some of the inspirations and ideas that I use for my home then come and say hello here!