Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why I Love Instagram

For starters, I love my iPhone. Anybody that knows me knows that. Instagram is an app originated for use with the iPhone though I hear it is or will be available for the Android as well. Also, I have a longstanding interest in photography. In a previous life I took some leisure courses in composition and 1070's era camera techniques. Several cameras later I ran out of time to continue nurturing my hobby. In recent years I came back to photography with a bit of a schtick, taking pictures of my Nancy Pearl Action Figure wherever I go. This is a lot of fun and caused me to start looking for shots where Nancy could be a fun focal point. Yes, some people thought this was a little weird, and one colleague even calls it...creepy. She has her own issues as well, though.

Anyway, several months ago I downloaded Instagram at the behest of a virtual friend from the iVote community, another phone app social networking group who like opinion polls. There I found a nice group of other iVote friends with whom I immediately became friends. Gradually I became hooked. Why do I like it so much?
  • I travel the world virtually several times a day. Bruno Nunez lives in Rio. Irish_Blue is, of course, from Ireland. Photojournalist is from Dominican Republic. Jsui is a law student in Boston, and somehow I feel a bit motherly toward her. I regularly communicate with these and more "friends" from Hawaii, all over the continental US, Canada, Amsterdam, and other places all over the world. Far too many Americans think the only place in the world to be happy is the USA. I revel in sights of people enjoying life and their pursuits of happiness across this wide world. 
  • I see a wide range of photographic skills and styles. Some people like using editing filters and other apps to enhance their pictures. I am just starting to get into that. Others just point, shoot, and share. These pictures can have immediacy and candor that is quite striking. Several of my "friends" are teenagers and a couple of these are already experimenting with editing and composition. They might even be setting the stage for future careers, or if not certainly for lifelong avocations.
  • I get to see an amazing variety as far as the pictures' subject matter. Mac_cactus ALWAYS shares stunning shots of cactus. He has over 6000 followers and follows no one. M_gardenfav always posts pictures of plants. Mikeguevin takes stunning sky shots and landscapes. Alex D likes architecture, as do many other members. Tobaccio is into macro photography, especially focusing on liquids. Neimanji treates us to daily pictures of her amazingly compliant beagle who poses with great aplomb, always with a neutral background or setting. Her shots rival Wegman's! Bruno regales us with narratives that go along with pictures of Brazil and also of his world travels. Goldfrapp is a New Yorker and shares Big Apple shots.  Fellow librarians will want to follow Buffy Hamilton.  Lately she has been doing nature shots. Another active librarian is  KarinLibrarian, my colleague and teen lit aficionado.
  • The biggest reason I love Instagram is that it causes me to look at the world in a different way. Instead of just walking by something that catches my eye, I now stop and take a picture. All I am using at this time is my iPhone camera. Because of Instagram, I now look at the world more closely and through different eyes. This is the most powerful aspect of Instagram, and the main reason I love it. It has changed the way I see the world.
PS I am including a shot I took the other day at the Houston Zoo. I was walking through a tunnel in the new African Forest section and passed under a hole through which the sky was visible. Before Instagram I would have just looked up and walked on. Instead I stopped and took the picture.

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