I live in the Instagram Generation. Taking photos isn’t the same as when I started really dabbling in photography about seven years ago. And, to some, that’s not that long. I dealt a bit with film growing up, but I never learned how to develop in a darkroom, or the specifics on how the different types of film work. I dove in when everything was already well into the digital age.
When I got my first iPhone, I was excited to start using Instagram. I saw a few friends using it online. I liked the filters they were using, and how their photos were coming out. Some friends would automatically say, “Oh, are you going to upload that to Instagram now? You’re such a hipster,” in a joking way. I still don’t understand fully where that stigma came from. If somebody can explain it to me, that’d be great.
I found a video floating around one day and the title intrigued me. It is called “The Instagram Generation.” The first quote in the video said, “The ‘Instagram Generation’ now experiences the present as an anticipated memory.” Being an avid Instagram user, and in the “Instagram Generation”, I obviously had to know a bit more.
Designing Our Anticipated Moments
Nowadays, with quick access to decent cameras via our cellphones or affordable DSLRs, everybody is a photographer. Or, at least, can feel like a photographer. If you go to a family function, the fair, ballgame, or just out walking around to a touristy area, there are dozens of people walking around with fancy cameras or a smartphone. Because of this, there are tons of great images out there. With so many social media outlets, it’s incredibly easy to share and get feedback.
I am an avid Instagram user, posting photos from both my iPhone and my DSLR. When I first started taking photos and exploring new places, I was simply anticipating the types of photos I could take and what my edits would look like. As my photography and means of photographing have changed, so has my approach. I don’t take my DSLR out as much anymore. I use my phone instead. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s accessible. In no time I can edit and have a photo posted on the internet.
After watching the above video it got me thinking a bit. There have been moments where I have anticipated Instagram moments. If there’s a place I’m going to that I’ve been to before, I think about the spots that would make a great photo, but I also look forward to sharing it on social media. It’s not really about likes or comments even though they are nice to see. I like the ease of it. I don’t have to wait until I get back to my computer to edit and post. I can do it right then and there. My phone is one of my main sources to capture images.
It’s interesting that this video pops up this year because of all the “breaking free from technology” articles at the beginning of 2014. Though, a lot of it has to do with the younger generation. They always have their phones with them more than my generation does. My coworkers with teenage kids talk about the phones being glued to the fingertips at all times of the day. With texting and SnapChat it’s super easy to stay in touch with each other, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share the latest news. Our phones are how we interact.
I find this idea of the “anticipated moment” interesting. We are creating a memory book of our lives. We’ve always been able to do that with photography. You took a photo, got it developed, and slapped it into a photo album. You got to choose the good ones and throw out the bad ones. But you still saw it after it was developed, and somebody else saw it, too. Since we live in a digital age, nobody has to see our mistakes or our “bad sides” where our hair looks just a little bit funny. They get deleted.
Now, we design what our lives more than ever and how it is going to look like to other people. It’s kind of scary to think about. We can glamorize ourselves however we want. Does that let people know who we really are? Our actual, in real life personalities? Or is it creating something fake that we know will get “likes” from?
The more I watch that video and really understand what Jason Silva is saying, it makes sense. I get it. (I also get an idea of what it’s like to watch and listen to me when I’m overly excited about something I am passionate about. Sorry, folks.) As much as it bugs me to admit it, it’s true. When I look back at the photos I’ve taken, the ones I’ve chosen to share with the world, while they may see one thing, I still have the full memory in my mind. So while I’m showing the world what I want it to see, I know the behind the scenes. And I guess, as long as I continue to have that, I can mold my life for my viewers any way I want.
Do you use Instagram? Have you considered using Instagram for business or know a business using this social platform really well? Please share in the comments.