September 20, 2016 by Katia
I was a latecomer to the Instagram scene thinking that what the world didn’t need was one more person sharing the contents of their plate. Ever since my dog passed away in 2012 there hasn’t been anyone to match her great level of interest in that topic (with the exception of my mom, but she gets to see the contents of my plate first hand) leading me to think that my absence from Instagram was probably the right decision. With a new blog, Facebook page, personal Facebook profile, endless Facebook groups and a Twitter account I also felt like I was barely keeping up with myself as it were.
Back in 2005 my husband of one year gave me a photography course as a gift for my birthday. I started wearing my stills camera everywhere and wondered what the world would look like converted into black-and-white. Sometimes I had to wait for a whole week before I found out. In the darkroom – to this day one of the most magical places I ever visited – I would look at the sharp, accurate, professional quality prints that emerged from other peoples’ baths leaving no room for questions as to what the photographer meant to say. I would often feel inadequate with my very personal and meaningful-to-me photographs.
One day the instructor selected several of my pictures and taped them haphazardly to the wall with little pieces of masking tape. Seeing them up on a podium like that, no matter how improvised and informal, only deepened my feelings of inadequacy. I don’t know if it was my self-critical filter interfering once again or if everyone else was just as surprised as I was by the teacher’s choice, but I’ve experienced it as the latter. I can’t remember how she phrased her question to me. Whether she asked “what do you think is the common trait in all those pictures?” or “what makes these pictures special?” but I’ve experienced it as the latter and my answer, once invited to look at them through her filter was “they all tell a story”. That was the answer she was looking for.
Maybe I just always wanted to tell stories.
“I go all the way up with ‘saturation’ and then all the way down with ‘contrast’” says the twelve year-old daughter of my bestie in Israel during an impromptu Instagram session.
I’m on Instagram now and I use filters a lot. Filters allow me to show reality the way it really is on a given moment. Two nights ago I used a grainy black-and-white when bedtime entered its third hour and I was imploding. On the last day of the summer vacation I used a fluffy pastel Canaletto-like filter to bring Toronto’s shoreline to you the way I saw it when our ferry was departing to Toronto Islands. The filters are a storytelling tool which allow us to describe reality in whatever colour and texture we experience it. The hashtags carry the story further like a message in a bottle delivering it to unexpected ears of all ages and backgrounds. When I see those likes I sometimes click on the commenters’ profiles and get taken away on a visit to many other alternate realities and stories, a magical feeling akin to that of the darkroom.
This is the second installment in a seven-day series. Drop me a line if you’re a blogger, writer or simply someone who likes writing or who wants to dig deeper and be reminded of your little overlooked loves.
Is there a social media platform that you love more than others and why?