My issue with using Instagram as an ‘Art Photographer’

Yes, I too am cringing at the term ‘Art Photographer’, But it felt the best way to explain.

A Social media presence in 2017 is crucial. You can’t sit and create art in solitude and complain that no-one is looking at your work.

That statement was hard for me to swallow — I hated the idea of being sucked into the social media revolution. But I also hated the idea of being a recluse with 4 white walls as my peers.

Being a photographer, Instagram was the best platform for me to get stuck into. However I had an issue from day one about the disposability of it all. I would get film back from the lab, scan it in, post it on Instagram, receive 20 odd likes and then nothing. To me, Instagram is the worst platform for sharing photography work. Not only is the screen minuscule, but your work is piled in with: avocado on toast, memes, tits, arse, cats, camera gear, white girls pulling weird faces in mirrors & adverts. It is chaotic.

Trying to build your audience as a serious photographer, posting long term documentary work and seeing the image smaller than the negative it was shot on was disheartening. Plus the fact that an image has a shelf life of 2 seconds. The photographer has no control over how long the viewer is looking at the image, as one does in a photobook — and who even reads the description anyway?

“Just delete the fucking app then and shut up about it.”

I couldn’t do it.

I’ve deleted my whole feed countless times, in hope to start fresh and loosen up in how I utilise the app. This time is slightly different.

My realisation that the human race are perverted and depraved creatures, explains so much about the desire to scroll through Instagram, sat on the toilet at 7am, looking into people’s intimate moments. The fact that Stephen Shore has Instagram is wonderful to me. Whether it’s a photo book he publishes, or takes a photo of a tree on his iPhone — It’s all interesting. It’s another way to keep making art: seeking significance in the banal.

Stephen Shore Instagram — 2017 — @stephen.shore

I can take from this, a new way to approach the small meaningless app on my iPhone. A care free experimental route. Posting whatever I happen to photograph on my phone / draw / find / scan etc.

Hopefully this small analysis has allowed my brain to overcome this ridiculous worry, about how my images look on a virtual app, and concentrate on creating meaningful work.

Yes this blog post is of ridiculous subject matter, but consider it a gift of self-help from me to me. I really do ponder and worry about things like this.

You can follow me on Instagram here — @rocheknows