I have a secret that I’ve been hiding that few would have otherwise never known. I love the color pink. Like seriously, I love the color pink, and I’ve learned to embrace it. Trust me, I’m not being rude when I correct your complement and point out that my shirt isn’t salmon, it’s pink. You want to live boldly as a man, have at least one pink shirt that you have in your wardrobe rotation. But I digress, back to the subject at hand. The actual science of the color pink is red, filtered with white. A base that once filtered, is destined to become different or altered.
I was a bit of a power user when Instagram first debuted. As it turns out, I followed the norm and only rarely posted an image that hadn’t been filtered. At first it was one filter, then it was two filters. Then I downloaded apps to pre filter the filters. I’d fix redeye, delete backgrounds, make my teeth appear whiter, adjust shadows and such. I made stellar photos if I don’t say myself. But I was missing something every time no matter how in depth my altering would become. I was missing the picture.
Instagram was great* in its heyday. A fast growing photo sharing network that we all were quick to embrace (don’t deny it, you had an account at some point or still do). We’re a visual race, and Instragram seemed to tap into that notion. Nashville, Valencia, or Brannan could turn any moment into a professional photographer level image. But it was altered. Do you know the difference between an image and a picture? Take a guess at which one has been altered. If you rely on the image, you’re missing out on the picture.
I was missing out on the picture. On one level, I was altering the basic fact the original picture no longer remained (I almost always deleted the original photo from my phone once it had been Instagram’d). On another level, a more important level, I was missing out on the picture by altering the moment. I was correcting the light, I was cropping excess background and giving myself a tan. But those things were part of that moment. I began to depend on Instagram and a host of other apps to create images that weren’t real, and in some cases not even believable. I began to expect this altered excellence from those I followed as well. I liked great images, not great pictures. I got so used to scrolling quickly through image after image that I missed out on the pictures. Those pictures had become, in essence, ugly to me by sight, on the outside. And that, that made me ugly on the inside.
I very much like Instagram for what I imagined it was set out to be. A streamlined way to show friends and loved ones moments in time that an individual wanted to share. Like I said, we are a visual society and we like to look. I use Intstagram a lot less than I did. I don’t regret it. When I do post, I don’t use the built in filters and you’ll get those moments that I wish to share just as they happened. I challenge you to use Instagram without a filter. I challenge you today to post pictures from now on that are you. I fell into the trap and Instagram made me ugly. I no longer miss the picture.
*great, as in super popular. Not great as in super beneficial.