I sat earlier with my eldest daughter, just glad to be with her, and my husband thoughtfully captured the moment on camera.
It was a sepia moment, too special for standard colour reproduction. What we talked about wasn’t groundbreaking or worthy of being discussed in a public blog post, but it was nice because we shared it together and it was a moment for just us.
The image of that snapshot moment was squared off in Instagram and sepia filtered. This is so I can revisit the moment easily at will, and people who view this picture can wistfully impose their own interpretation on it if they choose.
A sepia photograph evokes nostalgia like nothing else. It certainly does with me. The fact you can make any image taken on your phone and convert it to black and white or sepia via the medium of modern technology means we can all have contemporary moments made instantly classic and timeless.
Instagram filters generally have made my holiday snaps far more magazine quality than they usually would be. Dodgy bits are cropped off, and colours are tweaked to make me look either considerably more tanned than I actually am, or more ethereal and dreamlike and ‘dry ice music video style’ than my life actually is.
Why do we impose filters on things? Why do we edit? Why do we distort images so they have more aesthetic appeal? Why does image matter? What do we think of people who don’t care about image? What judgements do we make when people are on the extremes of either not giving a monkeys or actually giving several large monkeys about how things or people look? Is it best to care a little, or to care a lot? Who decides what is optimal? Who decides on Instagram filters too in the first place and how they work? Who decides what visual distortions make things look better than others? Is this the photographers we have to blame? Is it the magazines? (All rhetorical questions which I don’t intend to answer, but you can answer in the comments should you wish to have a go 😛)
Instagram makes it easier than ever before to live life with a narrower gap between those in magazines and normal mere mortals. (In terms of crude visual appearance anyway).
I am having my very first Instagram holiday here in France. All my snaps are having the Instagram treatment before they get posted on Facebook. (I live life several years behind usual technological trends so have only recently discovered Instagram!) Does this mean I’m enjoying my holiday more because my pics look enhanced? Not really. But I feel luckier and jammier to be here because France looks even better enhanced with filters.
I am sure the Instagram filtered holiday photos make this holiday appear all the more glamorous to my friends…but I am not doing Instagram to make my friends jealous, I am filtering them to make me feel a bit better in my own skin.
Filtered me is OK when I post a bikini shot. Unfiltered me is not so hot. Somehow it makes my body look better if it’s distorted by filters. I can choose where I want the shadows to fall and which bits of me are highlighted for aesthetic appeal. On a basic level it partially corrects my body image insecurities. I can look at Instagram bikini body me and not want to cry. It feels nice to not cry at your image on a photo. I choose Instagram filters if it means I am able to enjoy the liberation of posting my holiday bikini pics sans shame.
My bestie said I was brave to post to them. I said I did it to be a good role model to my daughters. If I don’t have obvious bodily hangups then hopefully they won’t as they mature into teenagers then young women.
Instagram allows me to be a more confident version of me which is good yes?
When I watched the recent telly footage of me, I utterly hated my appearance, but tried to focus on the words I said instead. I’ll post a bikini picture of myself if I can filter myself on Instagram beforehand. I’ll take a snapshot moment with my daughter on holiday and make it sepia and timeless, all with a modern app filtering system.
I do all this for no other reason than I easily can and I want to, because it makes me feel a bit better about being in my own skin. Life is difficult. If I can at least make it look better while I’m hurting then maybe I’ll start to be more grateful for what I already have.
I want my life instagrammed as aesthetic pain relief. It hurts too much without the protection of beautifying filters. ‘Let life be filtered if it makes it hurt a little less’, I say.