For as far back as I can remember, art in some way or another has been one of my favorite forms of self-expression. I picked up the violin in elementary school and played until it was swapped for a hot pink electric guitar early on in high school. My homework was doodled on and my room was full of half-painted canvases and tattered sketch books. Eventually I tried to channel what was an obvious creative inclination into the foundation for a career by attending fashion design school in San Francisco, but my grades petered in the art classes and soared in the English courses. Art isn’t something I wanted to be forced to do. I need it to be a way for my soul to sing in the background.
While photography courses were available to me in my education programs as early on as high school, it never interested me. It felt limiting when I was so used to the instant gratification of color on canvas and bellowing notes from the hollow wooden body of a guitar. I belonged to the Kurt Cobain movement, signed sealed and delivered. Waist-tied flannels and homemade blouses, I was righteously living the alternative.
What I would give for a few more photos from that time.
I didn’t pick up a camera until Jack was born. I started shooting with a handheld Pentax and my images were often overexposed, blurry and grainy, but I didn’t think much of it until I was introduced to the wonderful world of professional family photography. I wanted to capture these fleeting beautiful baby moments with my first born, so I started mentally budgeting in order to pay someone to capture them for me.
That same year the very first iPhone was released. I saved again and managed to find someone that would get me Apple’s “friend” discount and purchased one right after it’s release. Before I knew it, not only was I thrilled about taking photos but I was also incredibly interested in technology and gadgets-no one more surprised than I, the self-proclaimed OG, The Tactile Artist.
While photography itself has bore it’s own hole into my soul as one of my favorite hobbies, iPhoneography has done the very same on a different level. It’s been a constant creative outlet, while allowing me to capture cadid and often decent photos of my children. I’ve explored what feels like every tool in terms of photography apps and gadgets (like the OlloClip), landing on a few favorites: Picfx, Afterglow, Snapseed and of course my favorite social sharing platform, Instagram.
Initially, I felt the very same way about Instagram as I did about photography as a whole-it felt limiting. Why would I want to slap a standard filter on to one of my photos and make it look just like everyone else’s? I wasn’t about to sell myself out that way (the Kurt Cobain movement made a lifelong impression on me as it appears).
I ended up caving to the peer pressure and uploaded my first photo to Instagram just after Beau was born, sporting a brand new pair of Crocs boots that the company had sent us. I wanted to show them how cute he looked in them:
The lighting is terrible and the filter is even worse, but from that moment forward I have been hooked.
I’m not going to go into the technical details of capturing a great phone photo because Rebecca did that perfectly in this post. I learned a few things from her and shared sentiments about everything she mentioned. Do yourself a favor and read her stuff if you haven’t already. Promise promise, you’ll thank me.
My own skill has matured only through trial, error, and practice. So much practice-probably too much practice honestly. These little muses of mine make my life so beautiful that while I manage to capture a perfect moment once in a while, my constant effort towards freeze-framing a memory is a work in progress. A white rabbit, if you will.
Over time, my appreciation for finding the perfect light in a space has bordered on obsessive. You can see the way my photos change over the course of the year in that respect mainly. Sometimes though, you can’t have the perfect light if you see a beautiful moment happening, so you make the most of it with the help of some friendly apps.
Often, my photo cache looks like this:
I take as many as possible, find the best and delete the rest.
I realize that the sheer amount of photos I just shared was a little over the top, but I couldn’t narrow down my favorites. I’ve taken almost 1,100 photos and shared them on Instagram in the last year, and I have loved each moment more than the last. Not just for sharing my own moments, but the beautiful community that I’ve found there as well. I love seeing the way that you all capture your own lives, even if it’s a photo of your dinner. It’s a little bit of your day, of your soul, and it comes without any strings attached.
My life feels extraordinarily busy. I love to share on this blog and wish that I could all the time, but my lifestyle simply doesn’t allow for it. My family comes first, always. Instagram, for me, has been a brilliant way for me to be creative, build and share within a community, and do that all during my day, sometimes even while I’m with my kids. I’ve really appreciated everything about it (sidenote: Thank goodness they changed their Terms of Service, I was about to delete my account, and will remain guarded about it).
What’s really amazing to me though, is being recognized for this fun hobby of mine: The Honest Company named me one of their top ten ‘grammers to follow in 2013. Like, whoa. I was mentioned on Babble, and a couple of shout-outs on Instagram itself from some of my favorites like Claire Bidwell Smith, Rebecca Woolf, and Ilana Wiles. It is the most magical feeling to be recognized by people you highly admire. Truly.
I would love to hear who your favorite Instagrammers are. If you feel like sharing-even if it’s your own feed-please do! And, if you’re interested in checking out my feed you can do so here: Momma’s Gone City on Instagram. I look forward to seeing you!