Fascinated by Instagram but useless at it

Rain drops on the lens near Fisherman’s Walk. October 2019 ©Neil Turner

I just might be the worst user of Instagram amongst the photographic community. I don’t post new pictures often enough, I don’t go back through my archive and post interesting images from it often enough and I don’t interact with other people’s posts often enough either. Sometimes I have a real go at putting an effort in but I don’t seem to have the pictures, the patience or the attitude to keep it up.

That doesn’t stop me finding the whole thing quite fascinating. There are hundreds of quite brilliant images sitting in my feed as I type. I follow just over 600 people and businesses and between them they produce amazing content on a daily basis. I also have a couple of searches running permanently which give me an insight into just how bad and boring pictures that get posted can be. Amongst my regular searches I use variations on my home town #Bournemouth; that will bring up occasional flash of brilliance, some rather nice seascapes and an awful lot of selfies of people who either live here or are visiting. Random searches of other places and activities really bring home just how many images there are for people to wade through on an hourly let alone a daily basis

Of those 600 that I follow a very large number are top class professional photojournalists and sports photographers, most of whom I know outside the world of social media. When I post myself it is the likes and comments from those photographers that I find myself enjoying the most and so it becomes a quest to work out what hits the “Insta-Nerve” and what doesn’t and I have decided that, like most others, I have no idea. I don’t get a lot of likes – in fact an embarrassingly small number really – but I keep posting every once-in-a-while because once you stop you (apparently) lose followers.

That brings me to the picture at the top of this posting of wild grasses against a post-storm-sky near the beach in Bournemouth. There are rain spots on the lens and in my professional life I’d probably ignore this frame but it was taken at the end of a long walk where both I and my camera got a good soaking and I thought that it might be interesting to see whether it was the sort of thing that Instagram would lap up. It turns out that it is, as I write this, my most like post that isn’t an archive image. The most liked image is one of Theresa May from 2000 that I have posted about on this blog but even that only gathered just over 100 likes.

Before Instagram there was Flickr! I tried really hard with that but, again, came up against the realisation that posting images just for the sake of it isn’t really what I want to do with my time and, at the time, I wrote a post asking why a specific photograph outperformed all of my others on that platform.

My time with Instagram isn’t over yet. I’m going to try to make it work for me in the way that it clearly does for many of my contemporaries. In the meantime, here are the five photographers whose work I most frequently give likes to:

  • @joelmarklund
  • @bobmartinphotography
  • @andyclarkfoto
  • @garyhershorn
  • @stuartfreedmanphoto

Technical Stuff: Canon EOS 6D with a 35mm f2 IS lens. 320 ISO, 1/4000th at f14. Processed from a RAW file with Adobe Camera RAW.

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