Friday, August 24, 2012

Storytelling With Instagrams

I posted three photos to Instagram today. 

They might not be the most technically superior or artistically sublime images ever posted. But what is interesting and noteworthy about these photos is that each one of them tells a little story about my day. They present a tiny vignette that reveals something about me. Here, I'll explain exactly what I mean.

While I was out at the grocery store this morning, I noticed that my third-born had just posted a status on Facebook expressing her desire for a donut. After a short flurry of comments discussing her flavor of choice, I picked out a lovely little pastry for her and Instagrammed it so she could see exactly what glory awaited her. It was a fun little episode that reminds me how technology can make even grocery shopping an interactive and visually rewarding experience.

This afternoon, as I was taking Ranger on his daily walk, he obediently stopped at a crosswalk and sat himself down to await further instructions from me. Such a little angel. But bless his heart, he was slightly off target and ended up parking himself not on the curb but at the edge of the crisp white crosswalk stripes. As I was smiling to myself, enjoying his noble if slightly kittywampus attempt to follow my rules, my eye caught how beautifully the black and white stripes set off his glowing red coat. Out came my camera to capture the moment.

As we continued on our way, I noticed, with a lump in my throat, an accumulation of little golden leaves scattered across the ground. These fallen soldiers are a sure sign that summer has reached its peak, and as I watched my sandaled feet walk across them, I suddenly foresaw the inevitable passing of summer into fall. It's a transition that always leaves me a bit sad and bittersweet, and by snapping this shot, I am officially preparing myself for the end of summer. Sigh.

* * * * *

This trio of images exemplifies exactly what I have come to love about Instagram. More than just a social network for photographers, or a giant data base of random photos, Instagram is a collection of stories. Each photo reveals interesting truths about the person who posted it, and scrolling through an individual's feed is like reading a book with many chapters.

When I first joined Instagram, I just tried to make pretty pictures. Now, my goal is to create Instagrams that reveal artful little stories about my life.

Accordingly, my strategies for taking and editing my pics have shifted and evolved. As I choose my subject, stage the setting, compose the shot, and edit the finished product, I keep foremost in my mind the story that I want to tell. With this new sense of purpose, my images have become more focused, more artistically pleasing, and definitely more satisfying for me to behold.

Over my next few posts, I'll share some tips for telling stories with Instagrams, as well as lots of my favorite storytelling photos. In the meantime, if you're on Instagram, please add me at @dianeagain. And if you're not on Instagram, come on...join the fun!


  1. beautiful. i like thinking of my instagram (and blogging too) and as an archive -- little bits & pieces & edges of & echoes of life. it's neat to see, too, what repeats, and how. it's a bit like a scrapbook narrative, a family history to look back on, and someday for my children to see. and then of course, there's just the reinforcement of looking at little bits of life on a smaller scale, sometimes in frames, just really looking at & studying the world.

    1. that donut anecdote is just so neat.
    2. ranger is an absolute king.
    3. autumn will always, always remind me of the streicher home.

  2. I totally Instagram feed is like a little scrapbook for me. I access it often to pull up a memory or check a detail, and I love to let my little kid friends look through to their heart's content.

    I think the tiny size of the images lends to its charm. It enforces discipline and careful decisions. More on that in an upcoming post!


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