I got a new phone last week after several years of chugging along with my slow old workhorse of an iPhone 4. I upgraded to the SE, which is incredibly fast and amazing (I’ve been giving it googly eyes all week) and comes with great phone camera, which is definitely my favourite feature and, if I’m honest, was the thing I was most excited about when it came to getting a new phone.
However, having a phone camera again posed a very stupid and very modern dilemma, which is this: on Instagram, do I continue to post exclusively beautiful photos taken on my DSLR, do I mix it up with some fancy-camera and some phone-camera photos, or do I slowly but steadily shift over to phone camera only?
My aunt joked to me the other day about something totally unrelated, “It must be exhausting, being in your mind,” and, well, yeah. She’s right. I’m honestly amazed that these are questions I even consider, and that I don’t seem to be able to just go with the flow and let things unfold. I could beat myself up about this, or I could get curious about it.
The fact is, what I really want to do is just post whatever the heck I see and love and think is beautiful, whenever I want, at whatever frequency I want to. Most of my favourite Instagrammers do just that – post lovely, edited, everyday, curated photos, usually from their iPhones.
And I basically have started doing that, which is a good thing. The only problem is that I’ve been a little hesitant to do so, because the response has been less enthusiastic than to some of my other photos. I’ve started to overthink each photo I take or post, worrying that it’s not “good enough” or that it doesn’t “fit in” with the others – ridiculous notions, I know. I’ve held back on posting things, worried about the overall look of my feed, and gotten concerned about the number of likes I’m getting.
Here’s the thing: I know that it doesn’t matter, and I know that comparison is the thief of joy, and I know that it’s only Instagram after all. I know that most of the approval I was getting for those beautiful, neutral landscape photos was from total strangers who don’t know me or care about me. I know that the people who do really know me and care about me still will, regardless of what kind of photos I’m posting. I know that this whole thing is completely silly.
Most importantly, I know that all I really want is to do a better job of documenting and appreciating my lovely little life.
Earlier today, I scrolled through the feed of one of my favourite makers, Elise Blaha Cripe. I’ve followed her blog and work for years, and have been inspired by her projects, her creativity, her philosophies, and her ability to make a life.
One thing I’ve picked up from her is the idea that in so many things, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You may not think that this day, this photo, this walk, this meal is particularly special – but taken together they become something more than themselves, something beautiful. That’s something I notice with her Instagram feed as well – a lot of the photos are perfectly ordinary, but together they are like a gorgeous patchwork quilt that shows a rich, meaningful life.
Ultimately, that’s what I want for myself (and my profile) too – a series of ordinary, lovely moments that add up to something extraordinary. So I am embracing the idea that not every day, photo, walk or meal has to be spectacular, but that it can be celebrated. It can be paid attention to. It can be appreciated by me, even if it is not appreciated by strangers. It can be photographed, even if it’s “nothing special.” It can be loved.