Recently, in fact ten days ago (judging by the ten images I have made), I took a huge step and opened an Instagram account. It’s new for me; despite I am not new to social media, as it has been a big part of my world for the past eight years or so. But adding an image to my Instagram gallery once everyday is new…back in the 90s I studied black and white photography – with an emphasis on dark room techniques. Heck, there was a separate course for anything color photography related. I was a staunch, diehard black and white, darkroom purist. Later, about five years after graduating from university with a major in cultural anthropology and a minor in fine art photography, I bought my very first Hasselblad medium format camera…I was living in southern China at the time and with easy enough access to Hong Kong, I was able to capture the world around me using 120 Ilford films and get them professionally developed into black and white contact sheets. I was in heaven. And the thought of anything digital was far from this lasses’ mind; in fact, I bought my very first digital camera in 2006, followed by my awesomely fun and groovy looking Panasonic Lumix G2 in 2011 in Hong Kong on my way to Thailand for some much needed RnR.
So the decision to open and make use of an Instagram account on a daily basis was in many ways a big deal, as it required a shift in how I thought of myself as a photographer and in how I thought of photography in general. When many had embraced the digital age years, if not decades, earlier, I was somehow holding on to the past, a time when it was a real process to go from image to tangible reality. The upside is that there is less of a chemical footprint. The downside is that it is much more difficult to get analog tools as before, not to mention, I miss the inherent beauty found in a black and white neg that has been perfectly hand printed on fibre based paper. The instantaneous filters available on Instagram such as Sierra, Ludwig and Inkwell are convenient alternatives at this time to analog dark room antics with fiber based paper. Instagram, I am here to stay.