My Dad’s asked my sisters and I to make him a photo collage for Christmas. A proper one, in a frame, using scissors and glue and all that stuff.
Far and away the most frustrating part of it has been getting old photos reprinted – it’s expensive and time consuming without a good scanner at home. The second most irritating is the gaps, where all we have between us are old cameraphone images.
The prints look so bad – there’s one in particular of my sister’s graduation where she and my Dad look like they’re on a COPS-style show but never signed their image rights over – and as a result there’s a noticeable leap forwards of about six years between one pocket of photos and another in the collage.
I had a blog post ready to go a few days ago that basically said ‘I like pictures, but I’m bored of taking them with my phone. I like the personal/social space of Instagram, but I miss being able to share better images using a Flickr-like service. Also, I want a camera.’
(It took a lot longer to say all of that of course)
I deleted it because by the time it was ready to post I’d bought a new camera and flickr had released its new app. Then Instagram changed their terms of service, and suddenly I found myself back on flickr, uploading pictures via desktop, as if the last three years had never happened.
Exporting my Instagram photos I see that same awful quality appearing again. I know those old images have little value for advertisers, and little value for me outside of the social context they were posted in. So I’m left knowing that the important part of the Instagram for me was the illusion of ambient intimacy.
That illusion is shattered when I say to myself ‘am I happy for anyone to buy the rights to this image?’ every time I hit upload. So the service stops being important. Doesn’t mean I won’t use it again, just that it doesn’t mean quite the same thing.
Meanwhile, you solve the image quality problem by taking better quality photos. So I bought a new camera. I have no idea how to use it properly yet, but to keep that Instagram spirit going I present to you a photo of some bread what I baked.
Ambient intimacy, right there, all up in your RSS feeds.