On Instagram

This month on Instagram I’m adding images from a photo project i did five years ago in Norfolk. The idea, that came together largely by accident, was to create photographs ‘capturing the unique character of the English county of Norfolk‘ using a mobile phone. The images were taken within a sixteen day period from June 23rd to the 9th of July 2011.

Sea, Sky, Sand and Street as it became known as eventually developed into a book released in 2011 and was my first serious iPhone photography project. I suppose it proved, to me at least, that mobile photography was here to stay.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary I’ve decided to add the images to my Instagram feed (I wasn’t on Instagram at the time) with one or two images being added each day until the middle of July.

The photographs can be found on my Instagram feed at:- https://www.instagram.com/richardflintphoto

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Pressgram Arrives

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So Pressgram has finally arrived, and was the wait worth it? Well it’s early days but I’d say a definite yes from what I’ve seen so far. If you want to post images to your own blog and take part in a photo social network without worrying about terms and conditions or the service stealing your work , Pressgram may be the answer.

I’ve decided to link it into two websites. The main website has it’s own Pressgram section and this website will also feature Pressgram images too. I have the perfect test scenario for it too. Keep watching these websites for more Pressgram images coming very soon!

The Walled City… Revisited

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Last Sunday afternoon i had a bit of fun. I had a brief stroll around York’s city walls to avoid the bands battling it out in the city centre. Drummers seemed to be everywhere. While on the wall i started taking a few photos and an idea started to come together.

Now those of you who have followed my photo adventures for a while may remember that i did a photo project about York’s Medieval walls called Walled City. Walled City was an important project. It was the first photography book i completed (for the sadly defunct Solo Photo Book Month Project) and I gained a lot of knowledge about the book making process. That first small project led me onto discovering Blurb and world of self publishing.

After my walk around on the walls, I realised that It was four years, to the month, since I’d shot those images and created that book. How time flies. It then dawned on me that a rather fun idea would be to do it again… BUT shoot using an iPhone, with the images, this time  instantly uploaded and added to Instagram or WordPress. A live photo feed over two or three hours.

I did think about doing it later this year but then decided that it would be better to leave it until June 2014. It could, in its own little way, mark the fifth anniversary of the Walled City project. A little homage to a small but important project. It may, if the 2014 project images are strong enough, eventually become a book itself.

Pressed Pictures

There are plenty of photography apps out there but the Pressgram iPhone app is one that i’m really looking forward to seeing. Quite simply the app works like Instagram but posts the images directly to a WordPress.com or .org site. So i could connect the app to this website and post directly here. I really like the sound of that.

The launch date is currently August 2013 which means that it would be ready, fingers crossed, for my next trip up to Scotland. If it is ready, then i do intend using it to document my travels. Will it stop me using Instagram?  No, i don’t think so, but it is very easy to see why some people would love to have this app as an alternative.

The Pressgram blog can be found at http://blog.pressgr.am/

A Year on Instagram

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Twelve months ago today i posted on this very website about Instagram and how I’d started using the photography network. A year later I’m still using that little app and yet the way I’m using the service has changed quite markedly since that first walk with the photo app.

Filters are often mentioned when criticising Instagram. Strangely I’ve found that I very rarely use the filters built into the app. I use other photography apps to take, alter the image and only then do i  use the Instagram app to upload to the stream. In many cases two or three iPhone photography apps can be involved in the process of taking and getting the image to Instagram. Within about three months of using the popular photography app, I’d come across a separate process I preferred for creating images away from the usual app filter results of the big I. I used my customised system during my time in Scotland in September of last year and still use variations of the same system now.

So why don’t i touch the Instagram filters? To some extent it appears to stem from my documentary photography background and controlling what i produce. I really don’t like to manipulate images too heavily. If i can’t do it in a darkroom then I’m probably not interested. Even with PhotoShop i tend to think of the software as a digital darkroom rather than the all powerful image alteration tool. This appears to have extended itself into my mobile photography although i must admit I’m not too keen on the visual styles filters on offer in Instagram. The traditional areas of contrast and saturation, dodging and burning are my main aesthetic vices rather than a look or style from a particular camera, lens or film.

So really the main role of Instagram over the last nine months has been that of a distribution engine. It’s quick, simple and ridiculously easy to use. Following other photographers on Instagram is a breeze and there are some really talented people using the service. I just hope that their are no more foul ups like the terms and conditions issue that eroded huge amounts of trust and led many photographers to delete their accounts and leave Instagram.

Finally i need to mention a similar service called EyeEm that i  heard about during the terms and condition’s fiasco. Similar in many ways to the Instagram system, one of EyeEm’s winning features is allowing full frame uploads of phone images. While i love Instagram’s square format, it can be rather restricting so its nice to have an alternative place to show full size images. EyeEm could do with a few more active users but it does work exceptionally well and offers something subtly different to Instagram’s service.

Into Instagram

Yes i have succumbed to the dark side of the force 🙂 I’m currently trying out Instagram just to see how it fits into my social networking. So far, i’m just feeling my way around the photo sharing service, and it does appear to have noticeable differences from other photography iPhone applications.

To many photographers Instagram and Hipstamatic are dirty words. Dirty, DIRTY words!!! While both of these photography applications are lumped together in criticism, i find they offer the user slightly different approaches to photography using an iPhone. Hipstamatic is far less of a social networking app than Instagram. I can certainly understand Facebook’s interest in purchasing Instagram… though not the price they paid for it.

So will i continue to use it? Well yes. I went out for a walk yesterday and tried to get to grips with what Instagram can do. Sadly i couldn’t upload any over a phone signal as i went along.. because there was NO phone signal out in the countryside. I did manage to eventually upload some images though by using a hotel’s free wi-fi signal.

As a device for visually showing what i’m up to, Instagram is perfect. It’s a visual tweet, a snapshot, a visual scrapbook – a moment in time. The here and now. I just need to settle in with it.

The main website has a Instagram gallery where you’ll be able to see new and old images at http://www.richardflintphoto.com/instagram-gallery/