As per usual, I fully intended to write about something immediately afterwards so it was fresh in my mind, but stuff got in the way and before I realised it, it was a couple of weeks since reading Sara Tasker’s Instagram and photography guide book, Hashtag Authentic. Although I got side-tracked thinking about how to take photos of moments, not things; I still haven’t written my review….
So I picked it up again for a quick skim through to refresh my thoughts; but ended up reading it thoroughly again instead, and stopped altogether on page twenty-two. My mind started whirring and I realised that with the prompts from Sara Tasker, I had basically written another blog post in my head. So for fear of forgetting it all in the morning, it’s currently 3am and I’m getting it down in type:
If you haven’t yet bought a copy of Hashtag Authentic, (and why not? You’ll understand why you should when I finally get round to writing the full review!) page twenty-two is entitled ‘Magic in the Mundane’ and we are encouraged to write a list of all the tiny things in our days that bring us joy in our guts. It took me half a minute or so to think of my first one; but then they just kept flowing:
- A hug with any member of the family.
- Turning on my machine and actually starting to sew. (I sew practically every other day. Why the fuck do I still get the fear?!)
- Being pleased with what I’ve typed up – that bit nearer to finishing!
- Re-watching and re-living a funny moment whilst editing a vlog in i-movie.
- When I open the firebox door and find I don’t need to re-light the Rayburn in the morning.
- Spotting a family of red deer in the field.
- A kiss on the lips from my husband.
- Walking the dog and seeing the sun shining over on Glastonbury Tor no matter what the weather is everywhere else. (This happens A LOT. Explainable by terrain conditions? or magic vibrations?)
- Rafiki, my cat, running over to jump on top of me the minute I lie down on the settee for a nap.
- Loki, our dog, tilting his head for words he knows.
- A sneaky Kinder Bueno (or two) whilst watching a fashion haul on YouTube. (Sorry Stacy Dooley – they’re still my favourite videos – blame the watchers, not the creators! (A blog post for another day I feel.))
- Filling in and ticking things off in my bullet journal.
- Picking up fallen dead sticks for kindling.
- My Eldest telling me all about what the cats are doing.
- My Youngest asking me how my day has been.
- The afternoon sun catching embellishments on the mannequin and making disco-ball lights around the room.
- Taking out the ash or the veggie peelings to the compost heap and seeing a newly opened flower in the garden.
- Touching the radiator and it’s actually got heat radiating from it.
- Lighting a scented candle ready to start work. (I know Sara had this one on her list, but I’m not copying – this is something I also do! For the last couple of years I’ve really got into scented candles for their comfort and calmness – not just to help disguise the smell of the dog bed.)
- Opening up a soft-covered notebook with a really good flowing pen in my hand.
- Taking off my bra at the end of the day.
This list is based on March life. Most of it won’t change through the year, but I’m tempted to come back to this exercise during each coming season and compare the differences.
So of course, Sara then encourages us to try and take a photograph of these moments. It’s a really good way for sparking ideas and over the next couple of weeks I’m going to see what I can manage from this list. I have to admit, I think it’s going to be difficult to get them to look interesting enough for Instagram. If we had nice Victorian style radiators, with original artwork above; perhaps a photo of a hand touching it could look good. Alas, I have a normal one, and the wall above it is decorated with the streaks of washed-off dog slobber, (and no doubt a couple of new freshly flung streaks as well – possibly a little bit biscuity). I could try and get a cat to sit on it I suppose so at least there’d be some cuteness to the photo. And I could put on a linen dress and have my arm and the side of me in shot. Linen dresses always look good on Instagram.
Obviously I won’t be posting number 21 on Instagram. (#freethenips and all that, but if there’s any bare skin that I’ll allow to be photographed, it’ll be from the back. At a distance. With a wide lens. When I’m feeling particularly blasé. Or at one with nature. Or in a strange mood. Or just…you know…)
Come over and follow me on Instagram and see how get on! I’ll admit, since writing about “Moments, not things,” I haven’t been altogether successful with that intention so far, and in-between the outfit shots Chris has photographed of me, I’m still posting mainly my landscapes and flowers. It’s a lot more difficult (and time consuming) than you might think to make a photo about a moment rather than a thing! I had previously planned on posting a photo of my newly styled shelves for a classic #shelfie, but that definitely would be about things. So I bought some extra-long matches (much more Insta-friendly than my £1 bendy plastic lighter) with the intention of lighting a candle on a shelf – thus making a moment whilst still showing off my stuff (clutter). But it’s SO much more of a faff to set up the tripod and the camera on self-timer mode and try and get the right angle with the intended depth of field; than to do what I know how to do with the right settings with the camera in my hands and be done in less than a minute.
It does give me a newly found respect for people who do actually bother with all that all of the time. And also gives me another reason as to why my follower numbers are so dire!
However, I’m pretty sure Chris has bought me a new tripod with an extension arm for my birthday, so after the middle of April, expect to see my hands busy doing lots of interesting things/holding things on the table! – I’ve got several ideas there. I’m still struggling with flowers though. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve had enough of seeing flowers with a pair of iron scissors, a roll of rustic twine, and some naturally dyed cotton gauze casually placed next to them? Does it matter if you’ve seen it many times before if it’s still pretty?
Actually, it’s not perhaps finding moments that I’m struggling with; maybe it’s finding original moments. And whilst I enjoy looking at them, taking photos of flowers stuck to walls with washi tape or poked up my sleeve or in my shoe or scattered in a milky bath or anything of that kind just doesn’t spark me with inspiration. I’m never quite sure what story they are trying to tell – I think I’m too cynical.
And oh the mugs of tea! I have been known to have one in a photo on occasion, but as I rarely drink tea, it doesn’t occur to me to put one there – wherever it is I want to take a photo of. If I start placing wabi sabi mugs of tea on window-sills, won’t it just look like I’m copying now? I could do notebooks I suppose. Notebooks are my thing and I’m never anywhere without at least one or two. But notebooks are annoyingly flat!
Anyway, I’m well past being in danger of going off on a big waffle. I guess this happens in the middle of the night. Back to the point. Don’t expect deer. Believe me, I have already tried, many times! They’re usually so far in the distance and too camouflaged to make a good Instagram. If I can get near enough, their cute white fluffy bottoms as they run away from me might work if I get the composition right. And have picked up my camera with its long lens to take the dog for a walk. I’ll do my best.
There are several photos of Glastonbury Tor in the distance scattered through my feed, and as I only posted one the other day, I probably won’t put up another in the near future, but the sky over there often does wonderful things so it might crop up again.
Hmm…I’m reading back over my list and some of these are quite tricky. But I’ll get my thinking tiara on and see what I can come up with. I’m quite precious about my Instagram feed so they might end up in Stories – we’ll see! Have you been inspired by Sara Tasker’s book, Hashtag Authentic? Let me know your links below as it’s about time I followed some new people on Instagram!
And give yourself a Starburst filter if you got to the end of this essay! To be honest, the book has got photography ideas and instagram musings going on in my head so much, I could carry on for an awful lot longer, but now it’s time to sleep!