I guess technically it has been 13 days, so not exactly 2 weeks, since I deleted my Instagram accounts, but whatever, I’m just going to write this short reflection today because I have the time and motivation, and tomorrow will be a busy day.
In the post I wrote on the day I deleted my accounts, I mentioned that I thought using my phone too much was my biggest problem and that Instagram was simply something that kept drawing my attention to my phone. However, these past two weeks I have still been using my phone as usual, just without using Instagram, and I must say that I now think Instagram itself was the problem more than my phone. Of course anyone can argue that the problem is me, but that’s a less actionable position for me to take.
Over these two weeks, I still spent a lot of time texting (probably 90% of my phone usage was just using texting apps). Even though my overall phone usage hasn’t gone down by that much, I noticed that I started feeling a lot more relaxed in general from about a week ago until now. I can’t exactly identify why I felt stressed before because there wasn’t exactly a clear reason – I just felt a bit on edge and like I couldn’t fully relax. In contrast, the past few days my mind has been pretty relaxed and moving slowly, and I feel like I can take everything slow and easy. I also feel no pressure to take any specific types of photos, since I am not planning to post them anywhere.
I’m starting to realize that perhaps a lot of the motivation for me to continue taking street photos all the time was because I felt the need to continue regularly posting street related things on my Instagram. I do love street photography, and I enjoy taking street photographs, but I think it may feel better to focus more time on recording meaningful memories by taking pictures of people I know or from specific times/events that I want to remember. I didn’t use Instagram for approximately a year when I first came to Taiwan, and when I look back at my photos from that time, not many of them were street photos – they were mostly just photos of my friends or places I traveled or visited. When I don’t have the external motivation of having a street photography account, I don’t seem to really care that much about taking street photos aside from just casually whenever is convenient.
This creates a bit of a dilemma in my mind – is Instagram useful because it motivates me to be more active in my pursuit of street photography? Or is it counterproductive because having no intention of posting my photos gives me more freedom to photograph whatever I feel like at any given moment?
I’ll think about all this some more over the coming weeks and see if I feel more motivated to go out and take street photos when the weather improves – it feels like it has been raining constantly here for months. In the meantime, I can definitely say that I feel better mentally and emotionally than I did a few weeks ago, and the only obvious thing that has changed is that I stopped using Instagram. This isn’t exactly a peer-reviewed scientific study, but it’s good enough for me to reasonably suspect that this improvement is a result of not using IG.
I must say that all the attention on Instagram started getting to my head, and I felt like I was somehow more important than I really am in the photography world. Now that I am sharing photos on this blog/website instead, I am getting the attention and recognition that I deserve – none! Honestly, it feels nice to recognize that I am not important and no one cares about my photography. I can do what I feel like and there is no one to impress or disappoint, and no followers to gain or lose; I just do what I do without any other concerns. In this time when everyone is trying to be somebody, maybe it’s better to try to be nobody.
Here are some random photos from the last few weeks.