In defence of the Instagram generation
The younger generation and bloggers especially, have a bad reputation when it comes to social media. It is not uncommon for us to be perceived as being vain and obsessed with taking pictures of ourselves, obsessing over what they look like. I would argue that since starting blogging and using social media more extensively, I actually care much less about what I look like than I did before.
Rewind to my school days. There were 18th birthday parties every week, Facebook was the platform du choix and my digital camera was my favourite piece of tech. Each party or social gathering yielded a whole reel of photos which, the next morning, I would pour over, examining the way I look in every one, making sure that I was 100% happy with the way I looked in each before uploading for the world to judge me by. I find, and I’m sure other bloggers will back me up, that the curation of an Instagram feed is so much less about looking perfect, physically, in each photo, but more about portraying a mood, more like a piece of art than a modelling portfolio.
When assessing photos for social media and my blog, I look at the lighting of the photos, the colours in them, will they fit on my theme? What mood do they portray? Am I happy with the outfit? Is the image in general ‘on-brand’? Will people understand what I’m trying to get across in each photo? Understand the brand that I’m trying to build? Lately I’ve been happy with how my grid is looking, but that doesn’t necessarily think I look amazing in every photo; in fact, in my opinion I don’t.
One of my resolutions for 2018 is to become more natural in front of the camera; more natural, but not necessarily ‘better looking’. Take this recent shoot – it was cold and I didn’t quite get into being my natural self in front of the camera, holding myself funny, doing weird things with my face (fashion bloggers feel the pain no?). BUT, I’m happy with the pictures, despite all this. I love how my red suede jacket pops against the grey backdrop of Manchester. I like the greys and browns of the urban scenery, which goes well with the rest of the pictures on my feed. Old me might have just got rid of these pictures for good, but Blogger Sophie embraces the imperfections and looks for the positives in every photo.
Many aspects of social media are not ‘real’ and the younger generations perhaps need to be taught not to compare themselves to others, either by physical appearance or lifestyle. However, curating a social media account can also help you to take a step back from the stresses of everyday life and appreciate the smaller things through taking photos; that Sunday morning cup of tea, a particular outfit detail that might otherwise just be taken for granted. Similarly, a shot that might be immediately be written off as ‘unflattering’ can become positive when you focus on the aspects that you do like, ignore the inner demons and post it anyway.
Maybe this all just comes with age and increased confidence, caring less about what others think. Maybe 18-year-old Sophie would have obsessed over looking good on Instagram, selecting the most flattering filters and making use of airbrush tools. Either way, blogger Sophie’s search for the holy grail of the ‘Perfect Grid’ does not relate to how attractive I think I am in each photo, and I think other bloggers out there would agree with me. Maybe the social media generation aren’t what we’re made out to be at all.
Jacket: River Island
Dress: MissGuided x Carolin Receveur (last season)