Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

When Life Gives You Lemons…

A work project that hadn’t required them in the end, resulted in a bag of lemons sitting on our kitchen worktop without place or purpose, for a few days until I decided to make a lemon drizzle cake. I used this recipe. I swear by highly rated recipes on BBC Good Food. Although I did manage to muck it up a little, but I’m blaming our oven. (It’s a microwave oven). It left the middle a little raw, which admittedly Matt and I fought over because it seems we’re both the kind of weirdos who prefer cake batter to actual cake. Next time I think I just won’t bake it. Cake batter with spoons it’ll be.

Around this time last week, The Times posted an article about a blogger, YouTuber and all-round-content-creator, whose Instagram images it seems had been edited to the point of doctoring. Most notable were the images of the New York skyline (in which certain newer buildings, built since 2013, were missing) and the Taj Mahal (in which scaffolding and tourists were also missing). Other non-paywall outlets followed suit with similar articles. But so did the creator in question, posting on their blog a list they titled ‘My Image Principles’. This detailed the criteria they felt they met when creating visual content.

Whilst this isn’t a blogger I follow, the news story grabbed my imagination and stayed in my mind all week. To me, it feels symbolic and indicative of a wider conversation going on at the moment. A conversation I seem to be having again and again – both in my head and with other creators – about how we portray ourselves online. How we frame our lives. From what place content is created. Which truths we choose to tell. What we leave in and what we cut out. Where we each draw the line between what’s realistic and authentic and what’s creative and artistic.

In this particular instance, we can only speculate as to whether reality was misrepresented in order to sell a product or lifestyle, or whether the imagery was generated from a place of creativity and intended as art or inspiration. Realistically if you’re sharing (what you’re leading people to believe is) your life online for the sake of integrity, there needs to be an element of accuracy and honesty to it. Interestingly other Instagram accounts – notably @helloemilie, @allthatisshe, @georgiarosehardy – have openly admitted to using photoshop to edit their Instagram posts. Although I doubt many would think these images are supposed to be accurate representations of their lives.

Or would they? On Twitter, I saw people liken these events to the David Attenborough “scandal” in which a polar bear birth featured in one of his documentaries, was found out to have been filmed in a zoo. When this came out in the news I didn’t bat an eyelid. In fact I think I rolled my eyes instead. It was obvious more transparency would’ve been appreciated by the audience. Yet I was surprised by the public’s general lack of understanding as to what is required to create certain imagery. My experience in the world of photography and marketing is pretty brief, but still, I fully understand that billboards and adverts and TV and film and yes, even social media, is staged and selective and most probably really well-lit and edited to within an inch of its life. And to me that’s okay. Because it wasn’t about that anyway. It’s about the ideas behind the imagery. Not whether it’s real or not, but what it’s communicating whilst you’re looking at it.

Such thoughts perhaps also come from a background in Cultural Human Geography – which isn’t so much maps and colouring-in, as it is a mishmash of all the humanities and social sciences. Basically critiquing art and culture like you would over-analyse To Kill a Mockingbird in GCSE English. But what it taught me, was that all art (particularly everything visual) frames itself in a certain way. Whether it knows it or not. For example, in my own photography, I *try* to use certain colour palettes, certain similar angles and certain geometric shapes and compositions. And I often prefer to look away from the camera and not make eye contact. These elements and patterns (whether successful or not) are there to communicate ideas about who I am and what reality is like for me – even if that doesn’t look 100% like reality as we see it.

If I were to pick up a camera and simply shoot, without thought an image-an-hour for a day, chances are this isn’t what you’d see. However rather than just sharing random artefacts of my existence on the internet, I purposefully took these images with the intention of expression. Of communicating something visually, however subtly, that lets you in on at least part of my understanding of life.

For more on this topic, I’d recommend this video by John Green. He expresses it all so much more eloquently than me! Also I’d love to hear your two cents on all this in the comments below.

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Slow Living Organic Social Media Instagram Edit Frame Online

Dress Olive Clothing // Hat Vero Moda (similar)

7 Comments

  1. Reply

    Faye

    23rd July 2017

    I found this really interesting to read- I’ve often considered starting a personal blog but struggle with having a set identity and the idea of projecting a reality that isn’t a true reality. In ‘real life’ I feel like I can have many different characters depending on who i’m with/talking to, and my wildly swinging tastes reflect my ranging persona. I do tend to follow quite a few blogs that are very stylised and which have very considered text next to the images- and that does seem far from reality but then, like you said, it might be that persons idea of reality as we all see things differently. And having a space on the internet where you can project your version of life and make it neat, and pretty and almost perfect must be nourishing and satisfying. Like we all try and project our best self to people (mostly?) and to have it in pictures and writing, where you have full creative control, seems like the best way to project a certain ‘self’. Not sure if this is making sense! The only thing that I sometimes question about the whole blogging world is that sometimes it can seem quite self indulgent. But then, isn’t everything? By the way your blog is beautiful and I very much enjoy reading your blog posts

    • Reply

      Alex

      24th July 2017

      I completely identify. I think there are so many different versions of me – so many different ways I could frame myself and my life – so many different truths I could tell. It makes the question “am I being authentic?” so much more weird and almost unanswerable. And yes! I question all the time if sharing my life online makes me self-indulgent and something of a narcissist. Truth be told, on some level it probably does! But I like to think I take it all with a pinch of salt and do my best to reflect on my actions and motives – so maybe I’m not the worst 😉

      Still thanks for your thoughts Faye, I’m so interested to hear what other people still about this. xx

  2. Reply

    Gemma

    24th July 2017

    What a great post. I would be really interested to know how genuinely ‘shocked’ people are about this level of photo-editing. So often people seem outraged yet everyone edits any content they put out there to some extent, whether it be relatively privately or totally public. This seems so obvious that I wonder whether backlash or outrage over it stems from a more judgmental place than a genuine feeling of having been lied to.
    Your imagery and aesthetic is really beautiful, you can tell the care you put into it.

    • Reply

      Alex

      4th August 2017

      Thanks Gemma. That’s very true. I was even thinking this week, that as humans we intentionally choose how we dress our bodies, how we style our hair and present ourselves to the world. Is this deceptive and unauthentic because we’re not being 100% our raw, unpolished selves? Or are we expressing ourselves through material means? It’s an interesting discussion. xxx

  3. Reply

    Viper

    29th July 2017

    For so many people to be up in arms about the issue of authenticity, they all must be coming from the baseline assumption that blogs and social media personas are based on reality, or all scopes of reality. But why? A fashion blogger is not being “fake” by electing to keep her blog thematic instead of choosing to be open about other aspects of her life like money ,, health, and romantic relationships. A photographer is not being “dishonest” by editing their photos unless they outright lie and say the photos are unedited. It seems like people hone in on curated content for being somehow deceitful, but if total authenticity is never claimed, then what is there for people to be upset about? The fault falls entirely on the shoulders of the consumer. Content creators have a right to create and curate their work as well as the aspects of their personality and life that they choose to reveal or omit, and in the areas of interior staging/prop staging/photoshoots in particular, whether or not the depicted situation or display is real or staged shouldn’t matter anyway, as it’s not the focus of the work to begin with.

    • Reply

      Alex

      4th August 2017

      Wow! You have expressed this all so much more succinctly and eloquently than me! I guess the crux of the discussion is where does the line fall between curation and “authenticity” or “honesty”. But I completely agree with what you say. I don’t think consumers fully understand the assumptions they place upon a lot of content. It would serve us all to be more reflective and critical or analytical of what we consume and our relationship with it. xx

  4. Reply

    Finja

    29th July 2017

    Such an interessting question to ask!! Thanks for this food for thought.
    X finja / http://www.effcaa.com

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