An Instagram Story
It was in the social distancing times.. Like the thousand other cooks and Instagrammers born in this period, I too gave in..
And not surprising to find this study.
“Instagram was pretty flat growth. We projected a 1.5% growth in 2020, but because of COVID-19 it’s actually going to see the biggest, strongest growth out of all of the socials that we cover. Nearly 14% growth.
In the years behind, I never gave it a thought.. And why would I? None of my close friends seemed to use. It seemed a teen craze.. a celebrity following or a marketing kind of a thing with dozen plus hashtags and mentions.. Facebook it self was loosing its charm for me.. Why bother with yet another Social Media distraction I thought..
With the monotony and the relaxed hours at home.. with the kids hungry for good food.. the cook in me started to bloom.. I had no wishlist but something or the other would keep popping up.. things that I had wished to make.. a friend would make something and share the picture.. childhood foodie memories.. YouTube recommendations.. Air Fryer worthiness checks.. Spanish Omelettes etc.. Soon I realised I was swirling with ideas, recipes and tryouts.. It was worthy picture journaling before the stack of my mind overflows..
It became a routine.. I would cook.. Make place on the dining table.. View it from the lens of the camera.. Make some adjustments and take the picture nd and then call the family for the tasting.. The drama on the one sq foot real estate reminded me of the Physics Lab in the high school days where we would fiddle with the lens and the object and finally capture the real image of the lit candle..
And started the Instagram moment.. I gave in.. A picture is worth a 1000 words.. To begin, Let me just post and not follow and keep it simple.. Why give up the joy in simple things.. Why bombard family with cooking pictures.. I started sharing the pictures, the youtube recipe, my comments about the recipe and hash tagging the instagrammer and the food item. Those interested could follow the posts..
The one thing that enamoured and intrigued me was the Instagram Filters.. They literally paint the picture. What was in them? They have the charm to uplift the warmth of the food and convert the background shadow elements into an art like diffused form.. Thinking about it.. Down our memory lanes are montages and visages of the shades and highlights that appeal to us. And filters achieve this.. This picture was taken in Srilanka on a street outside the temple. And the filter totally uplifted it..
Apparently Claredon is America’s and world’s favorite filter. The second favorite filter choice looks like this.. Phew.. Each one marks a unique colour statement.. Depending on the subject.. fahion, nature or food.. a filter choice could be made..
The otherday at night time I was taking picture of a desert with strawberries.. Using the thumbrule recommended by my younger one.. I used an iPhone filter.. With the poor lighting, the picture seemed no good otherwise.. My son had a hearty laugh.. “Mommy, Your strawberries look cooked and the white icecream looks Yellow.. Dont you think you want your strawberries to be redder? The Vivid filter may be looks good only for the Hot food with the yellow colour.. Try using the cool filter..”
I was stunned.. I was an embedded systems multimedia engineer for a large part of my career and in personal life took several photographs to document or celebrate little things.. I heard about temperature of colours. My son’s candid observations about iphone filters earned me new respect for the colour domain.. Slowly I started to observe the little things in photography..
I took a picture of a white cloth in cool and hot filters to fix my noob understanding.. The cool added an element of bluish grey like in Ice and Seas and the hot filter added an element of orange red like the Sun..
Another funny learning was the hastags. I liked a Spanish omelette from a James Olivier youtube channel and was talking about it to my older son.. “The recipe is so authentic.. They have it every day for their breakfast”.. My older son stopped me.. “James Olivier is British and Gordon Ramsey says James is not so authentic.. He is a celebrity…” I was dazzled.. I generally dont follow cookery shows.. I relooked at the youtube video and it said Alhibhoy in that James Olivier channel.. Seems like it needed an eye behind an eye for such fine print and I changed the hashtag in my post..
And some learnings on Instagram. It allows multiple group creations with a suitable name, privacy setting, profile picture and description for each. I created a separate public group for my interest. Filters and multiple pics per post is possible. Not possible to edit or replace an image later on. Best to take square pics as it does not get cropped in IG. The editor in Instagram over iPhone is terrible. I type longish messages which need line breaks on Notes App and then paste it. Links don’t work on IG. Better to hashtag the channel name. Discoverability is great with hashtags. People put tonnes of hashtag but I like to stick to genuine tags like geography, food type, cooking type and discover other foods in these tags.
A picture is worth a thousand words.. And Instagram.. A medium of creative expression.. A medium to discover and keep the picture do the talking..