I am obsessed.I am not, nor ever have been a groupie. A devotee. Or a follower. I have never been haunted by infatuation or tormented by all consuming thoughts. But I am now officially obsessed.
Sure...in the past there have been men that I thought that I wouldn’t be able to survive without. There have been shoes that I thought that I needed to live. That dessert that knew would complete me. And that unforgiving fourth martini that would make me loose control of my logical capacities.
These were not obsessions though. Far from it.
I enjoy the whole social networking thing. Linkedin. Get it. Great way to network for business. Twitter. Sure, have an account, but rarely use it anymore. I just don’t really tweet or give a tweet to be honest. Facebook. Yes and no. I get some weird satisfaction in deleting ‘friends’ that I really don’t want or need to keep in contact with. Yelp keeps me informed locally about the hot spots. Shelfari lets me find books that interest me. Pininterest for well, just about everything that I didn’t know I needed, wanted or needed to know about until I saw it. Foursquare lets me know where my friends are at. There’s hundreds of social sites. Many that I’ve never even heard of before, but they all have at least one thing in common.
I hear my teenage daughter all the time. “Did you see how many friends he has!!!!”
Is it a contest, I wonder?
I guess I don’t understand that part of it. I don’t think that I want to have that many friends knowing all my business. And really, do they care where I am or what I’m doing? Probably not. But it is fun to participate on the forum from time to time.
Blogging? I've been more addicted to it than any of the other social networks. I really, really, really enjoy reading others peoples stories and thoughts. It makes me happy to see comments on my own writings. It brings me joy and satisfaction unlike any other pursuits that I’ve had. Although I have been lax of late. :(
Some of my blogging friends are friends that I’ve never met, but have a connection to that would rival that of some of my pals that live in town. I have the honor of actually introducing two new lovebirds that met through my blog and now are embarking on an adventure together. He picking up and moving to a land across the sea. How cool is that?
But my new obsession?
I am beyond a doubt hooked. Just like the idiom, I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Growing up I glowed when I got my first camera. A Kodak Brownie. I still own it. I remember taking it to the zoo on it's first use and of course, since I was a wee photographer when we developed the film (which I knew would be masterpieces to rival anything found in the art museum) I either cut the heads off people or the bodies off the animals. If you were looking for sky and cloud shots, there were several to choose from.
The cost of developing the film got me thinking about ‘it’s not the quantity of photos taken, but the quality of those you take.’ I’m still a firm believer in that even in the digital age where developing film has become a bit of a lost art.
I purchased my first 35mm camera, a Minolta, in middle school. I saved money and when everyone else was spending their money at the local deli for penny candy or buying ice cream sundaes at the new ice cream shop that opened, I saved and bought a camera. Complete with interchangeable lenses, thank you very much. It traveled with me everywhere. I still own it. It sits in my dressing room next to my Brownie.
I preferred black and white photography. Not surprisingly I was motivated by the contrast in Ansel Adams pictures. I liked to take close up shots of things and make the viewer wonder what the bigger picture looked like. When I was a child I colored dark. I wouldn’t lightly draw and softly color things in. The side of my hand would be deeply stained with crayon from dragging it over the picture made. I would press hard to get the color to be that OF the crayon. If it was purple, my drawing was PURPLE. I pressed hard and broke many crayons. When some students could use the same 64 pack of Crayolas for several years, I went through several packs in a month. “Mrs. Veres, you’ll need to send in some more crayons for Nancy. She has used all of hers….again.” So it wasn’t farfetched that I honed my love for high contrast in pictures, the negative space used long, long ago.
I now own a Nikon. I don’t take my big camera everywhere with me like I used to, but I DO love the photos I get when I DO use it. They are crisp and sharp and fast. You can catch a wave with the droplets hanging in air with that bad boy. I have a small point and shoot Sony which I also love. It’s lovely to take on vacation when you just want to slip a camera in your pocket and not be bothered with the care the Nikon takes. But lately I’ve gotten lazy and don’t take either with me. I just use my iPhone. Amazingly, it takes some pretty good pictures.
AND I can answer calls at the same time. Jatch golden eggs, harvest zombies or play scrabble when I'm bored. Woo-Hoo. Multitasking at it’s best.
While drinking a latte.
Oh yeah, I’m bad like that.
OR upload my photos on Instagram. Just like that.
And look at others photos.
And get followers.
And follow other people….you get the 'picture'.
YUP. Hooked. Done. Sunk.
I absolutely adore Instagram. The other day when it wasn’t working properly (for about 12 hours!) I started to check every five minutes or so. “It’s still down? What the hell! HOW am I going to upload this pic? HOW am I going to see what Jackonly (oooh, he’s so handsome), or lenz_of_the_azn_eyez (wow, great pics), Oona (serenity in photo), or sibamos (black and white brillance) have posted? I don’t ‘know’ any of these people. It's not going to change my life but somehow we got interconnected through our photos. And I NEED to SEE them.
Sure some people I follow I know. I’m following a couple neighbors, a few people from Facebook, a bloggy friend or two, my hairdresser…the gal that stopped by my garage sale yesterday "was Instagram working for you?" she asked me. "It's driving me bonkers!"
All I could do is nod in agreement, while checking it once again with my left hand. "Yeah, I'll get right to you on a price for that tent...I'm checking something very important here."
The majority of the people that I follow and that are following me as well are people all over the world that also have a love of photography and post their photos for all to see. I absolutely LOVE it. Love love love love love.
As a relative newbie I’m starting to pick up on the hashtag thing. There on some that overuse hashtags but I find it quite fascinating. A lady over in Israel ‘liked’ my photo because I hashtagged #thegivingtree of a recent photo I posted of a tree stump that looked like it was weeping. There is no other way she would have ever found that picture. That intrigues me.
I can’t stop looking at my phone. I’m obsessed with seeing the news of whom I’m following whose photos their liking. I’m obsessed with finding out how those that like my photos find me. And I’m obsessed with finding others with similar photography tastes as mine own.
And it seems nor can my daughter!
My mantra of late is “put down the phone.”
“But I’m just on Instagram…” she’ll whine. As if that’s acceptable when we’re at dinner but being on the phone texting or on Facebook isn’t.
“It’s your phone. We’re at dinner. Put it down.” I’ll calmly instruct. That's when I hear the familiar chime that someone has liked or followed on Instagram and it’s all I can do to NOT look at my own phone screen. She watches me intently as she heard the sound as well challenging me with her glare.
Do. Not. Look. Do. Not. Look. DO. NOT. LOOK!!!! I instruct myself.
Damn. I looked.
And nods in acceptance completely understanding now that I've been introduced to my newest time usurper.
Her photos are better than mine ever were at her age. She has caught the ‘bug’. The shutter bug to be exact. I bought her a camera for Christmas. A little bit better than my first Brownie…it’s a Nikon. It’s not a pocket, but not an interchangeable lens one. Yet. That I felt was a little too spendy for a 13 year old. She’s got to have to have something to look forward to after all. But she’s brilliant, really quite brillant with the iPhoneagraphy. Actually I think she prefers the iPhone over the camera.
She’s got the eye.
She wants to learn how to develop film.
She’d like a darkroom.
AND She likes black and white high contrast as well.
And yes, when she was little she used to destroy her crayons trying to achieve the right color. That apple, I guess, doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Now if I can just get enough followers and likes to make it to the popular page my life will be perfect.
You know, there’s a little gap where the Donald Pliner wedge sandals didn’t quite fill…