Storytelling on Instagram
For years, I've tried to find the best way to share my images and stories in an increasingly digital world. And finally, I think I'm figuring it out.
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When we visit a gallery or exhibition in person, we don't look at a photograph or a piece of art for 2 seconds, then move on to the next, repeating and clearing a room a under a minute. We take our time, skipping over ones that don't keep us interested, and dialing in to the ones that speak to us to really dive deeper into the details.
Here on A Skinny Escape, I've used large, screen-sized images and design made for devices from tiny smartphone screens, tablets, up to large desktop monitors. That way, when you view one of my photo stories, you'll get the best viewing experience possible, no matter what you're looking at.
So it's a bit odd for me to say that Instagram, a popular service for quickly viewing small images on smartphones has become such a great place for me to share my work.
In the past year, my photo stories have really taken off on Instagram, where some of my images and stories receive thousands of likes. Likes have never done much for me, but what has really surprised me are the comments. The stories I often write and post along side the images are hundreds of words long, in some ways, the opposite of what most on Instagram do. It's these comments from people who are taking in both the image and the story which has helped drive the direction of "This Myanmar Life."
The other thing I appreciate about Instagram is how quickly I can get my work out and into the world. Posts here on A Skinny Escape take a serious amount of time to prepare, format and post, and it's just not something I often have the energy for (or electricity and proper internet access) when I'm on location in places like Myanmar or Iran. Admittedly, that's a big part of the reason why you don't see as many posts here as I would like.
Now, I can research my story, interview my subject, capture my image, and share it minutes later on Instagram. This also allows me a chance to share when everything is fresh in my mind. This is honestly huge, when I often go from location to location, and project to project, typically with little or no gap to recharge and process. It's empowering.
This doesn't mean that I won't continue to share my work in other ways, such as galleries. In fact, the debut exhibition of "This Myanmar Life" earlier this year was a massive success. Seeing my work on such a large scale (24x36" prints on fine art photo rag) and how people connected with it in person was really special. There will be plenty more of that.
I'll be back on the move, dropping back into the other side of the world in less than a week. While I'm really looking forward to returning to lovely Myanmar, and showing a group of folks the inner workings of its beauty, I'm also keen to share more stories with you.