A Year of Instagram

One of the biggest social media platforms in the first quarter of the century, Instagram is focused on photos and hashtags. To post something, you need a picture. It’s great in a way to visual show your interests and offers a bit of a creative outlet. Though a year on, I’m kind of done with it. What got me down is my feed which is smartly curated in the wrong way.

In a community of millions in every continent, you do see a lot of interesting things and the aggregation of unsaturated keywords brings you in to a personal space. Anything can be a hashtag, even a sentence can be a tag. In this part, there are a lot to discover even though 10 tags convey the same meaning. With thousands of of pictures uploaded even something artistic as photography, stuff gets buried deep into the service.

As much as social media brings the world together with facts and opinions of others, the democratization makes the creative aspect of photography gears more to pressure for content of the similar. I see it often and it’s painful to look at after awhile and it gets boring. To sum it up to help you avoid the photography community on Instagram – oversaturated, heavily photoshopped and lacks any character. I’ve seen many reflections of puddles with a subject but Instagram has really push for the highly saturated colour and the lacking of contrast. Then those that are heavy into the contrast in an idea (Example: love/hate) or a creative element (Example: positive/negative space) seem to be relatively similar regardless of subject. It’s numbing and the bot and aggregate accounts really make this problem well known.

Probably most of the time they’re not all automated accounts, but aggregate accounts really are pretty annoying since they share other accounts. As I stated before, most of these photos are all the same. Then at the same time some of these aggregates to post, have to reupload that photo and then tag anew. So in a way, it’s a new post to attract the followers of that account and doesn’t really showcase the photographer. A flaw!

That is why I only post things I don’t potentially can profit from. Instagram when I first started and now, is the last part of my publishing workflow. Facebook is where I keep my digital JPEG archive, 500px is where I can license and keep a better curated portfolio, Instagram is the trash heap where the best didn’t make it to the best 7 for 500px. It’s a system that works so far. I haven’t made money but I have licensed by work. As much as I want to get my name out there for potential clients and employers, I rather keep my work in my control in some way.

Like my Twitter now, Instagram might fade away from me if there is nothing for me. Though both have a large community, I feel the community is less engaged and only want to consume the content than to appreciate it. And that’s where I will continue from in year 2.

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Hey There, Sobriety

So about a month and a bit ago, I decided to stop drinking alcohol. Straight cutting it out of my life indefinitely.

It has been a rough spring and I have made and haven’t made the right choices while I have heavily drinking. And yes, I was getting to the point where I would be drinking quite heavily every week.

It’s been god knows how long now with out a beverage and I’m definitely feeling and seeing some changes. I’ve been brooding a lot lately, I think it’s part jealousy and surprise. A lot of dating drama around the people close to me. As much as I want to escape from it, I can’t and it’s just hurting me a little bit at a time. In lieu of spirits for my spirit, I’ve grown a bit fond of soda. To be honest, been drinking mostly ginger ale to aid digestion. However I’m fortunate to know a soda cafe so I can drop in for some really great drinks made in-house.

At the moment, I’m really unsure if I want to do this considering I feel a bit alienated from my peers when we go to a bar. Yet I feel a bit content with myself with what I’m doing. I’m not doing anything that might make me feel unsafe and I think I don’t necessarily have people I feel comfortable drinking around now with so much going on.

I’ll just see how it goes.

T6i & Canon Things

Awhile ago, I went to a local auction and purchased myself a used T6. For the longest time, I’ve been sitting on it in my drawer with a universal charger. The past couple months I’ve changed up and started using it. More for out of familiarity than for the photos, however this is growing on me.

There isn’t must difference between the the T5 and the T6i. But the convenience of some of the settings are a bit more obvious which helps with setting up the shot. After using the flip-tilt screen, I feel I can get better shots than I could with the viewfinder. But I still feel so comfy with the optical viewfinder. Since the first time I tried using the camera, I turned off the wi-fi feature where I have access to some of the camera functions on the phone. The turn off is I have to save things into JPEG to view on the phone. I’m a RAW format kind of guy, I like to have the flexibility to edit in post. As much as I aim for in-camera, nothing beats really tweaking the photo to match what I really see.

I think the T5 might have gotten me into photography but the T6i is definitely turning me into a gearhead. I’m starting to really dial in what I like; the articulated screen, ergonomics and the compatibility for a wireless shutter release. The hard thing to buy into is it burns through the battery a bit quick compared to my T5. I may never own a T7 which could be the last DSLR I could possibly own, but I’m pretty happy with the T6i.

Because I bought it a bit used and abused, I just have a few things that make me twitch. Through the viewfinder I can see a tiny crack or something and it makes me obsessed about it. Probably because of the lens changes, I feel it gets dirt in itself a bit easily. But it is inherent in any interchangeable lens system. Mitigation and not elimination to dirt and dust.

Some cool news though is Canon might be announcing the 90D, which is a bit of an enthusiast’s camera. From all the articles bouncing around, it sounds like something up my alley besides being a mirrorless body. I like looking through the viewfinder but I find it annoying to turn on the camera just to use the viewfinder. However they’re still offering newer and better cameras with the EF and EF-S lens mount. At first I liked the look of the EOS R and I might at some point look into getting one. Just to claim I have a full frame. I hate the idea of buying a camera to have to purchase an adapter to all my lenses from the same manufacturer. Like if I came across a Nikon body, then maybe an adapter for the my Canon lens. Though I might just sell my system which I won’t really do. I’m pretty happy with the Canon product line besides feeling I possess an obsolete lens mount. RF or EF? I still feel there is much life in the EF mount.

Pornography/Nude Photography?

I admit, I do look at nude photography on occasion. At the same time, I do look at porn like most of everyone else. As a person who appreciate great photography, I recently came across a photo on 500px with comments condoning the image as pornographic.

How can one image be lewd to another? In short, context (Blog post done, see ya next time!)

So what is this offending image? In words: a vagina. Too broad?

Okay in layman’s term, it’s a close up picture of a vagina with fingers which look like someone is masturbating.

As a bit of a shutterbug, I see it quite deeper. On the surface, it’s a woman masturbating and a close up of her vagina. But I also see the composition, the colours, the other elements which make the photo. At the same time, I see the same elements in other photos of men and women nude in other photos. I’ve seen photos of men posed with their penis and women with breasts out. And yes in these photos have subtle or exaggerated creative elements. The contrast of lighting, the use of space, the colour to attract the eye, leading lines and use natural and artificial shapes. Am I looking way too deep into the photo? Probably. Am I a pervert? Probably.

Yet in this lone photo that has triggered me to write this post, 3 people commented on this photo are crying out and I paraphrase.

“Very lewd, highly pornographic. Unsuitable for this site.”

“This isn’t what this website is about. No substance or meaning.”

“Disgusting.”

To me, these are also the thoughts in my mind when I see nudes. At the same time, I do see the value in the photo. Perhaps I have an open and expansive mind. I guess it’s why I hold my tongue to comment publicly on nude photography. Some see it as perversion while others see the artist capturing beauty in their own way.

Though I wouldn’t say all porn is artistic, I wouldn’t say all art is pornographic. It’s how you see it in your own mindset and in that sense, it’s not the artist that’s perverted.

It’s you.

Alcoholism kept me away

I don’t know what else to say beyond the subject line. The past month and a half has been a bit of a heavy low for me.

From the last month until now I’ve been busy with CONTACT, a local photography festival. Visiting all (or most of them I wanted to see) the interesting exhibits. Some work was very abstract with video elements but it was a nice month to unwind. By the end of May, there was a large open house event and I managed to see a few things.

Beyond that I’ve been kind of lonely and been trying to fill my time either diverting from my thoughts and it’s rough. Every day it has been either going out with a camera or trying to be around other people and hoping I can overcome my shyness to talk to someone. Spoiler alert: I’ve been awkward, shy and weird as per everyone has told me in my life (aside from everything else). So what I do when living in a city full of bars? I starting to drink heavily…for the second time in several months.

The first time, it was light. A few drinks here and there, then I starting drinking a couple. Then after that a couple more after that. At the moment I’m at 5 drinks per sitting. It’s not good when I’m doing this twice a week. I want to stop drinking to at least maintain some sort of self-temperance. However this drinking has opened my mind to some disturbing things. At the moment I don’t feel like diving too personal about it but I’m trying to find help without spending money. First I have to get off the booze.

I use to to upload to YouTube to share my gameplay stuff and use to be active on Twitter as well. Not I’m starting to think I need time away from it. Just watch other people because I feel little to no incentive since I feel like it’s more work than to hold me down from excessively gaming. At the moment, Stardew Valley is getting a bit of play time but I’m slowly sinking back into play hours on end. My eyes use to burn because I would stare at the monitor for over 4 hours.

Photography thing is going good. A local newspaper might want to hire me for events so I’m excited. It’s a bit of work to get on board but I think it could open up for me in terms of taking photos. Portraiture is one thing I have yet to explore so there might be something new in the works if I get on with the newspaper.

I haven’t left this place yet, but I do want to come back and be grounded to something at the moment.

Deal with it, FT.

Sometimes I do like scrolling through anonymous advice articles. The writers you can relate to in their situation at times. I think this is the first time I feel like I had to do a double take to the author who responded to the letter. The “TL;DR” version – The first quote is a person who bullied people early in their life. Amy (the columnist) responds with a fairly neutral response in the second quote.


Dear Amy: I was a very unhappy person up until my 20s. I’ll spare you the melodrama, but I didn’t grow up in the best home and had very poor social skills. After learning to manage some real anxiety and depression issues and a lot of therapy, I’ve been in a much better place for a long time. I’m now in my late 40s.
After a recent class reunion and re-engaging with some old acquaintances, I have heard about a number of ways I acted back in the day that range from insensitive to downright terrible.


It pains me to realize that I was apparently an insufferable jerk. I don’t think I’m that way anymore (at least I hope not). But what do I do with these revelations?
I’ve tried apologizing, and some will listen, whereas others just apparently want the satisfaction of telling me off.


With one man who says I bullied and harassed him (I don’t remember it that way), I even tried saying, “I wasn’t a happy person then,” on top of apologizing.

I am left not feeling very good about myself, which is not a good path for me.
It’s like I’m never going to be able to redeem myself in the eyes of a large swath of people I grew up around.


I’ve thought about a universal, wide-ranging apology on social media saying, “Look, I know I wasn’t a great person to be around, but I’m not that way anymore.”


Thoughts? Suggestions?


— Formerly Terrible

Dear Amy, Local Sun

You can almost feel the desperation of the writer. After I read this, I was fuelled up to see how Amy could bring this person around. Some articles I read really put an “in your face” approach to people with problems. Usually they have a small hopeful positive, but it’s always something realistic in the end to put people in the now. I like articles that make people want to accept the situation they’re in and to move on.

At the same time, Amy responded.


Dear Formerly: I don’t suggest a wide-ranging apology on social media, mainly because it might lead to a piling-on, as people recall episodes and incidents from over two decades ago.


Mainly, I want to offer you a high-five. You have changed. You have tackled your behavioral problems and are now quite appropriately trying to acknowledge, as well as somehow manage the fallout. It’s a reckoning.


Acknowledging your behavior is huge. Apologizing to the people you have wronged is appropriate — and also huge.


There is an additional step, however, that you may have missed — and that is asking for forgiveness.


You say, “I did this to you. I know I hurt you. I am ashamed, and so sorry.”
Then you let the person vent, respond or recount the consequences of your behavior.


And then you say, “I’ve worked very hard to change. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”


That’s it.


Some people will forgive you immediately. Some will ponder your sincere effort at making amends, and will forgive you later. Some may never get there. And some will be inspired by your honesty and authenticity.

Dear Amy, Local Sun

So Amy does show some sympathy. Offering some sound advice by telling the writing (I’ll call them FT), don’t go public for something that happened in your private life. There are stipulations, in my opinion, on going public.

Acknowledgement and acceptance to the offending behaviour is a major step. To understand why people see it as offensive and the consequences that can lead to a bunch of closed doors.

Asking for forgiveness after bullying everyone around you is futile. The relief is the one that were bullied to submission will forgive you but it was you that bullied them to that position. They still see you as a bully but not a sincere person. You have not earned that apology as a person, you are still the child that demands attention from others.

I feel Amy was never really bullied as a child. I hope Amy or whoever respond to FT take it from someone who was bullied for over a decade with no support from anyone.

Amy, being harassed as a child is a heavily scarring thing that only we are beginning to realize. Those that say things that dismiss less than this, were the problems in our lives. They never aided anyone positively to fix the problem. Consoling in the victim does fix the problem alone. We are social animals, meaning we have the ability to grow and heal as a group but have the capacity of aggression like any other animal. When you realize these people exist in the world as your grow up, something riles up in you. There is a reason by violence and suicide in teens was highly publicized in the late 90’s to 2000’s, these kids snapped. Those kids who were bullied and without nothing to hold on to, they broke. I’ve had ideation to shoot up an institution. I’ve had ideation of suicide. I’ve had both, murder-suicide style. These are symptoms to bullying and much like a mental illness, these are symptoms to a bigger problem. Healing symptoms does not solve the main issue.

As an advice column, this answer is a very 90’s approach to bullying which is why we still have kids who are as messed up as they were. Little to nothing to really help FT in this situation. So my response:

Formerly Terrible,

As a personal who has been bullied by people like you, I don’t forgive. Your actions are irreversible to your victims as a consequence, you must live with that guilt and you must live with it as a sobering reminder. This reminder: always weigh your personal actions.

I hate people like you because people like you kept my life a living hell for years. My life is the way it is because of you turned me into the person as I am. That is something I can’t have back and if that disturbs you soul, then it is you that disturb it.

At the time, you did not think about because of your predisposition of whatever happened to you as a younger self. You have grown up, hopefully more self-aware than before. This is the path you chose and no amount of grovelling can take you back.

Your peers may not forgive you for your past, but now you know better you can lead the change to end the same problem for someone else. With age should come wisdom and knowledge of the world. Our ability for hindsight is what helps society change, if we don’t understand that hindsight then we are to repeat our mistakes.

Go on in your life knowing this is where it ends, no one can forgive you. However this is where you will begin to make amends to those mistakes.

nawkcire, Personal Blogger

Adult nightmares are scary

Last week, I wrote about the repetitive dreams. This week, I haven’t had the same dream. With Easter Sunday, I probably had more blank dreams. But I forgot to touch on the unwanted dreams, the nightmares.

Thankfully for me nightmares don’t appear as often. Perhaps those blank forgotten dreams were nightmares and in which case it would be very disturbing to know every time I sleep. In recent history, I’ve had two nightmares that I remember either fully or partially to haunt me.

Once I dreamt of a dirt road with ditches, much as what you would see in a rural region. As I looked across the landscape beyond this unpaved roads, I saw nothing but short grasses and unseeded fields tended by farms. As I walked along this road, I began to feel the road underneath me piercing my feet. Looking down I was barefooted and raised my head back up, I see a plain concrete building. No facade, no windows, no people; almost like something built in the 60’s or 80’s but looked incomplete but the purpose is overt. The small even windows and balconies, it’s an apartment building. I walked into what appeared to be the front door. I looked in, it was dark and lit by the ambient sunlight. As I walked into down one of these hallways, I saw people massed into rooms sleeping. Occasionally seen were small fires in the middle of these unpainted, unfurnished rooms. No doors inside, but all I saw was sickly children and adult figures laying on the ground cushioned with debris. I felt very uncomfortable but I felt I should look deeper. I walked in and facial features were detailed; they all looked like they were of Asian descent. Impoverished people wearing nothing more than worn out clothes, tattered and ripped. I felt panicked as I paced myself out back into the sunlight. The last thing I saw in the dream was me looking back and seeing the people toiling in the field behind this small apartment building. Not far off, there was a mountain range beyond the large fields. I didn’t see any cars which makes me wonder where these people came from.

It felt like I lived a moment in someone’s body. It scares me with all these amenities, people still live like that. Even as an afterthought, did I dream it was it something metaphysical? Is my dream is someone’s reality out there?