This weekend I was laying in bed, amusing myself by looking at countless tiny square photos on my 3X6 inch phone screen. I had rediscovered Instagram, and whilst wasting hours upon hours sifting through “selfless” and “food porn”, I discovered a couple of well-known accounts that galvanized me. Jack Harries’ and Louis Cole’s Instagrams stood out both shockingly and poetically against the VSCO Cam pictures and sun kissed, perfectly-posed-for-self-portraits I had grown accustomed to.
The pictures themselves obviate a need to reference the quality of the equipment used, although I felt the compulsion to state it anyways. The colours beautifully enliven the photographs, and in them crisp edges contrast indistinct hues where necessary. They are an amalgamation of life and light, dancing together to tell a story in the constraints of a single thumbnail icon. The photographs, however, transcend all restrictions imposed by size and quality, and have the power to move, to inspire. They are accessible to anyone anywhere, but that they are knowable and meaningful to everyone everywhere is all-the-more powerful. These pictures, in detail and in whole, in technique and in artistry, are in every facet the perfect snaps.
The degradation of society cannot be explained away by the permeation of Instagram and 6-second vines. They offer mindless entertainment only through our own allowance. Their brevity and ubiquity allow for meaningful content to be displayed and dispatched such that there is no excuse to be made for our own torpid behaviour. The Instagram accounts I discovered today exemplify this. They tell a story in a single photo – no words are wasted, no movement required. History and context manifest themselves in a subject’s expression, or in an object’s vibrancy. Strangers’ faces invoke memories…emotions…inspiration, and the best impel action. They are not pictures that piece together someone else’s life. They are, in fact, a part of the life of every individual that stumbles across them. They mould themselves to fit your ideals, your scruples, and your very enterprise. Can a picture be omniscient? Because alongside their consummate portrayal of past events, they also set forth a realm of future possibilities. This in a single square thumbnail – the perfect snap.