Keeping your sanity on Instagram

instagram, landscape, popularity, dan jurak, sanity,

It’s been almost a year since I joined Instagram and it’s been both good and bad.

First the good.

The variety of landscape photos and styles presented are amazing. I do believe that I have learned from photographers much younger than myself in new ways of seeing and processing.

Now for the bad. Instagram can be a trap for those that seek affirmation of themselves or their photography. It can be one HUGE popularity contest.

Popularity isn’t a bad thing, ie. if you don’t seek it and I see too many desperately trying to attract more likes and follows.

Everyday I get follows and everyday I get unfollows. At first that was a puzzle and then my internet savvy kids pointed out what was happening.

I wondered why there were follows from accounts that had nothing to do with landscapes. Out of interest and courtesy I would always check back on those follows to see if there were landscapes that I might like and hopefully discover someone new to me.

Almost always I would see an account full of glamour selfies. You know the kind where the person has obviously shot thousands of selfies to get the one that was just perfect.

I picked up an app that shows me how is unfollowing and upon checking it would always see these for lack of a better word, vanity accounts unfollowing. Those accounts were promptly blocked.

I follow accounts for a few reasons. I like their photography. They photograph a place I know or they are people that I know. I NEVER follow anyone with the intention of getting a follow back.

I’ve been taking photographs since I was a young man both as a job where millions over the years would see my photos weekly and as an amateur. I think I know what a good photo is. Having said that, anything to do with the arts is a subjective thing. What is fine great to me might be garbage to another.

There are photographers that get many times more likes on their photos than I do and that is a great(?) thing because when I post photos I post photos that I like. The emphasis being on “I”. There are also lots of in my opinion, very mediocre photographers with thousands or tens of thousand of followers but does that make them “better” than you or me? If you are asking yourself that question then you are posting for the wrong reason.

As I have often told my kids when they were growing up, its not important what other people think of you, it’s important what you think of yourself.

Instagram is NOT the place for validation. It is only a place to share ideas and photos.

Happy shooting,


~ by Dan Jurak on January 9, 2019.

8 Responses to “Keeping your sanity on Instagram”

  1. Well said… and this photograph is beautiful!

  2. Thanks for this wise post. I think the same way and it makes me feel better not to be the only one.

  3. Thank you Janet,

  4. Thank you Marie.
    If we feel that way, others are guaranteed to also.

  5. I too am trying to navigate instagram (and social media in general haha). Good points. What’s your handle? Your photos are amazing I’d love to follow you!

  6. It seems that even though we are older, the same things that happened in grade school, the jealousy, pettiness, vanity, etc. still affect us as adults. Thank you for the kind words.
    On instagram if you search dan_jurak you should be able to find me.

  7. I use Instagram like you, to follow interesting photographs including yours. As i mentioned to an IG friend its also a nice way to see the beauty in travelling the world without leaving your home. I do have to hold back and think of my photo’s design basics more so I’m going to revisit Michael Freeman’s book, The Photographer’s Eye. I definitely don’t care one way or the other how many followers I get and it is funny how some women have nothing but hundred of selfie photos, many in the exact same position. What a shallow it seems.
    Keep taking the shots you do for even if they’re simple I’m analyzing the photos content and wjat you are thinking when you took it. I look for contrast, pattern and texture and visual weight , which I’m still learning. I watched Ben Long tutorials on photography course and he was interesting on how to balance a photo. I just forgot some of the points which are good or bad.
    Thanks Dan and will be watching for your photos and reading your blog.

  8. Thank you Allen for visiting and commenting.
    I agree with everything that you said about Instagram. It’s a love/hate thing with me. I enjoy seeing how others view and capture the world but I abhor the popularity contest that it is.
    Photography is a lifelong journey. We never stop learning.

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