'Current Obsessions': inside the professional photographer's Instagram
In just over five years, Instagram has grown to become the biggest photo-sharing app in the world, making a photographer out of us all. With over 400 million active monthly users and an average of 80 million photos shared everyday, we’re now bombarded with more images than ever.
Through the app we carve out our own digital identities, showing the world who we are, whilst also ‘liking’ those of others. Although the nature of the app is to share images you’ve taken and build up a visual self-portrait, liking others images adds to this and can be just a revealing about someone’s personality as their own images.
With this is mind, photography collective Wandering Bears have partnered with the photographic agency Webber Represents to produce an exhibition featuring a carefully curated series of ‘likes’ from a range of professional photographers such as Thomas Brown, Jeremy Liebman and Art + Commerce agent Stephen Ledger-Lomas.
The show's 18 participants had their accounts linked up to a Tumblr blog where their likes were tracked for a month – something which Wandering Bears co-founder Peter Haynes had been doing himself for over a year. Each of the artist's selections were then printed off, presented on individual A3 scrolls of paper and displayed around the gallery in a manner that perfectly illustrates the (at times) overwhelming nature of Instagram.
Photographers involved were encouraged to think of how their likes reflect on their own unique relationship with photography and explore this throughout the month. Whilst some simply continued as before, 'liking' as they normally do, others took a more conceptual and focused approach. Visual editor of Refinery29 Anna Jay’s picks are a particular highlight. She decided to only like images that featured the colours of the rainbow, resulting in a vivid, bright and beautiful scroll. Max Marshall, curator of online photography platform Latent Image, took a similar approach, focusing on nature and flora instead.
Each scroll affords the viewer a unique insight into the curator's mind and eye. The overall effect is a beautiful – if at times staggering – display of modern day image saturation.