Right now, if I were to be forced to choose only one social media platform, and leave the rest forever, Instagram would be the easy choice for me. I signed up ages ago, but when I first started using it in earnest, (in late 2012?) it was a form of silent protest. I’ve always hated getting up while it’s still dark outside. Waking up so early, walking the dogs while the sun was barely rising, it could have been a chore for me, something I grumbled about daily.
But instead, I chose to fall in love with seeing the world before dawn. I started taking pictures on my walk, and posted them to Instagram tagged with #earlymorningwalk. I took pictures of the sunrise. I took pictures of the trees. As winter turned to spring, I took pictures of the budding flowers and became curious about what all those trees actually were. (And then I used the LeafSnap app to actually find out) I learned a lot about the world around me through the lens of Instagram.
Over time, I started using Instagram for more than just early morning photos. And so, when I was trying to decide what I could do to decorate and personalize my new desk at work, I came up with the idea of rotating through some of my favorite photographs. Around that time, I got a coupon from Walgreens for their 4×4 prints, and it was an easy decision from there. So I used the Walgreens app to sync with my Instagram account, and randomly chose 17 of my recent favorite images for printing.
I’m not super precious about Walgreens prints–they’re perfectly fine, but the real plus side is that they’re cheap and ready in an hour. (I hear great things about Persnickety Prints, and had originally been planning on trying out some of their 3×4 Retro Prints for this project. Someday.) But I still loved getting all those prints in my hand, to sort through and play with.
Originally, I had planned on having just one thick stack of photos to rotate through, perhaps with a couple of my absolute favorites out on display all the time, but the stack was a little too thick for the clips I used to hold securely. So instead, I divided the photos into three piles: one for my dogs, one for my cats, and one “other”–mostly photos from my early morning walks: the sky, trees, and flowers. I rotate through the photos every day or so. Because there are different numbers of photos in each stack, it means that the combinations are varied, often delightful, and always changing.
(Of course, far more often my desk looks like the second photo than the first–complete with juice and piles of notepads!)