On December 18, 2015, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was unleashed upon the planet.
On December 18, 2015, a picture of mine was featured by Instagram in their “Search and Explore” tab within the popular app. I was thrilled, right? Wrong.
Let me explain.
I learned about this by way of chance. While checking my feed and going through comments from the night before I noticed an older shot of the character “Finn” was garnering a lot of attention. I dismissed it as a fluke and went on about my business.
Later in the day, I was looking through Instagram, again, and saw that I had a direct message. I don’t get a lot of those so that in itself was interesting. I opened it and the following message was sitting there waiting for me.
You are currently featured on Instagram’s “Creativity Awakens: A Homage to Star Wars” collection on Search and Explore.
The feature is scheduled to run for the next four days and, if you’re in the United States, you should be able to access the collection by tapping the Explore tab in the app.
Our Search and Explore collection is a dynamic list that highlights some of the most compelling accounts on Instagram. During your time featured here, we hope that you’ll be able to share your story with other members of the Instagram community.
Thank you for everything you do!
—The Instagram Team”
So I went to the Explore tab, eager to see which masterpiece of mine they had deemed worthy of being put into a collection that was curated by the Masters of Instagram and represent my beloved Star Wars.
Was it a flying shot? Was it a Para-Leafing Clone? Did Milo The Former X-Wing Test Pilot finally gain some much deserved attention?
After a few seconds of furious scrolling I found it! There it was! My picture! Along with many other pictures from extremely talented artists across the globe, THERE… was MY shot!
My first thought was, “EXCELLENT! Y E S!” and “WOO-HOO!”. Quickly followed by “OH NO!! WHYYYYYYYYY!!??!!”
Out of the one thousand plus pictures I have posted to Instagram, of which probably 95% are Star Wars related, the Masters of Instagram had picked an image that is, in my mind, complete GARBAGE!
Please understand, I am extremely grateful for having been put into the collection and never in a million years would have imagined a picture of mine would be shown in a collection called “An Homage to Star Wars”. But that picture is such a piece of crap.
To start with, it was an experiment. I was playing around with turning day into night. It was shot in my backyard, right around noontime, on a very sunny day. I was also experimenting with sprinkling different kinds of food items to simulate snow. Flour, baking powder, corn starch and non-dairy coffee creamer had all been artfully sprinkled around my backyard by me, much like a large, clumsy pixie sprinkling magic dust, in an effort to simulate a form of precipitation I despise but needed, to replicate a scene from a movie trailer.
The figure itself is not that good. It lacks articulation, the paint applications are poor and the head sculpt is awful. It does nothing good for the extremely handsome actor John Boyega, who it attempts to emulate. It looks more like the extremely handsome Tracy Morgan after a month-long bender. No offense intended Mr. Morgan.
But, there it was and people were “liking” it.
Now, I don’t take and post pictures for “likes”. I don’t shoot and post to garner followers, what’s the point of that? I shoot and post because I have an idea in my head and I want to see if I can make it happen. Sometimes I’m pleased with the result but usually I’m disgusted and use that disgust to push myself harder and get better at what I do.
So did I learn anything from creating this picture? Did I learn anything from having it featured? Yes. I learned how to turn day to night (in camera) and I learned that baking soda works better for snow than flour or non-dairy coffee creamer. I also learned that perhaps there are people out there that see the time, effort and dedication you put into creating something from nothing. I also confirmed to myself that there absolutely is more to this Instagram thing than “likes” and followers.
Additionally, I reinforced my belief that the folks out there double tapping a picture, or not, and moving on, or posting a picture simply to watch the “likes” stack up while they rack up followers are missing out. They are missing out on the support and encouragement you receive from like-minded ARTISTS and people who appreciate YOUR ART.
keep shooting, keep sharing…
whether you think it’s good or not.