After deciding to use my own Instagram profile as the focus for my project, I needed to decide on which images to use. I knew that I had to only use images that were before I chose to use my profile, to make sure I was producing material unaffected by the nature of my research project. The pictures below aren’t all of the ones I have posted on Instagram, because when I first started using the social media platform, I posted some of my photography work on there in order to share what I do with people. Then my activity changed and I decided to have Instagram as a more personal social media platform, keeping Facebook and Twitter for my photography work. In addition to not including some of my professional photography work, I have also not included pictures that show my face, or too much of my body, to make sure that the viewer of the series can’t see who I am through my physical appearance, instead they have to rely on the content of the images to give them clues as to what sort of person I might be.
If the boundaries of the coursework brief were limitless I might have included all of these images in my submission, however the brief does state that there should be no more than ten images. In order to select ten images from my shortlist, I started to sift through them and categorise them into what the content was, leaving me with five landscape images, six images just depicting pets, five images of my hobbies, fives images of specific products or items and four images showing other aspects like architecture. These categories are by no means fixed, there are lots of overlaps, for example I included an image of a pet in the category of my hobbies, there is also a controller in the image because I was posting about playing on my Xbox One. I didn’t want too many images from the same category in my final ten, because it might overwhelm the purpose, for example too many images of landscapes might make the viewer think I am attempting to represent a place rather than myself. I then started picking out some images which I felt were more successful than others, ones that would provide some good visual clues about my daily activity and I tried to not include just one black and white image because this would make the series of images look a bit strange.
When I started thinking more about the influence of consumerism however some other images caught my eye, like the image of my Xbox One controller and my cat. In wanting to associate myself with my hobby of gaming, I have perhaps unintentionally began advertising the actual product, the Xbox One. Looking through other images I also identified moments where I could have been advertising or promoting a product in my images, holding the Costa Christmas drink, showing the decal sticker I put on my Apple Macbook and the fact I went shopping at Ikea for furniture. The influences from consumerism have crept into my Instagram account and by wanting to make sure I am partaking in the activities and buying the products that are deemed desirable, I have actually started to advertise in my images. The idea of the ‘prosumer’ is very relevant here, posting about using the product means I am consuming and promoting at the same time. Just like the process of photography now, where the image is taken and posted in the same process, a product is consumed and promoted. It appears that social media is influential in the activity of the prosumer as it allows the user to have a platform on which to share their purchases and activity.
With this in mind, my final selection was based on aesthetically balancing both colour and black and white, the content of the images in relation to the categories I divided them into, and lastly how much they related to the influence of consumerism. In some cases the images don’t relate very much at all, some are simple landscapes which social media has enabled me to share with an audience, however some clearly show a product or company, which develops their presence in the lives of each user of social media and in turn, society.
Final Ten Images: