Inspiration, anxiety and Instagram

issue/76

hello friend

I’m Pete Carr. I'm a photographer and this isn't a photography newsletter. This is a form of "Rubber Duck Debugging". Writing helps me process thoughts and work through problems. So I write to my computer about issues relating to mental health and being autistic. I then share it with you fine folk. There's nice photos too. 🖖


hello computer

This week's photos are from the south coast of Iceland. If you can travel there I highly recommend it. You can see a bit of the unpronounceable volcano that erupted in the background of the photo above. Eyjafjallajökull.

You can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store or you can tip me on Ko-Fi so I can buy film for my camera.

Also it appears I didn’t set any of the last 4 newsletter’s photos on sale. Doh. They’re on sale via the print store now.

Balancing inspiration and anxiety on Instagram

About 18 months ago my instagram feed was filled with nothing but the finest photography I could find. On Twitter I would happily follow my friends but Instagram was a place for inspiration. I'm sorry friends. I didn't want to clutter up my feed visual twitter. I wanted to see and to be inspired by what my heroes where up to. This had been my approach to Instagram since day 1 and I followed it for 10 years. Until last year. 

My approach to Instagram started to change not because of the pandemic but because I was starting to drown in amazing photography. Sounds a bit odd but it was your classic too much of a good thing. If every day I was seeing impossible standards to live up to then what was the point in trying to live? That was the problem I was facing. That's why I changed my approach.

In some respects the problem was 100% mine. I imagine with a different set of thoughts you could happily use instagram this way. If you are the kind of person who is able to be happy for someone because they took a great photo and move on to the next post that is fantastic. I wish I could do that. Unfortunately my brain goes "Wow! Look at that. Amazing. I could never do that. Wish I was that good. Why don't I get work like this?" *scroll* *repeat* *scroll* *repeat* *scroll* *repeat* *hate myself*

Of course I have a lot of work to do there. I need to be better. Not because I'm an awful jealous person seething with hate that can't be happy for anyone. No. It's because I know I am creative, inspired, happy and I can think clearly when I don't have such thoughts in my head. If I can simply get rid of them then everything else will attend to itself. 

How though? Quit Instagram? No. Nothing that harsh. I started adding in content that wasn't photography. Diversity! Yeah! Autistic comics, swimmers, space stuff, paintings, etc. I relaxed my rules about photography and opened up my feed to visually interesting work. It is still a place for inspiration just without the anxiety that comes with it. 

Has it worked over the past year? Perhaps. I do feel less stressed by my feed. I've noticed I am having fewer "OMG everyone is awesome but me!" thoughts. That is good. Fewer... It's an incredibly tricky balance to maintain. Finding inspiration that makes you want to get out there and play with the world but doesn't make you feel like you are a trash bag of depression is a tricky thing. That last part is mainly on me though. I feel it's doable now I have a healthier feed to er... feed on? If I can remind myself to be happy for the person maybe I'll scroll away simply feeling happy? 

*scroll* *happiness for someone* *repeat*


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beam out


end

“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I’ll be back. Feel free to subscribe or send to a friend.

petes out

I'm streaming photography in various forms on Twitch.tv/petecarr. Stream schedule is Tues/Wed/Fri at 7:30PM GMT and Monday at 2PM GMT. Photography focused but accessible. Friday is a look at art events I've photographed. You can also ask me about autism and there's cat cam too.

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