Instagramming Middletown

Whether you consider it a quirky, user-friendly artistic medium or cool way to share snapshots of everyday moments, the popular photo-sharing app is a great way to chronicle your view of the Forest City.


I am hooked on Instagram. It's not an easy admission to make for someone who's hopelessly devoted to books and magazines — and makes her living as a web journalist.

But even when I worked for the local paper, I preferred the layout and photographs on screen to what was published that next day on newsprint: our reds leaned more toward fuschia than a true blue- or even yellow-red and somehow the presses' purple register leaned toward brown.

Admittedly I was late to Instagram. I think I only began shooting in earnest less than two months ago, but once I did, my eye sought out historic and natural places, photographable moments of people and minutiae or the mundane on my daily travels on foot in Middletown.

An evening walk transformed into a flurry of shots as the sun set — and lighting changed on statues, cemeteries and grand buildings against the sky. Flowers suddenly became gorgeously saturated with color, even more so against a contrasting background. Even lowly water main covers shimmered with unseen colors. Just a shot taken from a unique perspective made gravestones otherworldly.

In April, Facebook purchased the app, available only in iPhone and Droid, for $1 billion from two twenty-something Stanford University graduates, who had developed the mobile photo-sharing service 18 months prior. They became unfathomably rich overnight.

If you'd like a little more information or a primer, read about the origins of Instagram here on Quora and check out Buzz Feed's cool info graphic history.

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There are even articles that offer tips on which types of shots work best with each filter, like these from Lifehacker or the Atlantic. The Verge offers four point-counterpoint essays in which each writer takes a different viewpoint, Instagram is the best, Instagram is the worst.

I prefer to take an intuitive approach to adjusting, cropping and applying filters. First I see if adding or subtracting the lighting makes a difference (the little sun icon in the lower left) and gravitate mostly toward color-saturated filters like Lo-fi, Hefe and Kelvin. Occasionally, I'll employ Inkwell, the black-and-white option, but that's really best reserved for photographs with high contrast.

I am by no means a photographer and have never taken lessons of any sort so anything I've gleaned is from watching photojournalists and studying art books and glossy magazines over the years.

If you haven't tried Instagram yet or have just dabbled with it a couple of times, check out these photos I've taken. Find your own pursuit, whether it be photographs of food, your family, still lifes, fashion, nature — whatever.

And feel free to upload them here. We'd love to see your perspective of Middletown.

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Alicia Yost June 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Love it! You have such a great eye!!


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