adj: photivated, verb: photivate

(1) Feeling of enthusiasm for photography, usually after being reminded why one took it up in the first place. Leads to a period of energetic and enjoyable productivity.

I've been teaching a bit lately ("Photography and Instagram"). I had wanted the focus to be on the photography part, especially as I don't - didn't - use Instagram. That's not because I didn't take photos on my phone, it's just that I took them for myself and didn't share them. And, to a degree with Instagram, as a photographer, something felt uncomfortable in the way a fairly average shot could look pretty awesome by playing with a few filters, without any need to understand them.

Anyway, I started using Instagram (@alexrumford) - I needed to understand it better for these classes. Happily, it took no time at all to get to grips with.

And I've been surprised with the change in me. While I'm still extremely reluctant to upload most of my photos, while out and about I find myself looking more, noticing more, taking more in. It's just as when I was younger, when I used to have my camera with me all the time, and would go off single-mindedly for hours doing photos. I couldn't get enough of it. I haven't done this in years. To be honest, it's not the sort of thing I would want to do now (I prefer to set up portrait shoots if I have spare time). But I have missed the feeling of photography for its own sake. There's still an audience, but no brief, no expectation, no pressure. I can shoot what I want, when and how much I want.

Taking my own photos without sharing them - though I still do this - is just not the same. Taking photos with a view to putting them on Instagram - yes, to be noticed and enjoyed, but also to be judged by an imagined audience - it's a different, stronger motivation and feeling. This 'photivation' is, I hope, feeding into my regular work.


Normally, enthusiasm sparks from viewing others' portfolios, meeting with photographers or seeing exhibitions. There are lulls between these opportunities - I'd like to think that I'll be able to keep a higher level of enthusiasm going. 

I have no doubt in less productive times I'll dig out and upload some older photos (I have no problem with this). I have lots of images which live and get old only on my hard drives in dusty cupboards, shots which aren't good enough for my website, nor with enough 'behind' them to justify including in a blog post. Instagram is the perfect tool, place and reason for sharing these, and even though these aren't strictly new images I'm uploading, it's the same buzz I'll get when I share them.