when hashtags become lifelines

In Mobile
Scroll this

I’ve been shooting some film, but I haven’t felt the drive to get it developed. I had recent occasion to rent a beautiful digital camera and dreamy lens, and I had great fun playing with both in ways I found surprising – so different from the kind of photos I’d make with my go-to medium format or 1st runner-up 35mm cameras. There are images I’ve made recently with which I am happy, but I have felt no real desire to share any of them. I wonder if this ever happens to you in our over/ever-sharing times? Sometimes it seems to me the noise created by sharing photography becomes a sideshow distraction to the work of creating . . . except . . .

My lives online and as a photographer have developed hand-in-hand, and sharing photography has become my primary method of communicating with a companionable network of friends, far and wide. Whenever I feel a hermetic pull to step away from our rambling, amorphous, beautiful conversations by retreating from social media completely, I find myself missing something precious in my day-to-day life.

Quite by accident, I’ve found a sideline hashtag that has allowed me to stay engaged with my online network of photo-friends while I move through a more contemplative, less prolific image-sharing phase. I started using the hashtag #whereIwaswhenIfinished on instagram late last year to help record and remember what I’ve read, thinking that an image of a book cover in the place I was when I completed it might help me better recall plot and character down the road. It has.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

I don’t think much about the making of these photos. I just shoot the book cover on the surface of wherever I am at the moment I finish reading with my phone. If I’m in the mood and I’ve got something close at hand, I’m not above throwing a prop into the picture. A quick edit, and a post to instagram with a few words and then I move onto the next book on my never-ending to be read pile. That’s it. This series is an antithesis of what I think of as “my photography,” and that’s become it’s charm. Despite the fact that I’ve made little attempt at artfulness, once you get enough of anything together, it’s a collection, and collections and photography do go well together.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

So in a year when I’ve been thinking more, shooting less, and feeling the need to pull back from social media, my hashtag has become a lifeline to my online photographic community. It’s provided me a way to keep my toe in the ig slipstream on my own terms  . . .  and it’s opened me up to a whole new world of bookstagrammers. But that’s a rabbit hole for another day.

You can follow my reading exploits anytime on instagram, where I’m damiec or post your own at the hashtag #whereiwaswhenifinished. I’d love to know what you’re reading this summer. Show or tell in the comments below.

Keep your eyes wide open,
Debbie

5 Comments

  1. well, for starters, I love peeks at what other folks are reading 🙂

    and I really love this: “once you get enough of anything together, it’s a collection, and collections and photography do go well together.”
    it’s really as simple (and as beautiful) as that.

  2. I always look forward to your reading posts on IG. I have read a few books recommended by you. Thank you for sharing, Debbie.

  3. i’ve loved this series…!! and it’s so interesting to me how a hashtag can be the impetus behind a new project like yours.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.