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  • Writer's pictureRuss Tierney

Photography pet hates - InstaGlam


I recently put out a question about photography and modelling industry pet hates on Instagram stories with the intention to have some fun interactions, and then maybe start a fun blog series where models and photographers had a little moan anonymously. I figured it would be semi informative for noobs and those outside of the industry, whom probably have preconceptions. It then could be somewhere they could see some of the hypocrisies, bias's and clichés with in it - but I knew I was being optimistic!

I guess we've got to start somewhere, so I'll dis Instagram as a creative platform!

I was recently a part of a Rankin Creative exhibition called 'THE UNSEEN', which if you search google using terms such as 'Unseen Exhibition', or 'Rankin Unseen', is ironically unseen outside of instagram and a magazine doing a promo piece on it - ie, I didn't even realise there was a website until after the exhibit and I found that article - so here ya go: Anyways, the point of that exhibit was exploring the hell of algorithms, censorship, and shadow-banning on social media, but it's not them I'm referencing here, it's us whom frequent it!

Where are we all at!?

So yeah, the response wasn't great. The ratio of viewers to engagements was pretty poor. I mean I get it, I'm an introvert, so commenting on people's posts who you don't know can feel a little random and intimidating, especially if said person can maybe be sharp tongued and to-the-point honest (who me, never!?), but when you're an introvert that lives in an extrovert world and are barraged with the constant amount of endless unwarranted waffle, and drivel that is spouted daily.. it's also a little surprising! Plus as an introvert, I don't just trawl endless stories either, so who knows!?

Anyway, unless you're sitting pretty on the Insta algorithm, are posting glamour or picture perfect lingerie images 24/7, or you just have boobs, then Instagram engagement is evidently pretty rubbish. Case and point; post an image with a model linked as the collaborator, and when they accept, see it get 20x the love and engagement! It's the same image, on the same platform, with the same hashtags.. they just have boobs. Said engagement is very questionable, and I get enough tacky comments on mine as is, without really being a fan of glamour and stuff like that. And by glamour, I mean the whole 90's lads mag thing rather than the dolled up 80's boudoir vibe.. aka, tacky tits outs for tits’ sake glamour. There seems to be no middle ground. No creative output for those without a solid following already, it's just filtered lingerie images, or boobs - but the spam bots love me at least!

Where else is there to post? 500px.. meh, it's mostly a place to get you to sign up to their premium wares and stock photo platform. Deviant art.. is as old as myspace isn't it? No one really cares, any more. Reddit (I should probably start the splash point one again) is just a mess of confusing links and waffling. I have however just recently found YouPic, which seems alright, but it's again a premium paid platform if you want to post more than once a day. None of these are an Insta like app, they're just something you choose to do as an extra outlet rather than pass the time on. I just don't see anything as a challenge in the near future to Insta as a creative led social platform, which of course you're massively restricted within unless you make a nice manufactured business profile that adheres to their ideals and slaves to their algorithms. They'd probably be bought out and killed off with underhand tactics anyways, as pretty much everything these days is owned by the few.

<--- © Front Magazine featuring me as a 'model'.

So is glamour bad?

I love a provocative nude, but they will need art nude connotations, have a narrative, be a bit of an exploration piece, or just fun! Boobs are evidently a distraction for most people, certainly guys, so they need something that stops them running away with the narrative alone. And don't get me wrong, I bought in to the whole lads' mag thing back in the day, I was the right age for it at its height, and I was also playing in classic rock and 'sleaze' rock (it's a genre) bands, plus I oved Motely Crue! We even had a rehearsal room that had all four walls and the ceiling covered in such posters. It was cool, well, for the image of the band it was at least, right until we decided to audition a girl who was dropped off by her dad.. and then it was just a little awkward! We (the royal we, not me, I hadn't picked up a camera then) even did a shoot for front magazine where we had two models sent along as part of the editorial.. if that's what you want to call it.

© Front Magazine

In fairness, one of the models loved that room - I mean, it's what she does, so I guess that shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but ironically thanks to photography most likely, I grew out of it as it was just too laden in the objectification side of things. Again, don't get me wrong, I still love the female form as art and as a subjective debate in terms of empowerment, censorship or the million other grey areas in between, and to this day I'm still drawn to paintings and statues of nude figures, and maybe even the odd kitsch leg lamp and such, but I do find it fascinating how we've gone from a movement of trying to kill off page 3 and lads mags, to every girl and her dog having an only fans. The mind boggles, it feels a little like devolution, but I guess it'll be justified by empowerment and them being in control over their media output, a male led industry, which in terms of the modelling industry these days, it's anything but.. but that's probably a subject for a different blog.

I mostly photograph women as I'd consider them a muse. After all, I wake up a man every day, and there's nothing remotely different, interesting, or muse like looking in the mirror.. men just aren't particularly attractive creatures, are they? Or at least not to me! That doesn't mean it has to be something sexual mind, for instance, you can appreciate a beautiful sunset, and state it as such without objectifying it, it's just that I'm uninterested in men as creative narrative, but equally I find glamour crass and a little pointless. I eventually replaced music with photography, so that became my creative output, my need to express something rather than be impressed by nothing.

I was actually going to cover some of the Instagram story questions that I did get in this blog, but then it took on a life of its own as I ironically and hypocritically waffled on and on, and got way more than my 300+ SEO words for a new blog.. so we'll do that in a different one following on from this - see, a fun blog series!

And while we're kinda on topic about interacting and commenting, you can sign in to my site via the blog apparently if you want to join in by leaving comments. I'm not sure what other benefits there are, if any, but that's a thing! If you want to be part of the community, which judging by Insta, you don't.. the option is there!

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