An Open Letter To My Lover @Instagram, Who Broke My Heart,
How did we get here?
When I first met you, you inspired me to grow as an artist and you pushed me to reach for my dreams. Things seemed to be moving forward, but yesterday you completely broke my heart when you deleted my squares. We started out as just friends, but I couldn’t help but fall for you. 💕
Was it your flawless way of getting me addicted to the dopamine rush of your sexy like button? Was it the way you manipulated your algorithm to inflict both pleasure and pain in my body and soul? Was it the way that you gently held me in your arms and encouraged my insecurities so I would spend my very precious resources on buying your ads? Was it your smooth way of flaming my desire to be seen, be heard, to be given a voice? 💔
And yet, every time I glanced at the mirror, every time I took a photograph, I saw the reflection of you. I began to start each new project thinking not in terms of what I wanted to create, but in terms of how I could contain my creativity into your squares. I was fading out and you were appearing. Daily you coerced me to wake up at 5am and sacrifice sleep, energy, workouts and my precious time to engage with you on your schedule. I see now that your essence had consumed me and turned me into something that I am not, something that I was never supposed to be. 💔
I loved you on the days that you were pleasant and kind and also the days you were unrecognizable to me. I loved you through changing circumstance and the rapid shifts of your algorithm’s mood swings. I even loved you when you decided that you didn’t love me anymore and arbitrarily deleted my work without any warning. But finding myself standing in the middle of a grocery store crying over a deleted square is no way to live life.
I’m taking back my creativity and self. I will only make the art and photographs that I want. I will no longer be ruled by your rules, your regulations and your cryptic algorithm to the detriment of my soul.
The creator whose heart you broke… Who is no longer broken.
Recently I was very inspired by the beautiful work of Floral Designer Doan Ly– and decided to start creating and incorporating floral still-life imagery into my work. I have also been very inspired by De Gournay wall paper, and loved the idea of taking a stab at creating cinematic still-life inspired fashion editorials myself. So last week, my fueled by lots of coffee and new inspirations, I set out to shoot a Valentine’s seductive editorial wearing my favorite luxury lingerie by Fleur du Mal and a gorgeous hand made silk kimono jacket by Luizas & Co.
I went to Michaels, my favorite prop hunting store, and bought three rolls of beautiful blue paper that reminded me of the gorgeous de Gournay wall papers I have been lusting after. In the mood for blue and yellow, I found yellow flowers and lemons to bring life to my work and accent the yellow of the lingerie.
The shoot took me the whole day as was much more work than I expected. I rolled around on the floor for hours, moved the blue wall paper around my apartment as the light shifted, and tried to capture sensuality without being tacky/pornstar graphic/plastic barbie looking.
The day before Valentines I posted a triptych series of my final images and felt that wonderful sense of deep fulfillment when one has poured emotions into one’s work and the final result actually exceeds one’s expectations.
The rest of the day I spent working on other projects, running around doing errands as I had to plan my Valentine’s Day filet mignon feast (I love to cook and my cooking projects take lots of thought). Milling about my favorite grocery store buying my herbs and meat, I took a moment to open Instagram and check to see how my work was being received. To my shock, Instagram blasted me with a long message about my posts going against their guidelines. All my beautiful blue and yellow squares had been deleted!!!
As I scrambled in panic at the store with my heavy grocery cart in one arm and iphone in the other, I stalked up and down the baking aisle checking my DMs, checking my emails, checking my stories to try and find a way to contact Instagram and fight this decision.
I couldn’t find any notes or emails or ways to contact them and started to cry and shake with frustration. How could my work be taken away arbitrarily with no method for getting it back while Kendall Jenner has a fully nude booty shot gleefully staring at us all from the squares of her Instagram?
The standards of good taste according to Instagram are unclear and inconsistent. And as a creator and a viewer, I question these platform like Instagram and I wonder how they decide to draw the line? How do they allow so many celebrities and millions of other women to post provocative nudity and not artists like me?
I’m taking this all as a sign to step back from the rat race of Instagram, and instead focus on creation and connection. I think social media in general is very unhealthy and creates such a false perception of self, reality, image, AND in general all of the algorithms are psychologically designed to create insecurity within us. SO you will be seeing a lot more of my work posted on http://www.mscoffeeandcream.com and a lot more authentic discussions happening on my social media platforms.
What do you think – is it possible to maintain a creative career without an online presence? What are your feelings on social media?