newsflash: instagram is filtered

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

Instagram is probably my favorite corner of the internet. Facebook is often lovely, but just as often feels like a room full of people shouting about their opinions, arguing with friends of friends about hot button issues, and a never-ending string of memes and click-bait stories from aggregation sites. Twitter is like carrying all of my funniest, wittiest friends around in my pocket all day long, but it often contains a disconcerting number of people who like to run up to me at random and yell at me that that thing I said three days ago was VERY WRONG, and also, what’s my problem with Rand Paul anyway?

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

Instagram, however, is a happy place. I follow a lot of lovely folks there, and for the most part, they share interesting little pieces of beauty that they see as they go about their daily lives. Just scrolling through my feed, I see breathtaking landscapes from National Geographic, smiling babies, delicious and beautiful food, cute pets, yummy cocktails, friends loving their lovely #selfies, cute shoes, fun outfits, lovely interiors, and exciting travels. It’s impossible to thumb through without smiling and giving out a smattering of hearts. What’s not to like?

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

 

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

Apparently, people have decided they don’t like that it’s “fake.” That we’re not photographing our shitty moments, the ones where we’ve burned dinner, or it rained on our picnic, or the pile of clutter just outside the frame. We’re rarely shooting selfies of our bad-hair-days, or showing that in fact yoga pants are most frequently our #ootd (outfit of the day). Somehow our beaches are always empty and serene, our dinners expertly plated, and obviously our children are going to eat all of that and wear that outfit, and not get their knees muddy or their hair mussed or haul off and slug their best friend. I even saw a piece today about an account dedicated to showing the “Truth Behind Instagram Photos” that reveals all that’s not shown inside each little square of loveliness.

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

This irks me. Isn’t the beauty in the frame just as true as the mess that may be lurking outside it? Isn’t beauty ALWAYS found in the midst of clutter, chaos, and just plain life? To me, being able to notice it, to focus on it, to at least momentarily crop out the other stuff is in a way a mindfulness practice. A way of reminding myself of a bigger truth: that there’s a lot of beauty and love in the midst of my messy, imperfect life, and the more I notice it, the more I find waiting to be noticed. Does it make us feel better or worse to point out the rings on the coffee table just outside the perfectly cropped picture of a mason jar full of pickles? Is the beauty of a post-bedtime cocktail less important than the pile of mail I moved to the side to take a picture of the glasses on the kitchen table?

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

Everyone knows that the things they see on Instagram are literally filtered by photo tweaks inside the program, by the way it crops things into neat little squares, and by the way we curate what we choose to share. Isn’t there something refreshing and radical about a space that invites us to notice and share the things that we find beautiful, the things we love, the things that delight us? There are plenty of places for us to share OTHER aspects of our reality, but I think we, or at least I, need the reminder that the beauty is there and very real, too, especially when the mess, chaos, and ugliness seem oh-so-overwhelming.

Newsflash: Instagram is Filtered | The Adventures of Ernie Bufflo

 

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I took a buffalo selfie in Yellowstone, managed not to be gored. Ask me how I did it.

ernie meets bufflos

Having recently visited Yellowstone and met my animal alter-ego, the buffalo, face to face, seeing news of a woman attacked by a bison while taking a selfie hit a little close to home. OMG, I thought, I totally took a buffalo selfie. Am I lucky to be alive?

ernie meets bufflos

It turns out I’m just lucky I read and obeyed the park’s bazillions of warnings about giving wildlife the appropriate amount of space. When you enter the park, you’re given a handout on the park’s wildlife that tells you to stay 25 yards away from bison and 100 yards away from bears. There are also signs reiterating the same all over the park.

Any of our photos of bison that appear to have been taken closer than that were achieved via zoom lens or from inside our vehicle. I was actually fairly terrified that we would encounter a bear on our hikes, and we talked and made noise the whole time to help keep the bears away. No photo is worth risking your life. You can still get amazing photos through the power of zoom.

ernie meets bufflos

our selfies, ourselves

This might be my first selfie ever, taken with my 1st digital camera when I was 21.

This might be my first selfie ever, taken with my 1st digital camera when I was 21.

I’m not exactly sure when the word “selfie” was coined. It’s been added to the OED and was even their word of the year for 2013, so it’s become widespread enough that the trend is undeniable. But it seems like only the last couple of years that the word has been around, and like the “trend” is mostly thanks to Instagram (my favorite social media app). However, long before Instagram or the word “selfie,” we were all taking “Myspace photos” with our phones in mirrors or by holding our arms out– selfies without a name, essentially. Timehop has helpfully showed me that my own personal “emo selfie habit,” as my sister calls it, goes back at least seven years, definitely predating the term. I would get bored at my office job and take self portraits with my Mac’s Photo Booth or my crappy Blackberry Pearl, usually to show off some fun lipstick or a new hairstyle.

I do know that we’re currently experiencing something of a selfie backlash.   Continue reading

5 months

Technically the gals turned 5 months on August 28. So this may not be the most timely of posts, but I wanted to share the results of my little photoshoot with them (I’m going to eventually have a photo book of their monthly photos). I have zero photography skills and usually end up using my iPhone, so I’m lucky my subjects are adorable.

vacation, all we ever wanted

Last week, Jon and I took a little vacation that I’ve been jokingly calling our Baby Moon, because it’s likely the last vacation we’ll ever take, just the two of us. We went to Charleston, SC, where we lived for the 3 years of Jon’s residency, to visit friends and favorite places and just relax. It was perfect. Those who know me well know I’m crazy about food, and we basically planned our whole trip around what we’d eat, when, matching up people we wanted to see with places we wanted to eat. We ate SO GOOD. And our spirits were fed as well when reconnecting with people we love.

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why we love Charleston. In some ways, it’s obvious– great food, great beauty, the beach. But in other ways, I think it’s because it’s where we went and struggled and survived on our own as a married couple for the first time. Jon worked crazy hours. I worked jobs I sometimes hated. We didn’t know anyone. I hated it at first. And then we thrived, and for that, it will always be a special place. Here are some highlights from a fabulous trip*:

Actually visited this old favorite TWICE.

There was one day of perfectly warm weather, so we spent it at Folly Beach.

12 week twin bump shadowed on the beach.

Followed by dinner at Taco Boy. Fish tacos! Too bad I couldn't have a margarita!

 

Jon really enjoyed his Mexican Street Corn.

We checked in on Rainbow Row and strolled around downtown.

We checked out Middleton Place plantation. The house is gone, but the gorgeous view it had remains.

One day, we'll be able to make the twins take pictures of us. Until then, this will have to do.

One of the plantation's goats wanted to be Jon's bff. It was trying to climb out of the pen to get to him.

And on our last night in SC, I got to try a restaurant I've been dying to try for over a year. The wait was worth it!


*You can thank Jon that I’m not sharing the tens of photos I took of trees. I’m a little obsessed with gnarled live oaks and giant moss-draped magnolias.

 

scenes from the weekend

Friday I spent the entire day in the kitchen preparing food to serve to our homeless neighbors under the Broadway Bridge. While I was cooking, Jon picked up McKinley and took him to get his CDL renewed, FINALLY! Glory, hallelujah, what a hassle, but now he can finally find a job.

That night we served delicious Italian food to a robust crowd, and I also contributed cupcakes as it was our friend John’s birthday. I discovered (by way of the blogosphere), the best way ever to top a cupcake: toasted marshmallows. Way less hassle than frosting. Just pop a marshmallow on top of each of your baked cupcakes and put them back in the 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Then pull them out and gently smoosh each marshmallow down over the cupcakes. If you really want the toasty marshmallow flavor, broil them, but keep an eye out not to burn them.

Saturday was GLORIOUS. We went for a little bike ride around the neighborhood to enjoy the cloudless, 70 degree day. It was my first ride with the new panniers I got for my birthday.  I call them my “bike trunk.”

Continue reading