I was not a fan of Instagram when I was first introduced to it. I’m not a big social networker from the start. I know when my daughter is brushing her teeth from her Facebook posts but I don’t update as frequently. Not even close. At first, I viewed Instagram as another trendy way to manipulate photos with a bunch of gimmicky filters and sending them to your friends. It is a visual messaging system that let’s other people see what you’re up to. But the more I saw and the deeper I got into it I found that there’s a different value to it. I’m still not that excited about over-manipulated snapshots. It’s fun but in a visual bubblegum sort of way. The real value I find is exploring some of the really talented photographers that are posting on Instagram. I’ve seen some images that don’t need any of the filters or manipulation. It’s just good old-fashioned photography: cool subject matter, great composition, creative use of light. And every image is forced into the square format that I used when I first studied photography using a 2¼ X 2¼ Mamiya. It’s not always an easy space to use. Even if you don’t feel like posting your own images, it's worth using this app to explore the photos that range from unusual snapshots to fashion, landscapes and cityscapes, portraits and abstract photography. OK, there are a lot of plain old snapshots. But it’s easy to pick out the photographers you’re interested in and follow. And if nothing else, it is a visual record for your friends and family. Here are a few Instgram photos I've posted.

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