The Social Media Reflection Game + Modern Portraits

I'm taking a social media vacation, and it's only been a few days but I'm already reflecting hard about the sudden little spaces I've gotten back throughout the day. I'd estimate that I spend 90 minutes a day on Instagram, spread out in 3-4 minute chunks throughout the day. Yes, there are real reasons I love Instagram: I get to see what's happening in the lives of my friends & family who are far away, I love chronicling my own time in images, I love that the platform inspires me to capture things I think are interesting. But the "social" half of social media is trickier: how many brands (as opposed to people) do I follow? How many people I follow have (for better or worse) turned into personal brands? How many times have I felt a pang of disappointment when something I post doesn't get many likes? How many times do I open the app out of boredom, and close it still bored? How much of what we all post is to re-assure relative strangers, and ourselves, that our lives are AmazingTheBestGreatHashtagGoals?

Anyway, my millennial tendency toward self-reflection is in overdrive. How do we present ourselves? What do we want the world to see? And most importantly, what do we want to see in ourselves?  Do we recognize and accept our non-dolled up faces as our own, or do we view them as weakness and push harder towards perfection? I've been looking at a ton of portraits lately, wondering if social media is the newest, strangest form of self-portraiture.

Here are a few folks whose work I have been loving lately. (All images are taken from their personal websites.)

Amy Sherald


Ashley Longshore