AND WHILE YOU'RE DOWN HERE LET'S TALK ABOUT THE WIDER ISSUE
BECAUSE YES, #NOFILTERFEB IS A METAPHOR
Since pretty much forever, photography has been about presenting the best version of yourself to the world. "Smile! You look amazing!". It’s no surprise that when taking a photograph it has become default to think "this needs to look great". While the core of #NoFilterFeb is about dropping filters for a month, it’s what that action represents that is really the focus. When we put a filter on a photograph before posting it, consciously or not, we have already gone through a consideration process.
Does this make me look good? Will my friends like it? Will I get enough likes? Is this painting me in a good light? Could I do something to make this look even better? It’s these thoughts we have when deciding if a photograph warrants being shared at all that are the real filters.
While there is the argument that no lens is ever as good as the naked eye, and filters are a way to improve a technology’s limitations, that’s not what #NoFilterFeb is tapping into. Knowing that what we post on social media is permanent has created a culture of curation. Our past is only ever a few clicks away so we have become more cautious of the picture we paint. And with so many people only showing the highlights reel, the spectrum of influence shows very little balance. It's natural to question ‘why?’ when our day to day lives don’t immediately look the same. We very rarely stop to think about what people don’t share, or the details about the photograph we don’t know.
The important question is what all this energy and anxiety around what we project really amounts to. So what if we don’t get more likes? So what if your life doesn’t look perfect? Is the digital version of our life really worth investing more into than our real one? Ultimately, we end up wearing a mask that hides us from being true to ourselves. It stops us from being ‘unfiltered’ if you will.
Really, removing a filter from a photograph doesn’t come close to addressing these other filters. They’re set much deeper in our psyche. However, it's a starting point that gets us a little closer to being real. #NoFilterFeb is metaphor nudging at the side of a much bigger conversation. It is designed to be accessible, but not literal. However, if in some way it helps steer toward the point of reflection and gets us to think about the wider topic, then it seems like a good place to start.