Launched six years ago, Instagram has become the ‘go-to’ photo-sharing platform for approximately 500 million global users. Around 95 million images and videos are uploaded daily to the platform, showcasing everything from ‘foodstagrams’ and ‘selfies’ to holiday memories and inspirational quotes.
That’s a gargantuan amount of content for someone to trawl through in search of the best snaps but, thankfully, Jim Stoddart was up for the challenge. The Art Director for Penguin Press is a self-proclaimed Instagram addict and has curated a stunning collection of images for Life on Instagram, a new coffee table book from Particular Books.
The stylish annual contains over 800 vibrant and emotive photographs, capturing the beauty and struggles of the modern age from selected Instagram accounts. Most of these appear to be held by photo-journalists, travel bloggers and professional photographers, resulting in a series of exquisitely composed camera shots.
Each image is accompanied by the username of the person who uploaded it to Instagram, along with its original caption and searchable hashtags. I adore this aspect; you can discover further images from each user on the platform and learn more about the person behind the lens. It also transforms the book into something more powerful than pretty pictures – it extends an unwritten invitation to connect with other users and to engage with different communities on Instagram.
I was also impressed by the breadth of photography selected by Stoddart. There’s a backstage view of models in Shanghai, a different look at The Shard in London, a Buddhist celebration in Thailand, surfers in Los Angeles, a shepherd in Iran, fireworks over the Austrian Alps… even a wedding in Somaliland.
A group shot of four girls who have just completed the 5km Colour Run – snapped by @runaholic.mx – is a glorious kaleidoscope of relief and joy. Travel blogger @sopheesmiles’ experience of a ferry crossing across Lake Attabad in Pakistan looks surreal, and @gabetomoiaga’s photo of his toddler son making friends with a chicken during a ‘Sunday stroll around the farm’ is charming. The book’s cloth-bound hardcover also ranks as one of my favourites. The black and white image of children showing off their dance moves made me smile from the moment I saw it.
A captivating experience from start to finish, Life on Instagram is certain to appeal to adults of all ages, fuelling wanderlust and offering escapism. It would be inspiring to see the inclusion of amateur photography in next year’s annual but, as the first of its kind, Life on Instagram promises to be one of the most exciting photo anthologies of the 21st century. This is definitely one for your Christmas wish-list!
Publisher: Particular Books Release Date: 1st September 2016