Social Media Is No Longer Part Of My Photography Journey

My Path To And Then Away From Instagram

Josh Rose
8 min readOct 31, 2022

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Dance Performance. By Josh S. Rose, 2022.

It’s more than just muscle memory that had my thumb reaching for the usual phone icons; for the inescapable worlds of social media. It was mental, psychological. I tried deleting the apps and only accessing through a browser, but too many times on the job someone wanted to connect on Instagram. Also, I often will use Instagram for tangible photography things: finding talent, finding a location, referencing an image. Eventually it did happen for me, though — I went from Instagram being my most-used app to among my least. Not through any behavioral “hack,” but in re-prioritizing my entire approach to my photography business.

But let’s back up and talk about how we got here to begin with.

Bixby Bridge. Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2004.

When digital photography emerged — not the first round, but when it became viable, professionally — I was all in. My photography journey began young, in my teen years. I had a photographer’s eye at an early age, but there was no chance of me becoming a professional. In my day, you needed to be in the right circles to get photography jobs. If you didn’t have someone to usher you in, you needed to buy or bully your way in. I had neither the money nor the muscle.

So I went off to make art. It was cheaper and a lower bar for entry. Everything I did, I did for me with the excuse that doing it commercially was a privilege I couldn’t afford. I focused on my themes, my ideas, my experiments, my photographs. Few people ever saw them. I found myself in that hazy place one ends up in when you do a creative endeavor with no assignment, no audience, no feedback… in a lot of ways, it’s right where it felt professionals of the medium wanted you to be in. Nowhere, really.

With digital photography came a breakdown of those very barriers I experienced growing up and I saw an opportunity to reimagine what photography might be for me. I could jump the fence.

I made photography the main thing I did when I wasn’t working. I wandered the street in search of good light and good moments. I did this every chance I…

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Josh Rose

Filmmaker, photographer, artist and writer. Writing about creator life and observations on culture. Tips very very much appreciated: https://ko-fi.com/joshsrose